Thursday, January 31, 2013

1864 Cattle Selection Guide

Image shown below illustrates the points of cattle and they are more fully described in the article presented below. Please keep in mind that this was written in 1864.

Some of the points may carry a little different description today but most are still a part of the good judgement practiced today in any Cattle Selection Guide for the Beef Cattle Industry.

Cattle Points and description of Points of Cattle

Whatever theoretical objections may be raised against over-fed cattle, and great as may be the attempts to disparage the mountains of fat, as highly-fed cattle are sometimes designated, there is no doubt of the practical fact, that the best butcher cannot sell any thing but the best fatted beef; and of whatever age, size, or shape a half-fatted ox may be, he is never selected by judges as fit for human food.

Hence, a well-fatted animal always commands a better price per pound than one imperfectly fed, and the parts selected as the primest beef are precisely the parts which contain the largest deposits of fat.

The rump, the crop, and the sirloin, the very favorite cuts, which always command from twenty to twenty-five per cent. more than any other part of the ox, are just those parts on which the largest quantities of fat are found; so that, instead of the taste and fashion of the age being against the excessive fattening of animals, the fact is, practically, exactly the reverse.

Where there is the most fat, there is the best lean; where there is the greatest amount of muscle, without its share of fat, that part is accounted inferior, and is used for a different purpose; in fact, so far from fat's being a disease, it is a condition of muscle, necessary to its utility as food, a source of luxury to the rich, and of comfort to the poor, furnishing a nourishing and healthy diet for their families.

Fattening is a secretive power which grazing animals possess, enabling them to lay by a store of the superfluous food which they take for seasons of cold or scarcity.

It collects round the angular bones of the animal, and gives the appearance of rotundity; hence the tendency to deposit fat is indicated, as has been stated, by a roundness of form, as opposed to the fatness of a milk-secreting animal.

But its greatest use is, that it is a store of heat-producing aliment, laid up for seasons of scarcity and want.

The food of animals, for the most part, may be said to consist of a saccharine, an oleaginous, and an albuminous principle.

To the first belong all the starchy, saccharine, and gummy parts of the plants, which undergo changes in the digestive organs similar to fermentation before they can be assimilated in the system; by them also animal heat is sustained.

In indolent animals, the oily parts of plants are deposited and laid up as fat; and, when vigor and strength fail, this is taken up and also used in breathing to supply the place of the consumed saccharine matter.

The albuminous, or gelatinous principle of plants is mainly useful in forming muscle; while the ashes of plants, the unconsumable parts, are for the supply, mainly, of bone, hair, and horn, but also of muscle and of blood, and to supply the waste which continually goes on.

Now, there are several qualities which are essentially characteristic of a disposition to fatten.

There have not, as yet, been any book-rules laid down, as in the case of M. Guénon's indications of milking-cows; but there are, nevertheless, marks so definite and well understood, that they are comprehended and acted upon by every grazier, although they are by no means easy to describe.

It is by skillful acumen that the grazier acquires his knowledge, and not by theoretical rules; observation, judgment, and experience, powerful perceptive faculties, and a keen and minute comparison and discrimination, are essential to his success.

The first indication upon which he relies, is the touch. It is the absolute criterion of quality, which is supposed to be the keystone of perfection in all animals, whether for the pail or the butcher.

The skin is so intimately connected with the internal organs, in all animals, that it is questionable whether even our schools of medicine might not make more use of it in a diagnosis of disease.

Of physiological tendencies in cattle, however, it is of the last and most vital importance. It must neither be thick, nor hard, nor adhere firmly to the muscles. If it is so, the animal is a hard grazer, a difficult and obstinate feeder, no skillful man will purchase it, such a creature must go to a novice, and even to him at a price so low as to tempt him to become a purchaser.

On the other hand, the skin must not be thin, like paper, nor flaccid, nor loose in the hand, nor flabby.

This is the opposite extreme, and is indicative of delicateness, bad, flabby flesh, and, possibly, of inaptitude to retain the fat. It must be elastic and velvety, soft and pliable, presenting to the touch a gentle resistance, but so delicate as to give pleasure to the sensitive hand a skin, in short, which seems at first to give an indentation from the pressure of the fingers, but which again rises to its place by a gentle elasticity.

The hair is of nearly as much importance as the skin.

A hard skin will have straight and stiff hair; it will not have a curl, but be thinly and lankly distributed equally over the surface.

A proper grazing animal will have a mossy coat, not absolutely curled, but having a disposition to a graceful curl, a semifold, which presents a waving inequality; but as different from a close and straightly-laid coat, as it is from one standing off the animal at right angles, a strong symptom of disease.

It will also, in a thriving animal, be licked here and there with its tongue, a proof that the skin is duly performing its functions.

There must be, also, the full and goggle eye, bright and pressed outward by the fatty bed below; because, as this is a part where Nature always provides fat, an animal capable of developing it to any considerable extent, will have its indications here, at least, when it exists in excess.

So much for feeding qualities in the animal, and their conformations indicative of this kindly disposition.

Next come such formations of the animal itself as are favorable to the growth of fat, other things being equal.

There must be size where large weights are expected.

Christmas beef, for instance, is expected to be large as well as fat. The symbol of festivity should be capacious, as well as prime in quality. But it is so much a matter of choice and circumstance with the grazier, that profit alone will be his guide.

The axiom will be, however, as a general rule, that the better the grazing soil the larger the animal may be; the poorer the soil, the smaller the animal. Small animals are, unquestionably, much more easily fed, and they are well known by experienced men to be best adapted to second-rate feeding pastures.

But, beyond this, there must be breadth of carcass. This is indicative of fattening, perhaps, beyond all other qualifications.

If rumps are favorite joints and produce the best price, it is best to have the animal which will grow the longest, the broadest, and the best rump; the same of crop, and the same of sirloin; and not only so, but breadth is essential to the consumption of that quantity of food which is necessary to the development of a large amount of fat in the animal.

Thus, a deep, wide chest, favorable for the respiratory and circulating functions, enables it to consume a large amount of food, to take up the sugary matter, and to deposit the fatty matter, as then useless for respiration, but afterwards to be prized.

A full level crop will be of the same physiological utility; while a broad and open framework at the hips will afford scope for the action of the liver and kidneys.

There are other points, also, of much importance; the head must be small and fine; its special use is indicative of the quick fattening of the animal so constructed, and it is also indicative of the bones being small and the legs short.

For constitutional powers, the beast should have his ribs extended well towards the thigh-bones or hips, so as to leave as little unprotected space as possible.

There must be no angular, or abrupt points; all must be round, and broad, and parallel. Any depression in the lean animal will give a deficient deposit of flesh and fat at that point, when sold to the butcher, and thus deteriorate its value; and hence the animal must be round and full.

But either fancy, or accident, or skill, it is unnecessary to decide which has associated symmetry with quality and conformation, as a point of great importance in animals calculated for fattening; and there is no doubt that, to a certain extent, this is so.

The beast must be a system of mathematical lines.

To the advocate of symmetry, the setting-on of a tail will be a condemning fault; indeed the ridge of the back, like a straight line, with the outline of the belly exactly parallel, viewed from the side, and a depth and squareness when viewed from behind, which remind us of a geometrical cube, rather than a vital economy, may be said to be the indications of excellence in a fat ox.

The points of excellence in such an animal are outlined under the subsequent head, as developed in the cutting up after slaughter.

Now, these qualities are inherent in some breeds; there may be cases and instances in all the superior breeds, and in most there may be failures.

Editor's Note:

The above information from an 1864 Cattle Selection Guide has not been edited in any way. For me, this 1864 Guide allows us to take a look into the past and see both some of what they knew back then and just how far we have come.

Tom Correa

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

RANDOM SHOTS - Great American Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.; Eric Holder starts Gun-Ownership Data Sharing and Collection; and Much More!

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.  says 911 not best option, urges citizens to arm themselves

Milwaukee County, Wis., Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
rides his horse during the Mexican Independence Day
Parade in Milwaukee in 2010.

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., is a Great American!

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. made waves last week after releasing a radio ad urging citizens to arm themselves, rather than relying solely on police in case of an emergency.

“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Sheriff Clarke said in the ad spot Thursday.

“You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.”

The sheriff urged citizens to take gun-safety courses and learn how to handle a firearm “so you can defend yourself until we get there.”

“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?” he asked.

“The police are not omnipresent, we can’t be everywhere all the time. Sometimes we can’t be there as fast as we’d like. So in those situations, once the wolf is at the door, once the intruder is in your home, once a guy sticks a gun in your face on the street and demands your wallet or wants to take your car, 911 isn’t going to help you,” Clarke said, adding that he feels it’s his “obligation” to make sure people are aware of how they can protect themselves.

Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association President Roy Felber told The Associated Press that it sounds like "a call to vigilantism."

“I’m not telling you to ‘Hey, pick up a gun and blast away,’” the sheriff told the AP in defense of the ad. “People need to know what they are doing if they chose that method — to defend themselves.”

Last night on Fox News, Sheriff Clarke was told about Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs’ Association President Roy Felber who told The Associated Press that it sounds like a call to "vigilantism".

Sheriff Clarke was typical of a great man. He didn't side-step or evade answering what Felber had to say. Instead Sheriff Clarke answered matter of fact saying he's fine with that if that means getting people to stand up to criminals.

His message was not well received by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who said apparently Clarke “is auditioning for the next ‘Dirty Harry’ movie.”

Barrett called it “troubling” that Clarke sounded like he was dissuading people from calling 911, saying he wants people to call 911 in an emergency. He said Clarke succeeded in his goal of “getting a lot of attention and publicity.”

Sheriff Clarke, in an interview with Fox News, brushed off the criticism.

"Personally I've never seen the Dirty Harry movie -- but if that's all the mayor can come up with, that's pretty weak," he said. "I think that what's going on in the city of Milwaukee on his watch is kind of, you know -- it looks like he doesn't have much to say, he doesn't have much to offer and that's okay.

"My job is to protect the public," he said.

Clarke said that with the Milwaukee area beset by burglaries and robberies, residents need to know how to protect themselves.

"We can't be everywhere all the time. Sometimes we can't be there as fast as we'd like," he told Fox News. "Once the wolf is at the door ... 911 isn't going to help you, but there are some things that you can do."

The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism.

"That doesn't sound too smart," Felber said. "People have the right to defend themselves, but they don't have the right to take the law into their own hands."

Under Wisconsin's "castle doctrine," someone who uses deadly force against an unlawful intruder to their home, business or vehicle is presumed to have acted reasonably. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice said that as of this week, there are about 155,000 concealed carry permits in Wisconsin.

Barrett was beaten up several years ago by someone with a tire iron, and Clarke said he thought that would make the mayor "a lot more sensitive to people being able to defend themselves in such instances. A firearm and a plan of defense would have come in handy for him that day."

It is not everyday that someone rises above the politics and gives straight talk regarding the situation at hand. God Bless you Sheriff Clarke. Thank you for taking a stand.

Just as a reminder, this is not the first time a Sheriff or Chief of Police has come out to warn the residents of his jurisdiction.

Last October, the Detroit Police Officers Association warned citizens and tourist that they enter Detroit at their own risk, saying that the "grossly understaffed" and that an overworked Detroit Police Department is a force that cannot adequately protect the public in that extremely violent city.

Along side Chicago which has the strictest gun-control laws of any city in the US, Detroit is in the top 5 of America’s most violent cities. Its homicide rate is one of the highest in the country.

Last summer, an analysis of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report data from 24/7 Wall St. indicated that Detroit actually has the second-highest violent crime rate in the country, behind Flint, Mich.

Chicago ended up overtaking everyone else with 500 killed during 2012. You have to love that Chicago pride.

Though violent crime is actually down nationwide, in places with ultra-liberal gun policies there has been an explosion in violent crime. In fact, while the rest of the country is pretty safe, living in big cities like Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York have seen an the incredible spike in the number of homicides.

According to the Defense Department, in a report last summer, they surmised that it is safer to be in Afghanistan than in Chicago.


Police barred from Vermont gun range over proposed semi-automatic rifle ban

The battle over the right to bear arms is flaring in Vermont, where a local gun range has moved to prohibit the Burlington Police Department from training at its facilities after the City Council voted to advance a measure banning semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines.

The leadership of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club explained that it's "difficult" for the club to support the city -- even its officers -- given the actions of the council.

"We have members in Burlington as well as members of our club that are going to be passing through Burlington and this would directly affect them and we felt that a prejudicial vote like that was going to be non-supportive of our club and being non-supportive of our club makes it very difficult to support Burlington City," said Bob Boivin, chairman of the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club.

"It is a constitutional issue. I mean, it's not just a Second Amendment constitutional issue; but it's also a constitutional issue for Vermont. We have laws that have the state governing our gun controls in this area and they're looking to supersede those," he said.

The group's ban will affect how and when officers train in the state, where such facilities are limited.

In response, the Burlington Police Department released a statement saying: "It is unfortunate that this important and much-needed community dialogue regarding gun control currently under way in the City of Burlington and across the nation has resulted in this action."

The city government is defending the measure.

"In the absence of federal legislation or state law we feel it has come upon us as a city to take the measures we feel are necessary to protect our citizens," Burlington City Councilman Norman Blais said.

"Ultimately, I don't think that the best way to assert control over guns is at the local level," conceded Joan Shannon, president of the Burlington City Council. "But here in Burlington, I think we felt the need to act because we didn't see action coming from either the state level or the federal level."

Boivin argues city-by-city gun rules would create a multitude of challenges.

"If you're going to a shoot, say in one end of Vermont to the other, you have to check the laws for every town in between, and you will pass through a half a dozen different towns, and that makes it almost impossible for someone to stay as a legal gun owner, and that's what we're concerned about," he said.

Shannon said the council's action are only a first step toward better protecting the people of the city, "but this at least gets the discussion started and often times we have found in Burlington that we lead the way and others will follow, and I think that that's the intention here."

The Burlington City Council's proposal to ban certain assault weapons is far from being implemented. City voters would get a say in 2014.

Then the measure would require approval by the Vermont legislature. Finally, if it does become law, it's likely to face a constitutional challenge from gun-rights advocates.


Homeland Security getting 7,000 assault weapons for ‘personal defense’

While the Obama administration calls for a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, the Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire 7,000 “personal defense weapons” — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

A report by Steve McGough of cites a General Service Administration request for a proposal on behalf of DHS seeking more than 7,000 AR-15s and matching 30-round clips “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, introduced legislation Thursday that would enact a so-called “assault weapons” ban, prohibiting more than 150 firearms and limiting magazines to 10 rounds.

Critics, such as Republican New York state Sen. Greg Ball, are already blasting the DHS request, arguing that the government deems these firearms as suitable for self-defense but want to ban civilians from owning them.

“Now the Department of Homeland Security even agrees that these modern sporting firearms, made illegal by Governor Cuomo, are suitable for self-defense,” Sen. Ball said.

“On top of that, a recent story reports that two RIT [Rochester Institute of Technology] students who were legal gun owners were protected by an AR-15.  The story may have had a very tragic ending, had Governor Cuomo’s anti-self-defense bill been in full effect.”


US Attorney General Eric Holder starts Gun-Ownership Data Sharing and Collection

Let's forget about the fact that it is not legal yet to do so!

Let's forget about waiting for Congress to pass legislation to act, Attorney General Eric Holder is moving on gun-control measures as you read this.

He submitted three measures on Monday to increase Gun-Ownership data collection and sharing regarding firearms and potential gun purchasers.

Yes, it is ILLEGAL to do so! But that doesn't seem to stop President Obama from thinking they simply have no limitations and can do as they please even if it means breaking the law and acting completely alone.

The first of Holder’s measures expands access to information on gun permits to Indian tribal law enforcement agencies; the second allows local law enforcement to access the FBI’s national criminal database to conduct background checks on people they’re transferring weapons to; and the third authorizes the FBI to maintain records on denied firearms transactions in a separate database for longer than 10 years.

All three were published on Monday in the Federal Register for comment.

“These proposed changes are intended to promote public safety, to enhance the efficiency of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) operations, and to resolve difficulties created by unforeseen processing conflicts within the system,” Mr. Holder wrote.

Under the Brady Act of 1993, background checks are required for any gun transfer from a federal firearms licensee to any unlicensed person.

But access to NICS for background checks unrelated to those outlined in the law currently is limited to providing information in connection with a firearm- or explosives-related license or responding to an inquiry from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Obama has said he will take the steps that he will on gun-control alone, but he won’t be able to get major pieces of what he wants to do in the future - such as an assault weapons ban, limits on high-capacity magazines, expanding background checks -  without action from Congress.

Obama signed three Executive Orders when he said what he planned to do earlier this month directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct research on gun violence; ensuring firearms recovered from crime scenes are traced; and directing Holder’s Justice Department to outline guidance for federal agencies on submitting records to NICS.

Surprisingly, even Mr. Holder conceded that the impact of Monday’s proposals are unknown at this point, in part because of the lack of data the government has about the kind of transfers the new rules would allow.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposals.

Broader gun-control measures will undoubtedly be discussed Wednesday morning, when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing this year on gun violence.

Witnesses scheduled to appear include Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, a group that has vigorously opposed Obama’s proposals.

Also appearing will be retired astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely wounded during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011; Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University School of Law; James Johnson, chief of police for Baltimore County, Md.; and Gayle Trotter, a lawyer and senior fellow of the Independent Women’s Forum.

Yes, it will be a political circus for the liberal news media!


Boy Scouts May End Ban on Gay Youths, Leaders

Reports have it that The Boy Scouts of America, a group that has been the ire of liberals because of their no gays allowed stance, is expected to lift its longstanding ban on gay Scouts and troop leaders.

The reversal of the decades-old policy is expected to be approved by the organization’s national board next week, reported both USA Today and NBC News.

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue," Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, told USA Today.

After a two-year examination of the issue, the Boy Scouts affirmed its ban on gays just seven months ago.

The volunteer review committee was convened by national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America.

But several local chapters and some members of the national board, including pro-gay advocates CEO Randall Stephenson of AT&T and CEO James Turley of the Ernst & Young accounting firm called for a reconsideration, USA Today reports.

Under the proposed change, decisions on membership and leadership would be decided by the organization’s 290 local governing councils and 116,000 sponsoring religious and civic groups.

“Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve,” Smith told USA Today.

“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” he said. “Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs.”

I can't help but wonder what other alternative lifestyles will the Boy Scouts now allow into their organization because of political pressure.

Who knows what sorts alternative lifestyles and strange fetishes will be forced on groups that simply don't want to participate in the liberal effort to try to make strange behaviour accepted as normal.

Unlike dealing with the pigment of a person's skin, which has no bearing on any one's character, actions do have everything to do with being accepted of not. And I'm not sorry to say, that yes, some actions are simply acceptable.

Whether it's sex acts with men or boys or animals, using heroin or sniffing glue, or shooting up a school loaded with defenseless kids, there are simply some actions that are not accepted.

I am always amazed that no one wants to say out loud what they are thinking when they see something that is just wrong.

Folks, those Catholic priests were not your normal Catholic priests. They're "Gay Catholic Priests." The Catholic priests who molest boys are all gay men.

They are gay and see nothing wrong with their gay lust for boys. They don't see it as a sickness, because they see it as acceptable. They see us as being sort of racist for not accepting what they see as an expression of love.

Their problem is that our society does not agree with them. It is a practice that will never be acceptable in America.

And those who are trying to pursue the Gay Agenda of man/boy love are sick people if they think it will be acceptable. They ultimately want their sick behavior to be accepted by the general public, by society, as being "normal."  But society won't.

Groups like the Boys Scouts can be forced to accept gay boys. Through court orders and political pressure, anything is possible.

But if they do get in, then those organizations and groups will not be the same as it was before.

By having people in their group who practice sick acts, unacceptable behavior which is euphemistically called "an alternative lifestyle," like it or not, there will always be us who will not see sex acts between men, or men with children, or with animals, or doing drugs, or others contemptible acts as acceptable.

Societies have standards. You can only shove so much at folks, before they simply refuse to accept it. Many folks have nothing against gay people, me included. I know real well that this world is made up of some very strange people who get off on doing some very strange things. But I also know for fact, that they are not the norm.

Adam Lanza who shot all of those children in Newtown Connecticut was not the normal person brought up with guns in his home. The gay Catholic priests who molest a boy is not the norm of the many many great priests out there.

I could honestly care less if some fool wants to marry his goats, as I'm sure there are those who think that that sort of alternative lifestyle should be accepted as well, but I really don't think strange and unnatural acts with men, children, animals, and other sick behavior will ever be accepted as something that is normal.

No matter how many liberals say different, there's some behaviors that are just not acceptable.


Tina Turner gives up US Passport to become Swiss Citizen

It was announced that singer Tina Turner is on her way to becoming a Swiss citizen. Imagine that!

Turner has lived in the Zurich suburb of Kuesnacht since the mid-1990s. The local Zuerichsee-Zeitung newspaper said on its website the local council announced its decision to grant the 73-year-old Turner citizenship in an official notice published in Friday's edition.

Though the decision still requires formal approval from cantonal (state) and federal authorities, it is apparently a sure thing.

She is not the first American celebrity to do such a disgraceful thing. Among some of those well known people who have:

John Houston did it. The Missouri-born film director, screenwriter, and actor. He emigrated to Ireland in 1952 in disgust over the activities of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and renounced U.S. citizenship in 1964 to become an Irish citizen.

Some sources claim that actress Grace Kelly was required to relinquish her U.S. citizenship when she married Monegasque Prince Rainier and subsequently became Princess Grace of Monaco.

But, that might not be the case because at the time of the birth of her first son, it was reported that the U.S. State Department made a determination that she remained a U.S. citizen, which made her son one as well

So let's say that Houston had his reasons as some sort of dumb ass protest and Grace Kelly did in fact hold duel-citizenship because of marriage, there are others in Celebrities and other rich Americans who apparently throw away being an American to get out of paying high taxes.

Denise Rich, socialite and the former wife of a pardoned billionaire, gave up her U.S. citizenship, and will reportedly thus save millions in U.S. taxes as well.

Though Denise Rich wrote songs for Aretha Franklin and Jessica Simpson, she's best known as the ex-wife of Marc Rich who fled the country in 1983 after being indicted for tax evasion, racketeering, and trading oil with Iran.

liberal Hero President Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, who was among the biggest Democrat donors, on Clinton's last day in office in 2001.

A House of Representatives committee concluded that Denise Rich helped bring about her ex-husband's pardon through donations to the Clinton library and campaign.

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, another big Democrat donor, made headlines when gave up his U.S. passport and became a citizen of Singapore, just before the social networks's May I.P.O.

Early last year, one report said that wealthy Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship rose sevenfold since UBS AG (UBSN) whistle-blower Bradley Birkenfeld triggered a crackdown on tax evasion in 2008.

Last year's report said that about 1,780 expatriates (ie: those who has taken up residence in a foreign country) gave up their nationality at U.S. embassies last year, up from 235 in 2008, according to Andy Sundberg, secretary of Geneva’s Overseas American Academy, citing figures from the government’s Federal Register.

The embassy in Bern, the Swiss capital, redeployed staff to clear a backlog of Americans wanting to relinquish their citizenship.

The U.S., the only nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside, is searching for tax cheats in offshore centers, including Switzerland, as the government tries to curb the budget deficit.

Shunned by Swiss and German banks and facing tougher asset-disclosure rules under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, more of the estimated 6 million Americans living overseas are weighing the cost of holding a U.S. passport.

“It started with the fallout from UBS and non-U.S. banks feeling it’s too risky to deal with Americans abroad,” said Matthew Ledvina, a U.S. tax lawyer at Anaford AG in Zurich. “It will increase because Fatca will require banks to track down people, some of whom will make voluntary disclosures before renouncing their citizenship.”

Renunciations are higher in Switzerland because American expatriates expect extra scrutiny of their affairs after the UBS case and as the U.S. probes 11 other Swiss financial firms for aiding offshore tax evasion, said Martin Naville, head of the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce in Zurich.

It only takes about 10-minute!

That's right, a renunciation ceremony where an embassy staff member may ask exiting Americans whether they are acting voluntarily and understand the implications of giving up their passports, only takes about 10 minutes.

They pay a fee of $450 to renounce their American citizenship and may incur an “exit tax” on unrealized capital gains if their assets exceed $2 million -  or their average annual U.S. tax bill is more than $151,000 during the past five years.

They receive a certificate within three months, telling them they are no longer American citizens and that they are not entitled to any of the services and protections of the U.S. government overseas.

But wait, they think it's easy to run from the Tax Collectors - are they wrong!
The U.S. State Department doesn’t disclose annual figures, said Elizabeth Finan a spokeswoman for the Washington- based department, adding that “on average” 1,100 people give up their citizenship each year.

While the U.S. taxes citizens regardless of where they reside, overseas income of as much as $95,100 is exempt and credits help compensate for foreign taxes paid.

Americans living in Switzerland can’t take advantage of the absence of a capital gains tax in the Alpine country or tax deductions allowed on pension contributions.

“Every dollar you save, you lose to the U.S. tax man,” said a tax lawyer. “That’s one reason why people give up citizenship.”

Americans, who disclose their non-U.S. bank accounts to the IRS, must file the more expansive 8938 form beginning in 2012. It asks for all foreign financial assets, including insurance contracts, loans and shareholdings in non-U.S. companies.

Obama has a long reach!

The Obama administration new 2010 Fatca law requires banks to withhold 30 percent from “certain U.S.-connected payments” to some accounts of American clients who don’t disclose enough information to the IRS.

“There is incredible frustration at the audacity and imperial overreach of this law,” said David Kuenzi, a tax adviser at Thun Financial Advisors in Madison, Wisconsin, referring to Fatca.

Failure to file the 8938 form can result in a fine of as much as $50,000. Clients can also be penalized half the amount in an undeclared foreign bank account under the Banks Secrecy Act of 1970.

“It’s a Big Brother concept,” said Brent Lipschultz, a partner at New York-based accounting firm EisnerAmper.

The implementation of Fatca from 2013 comes after UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, paid a $780 million penalty in 2009 and handed over data on about 4,700 accounts to settle a tax- evasion dispute with the U.S.

Whistle-blower Birkenfeld was sentenced to 40 months in a U.S. prison in 2009 after informing the government and Senate about his American clients at the Geneva branch of Zurich-based UBS.

The UBS settlement led to about 33,000 voluntary disclosures to the IRS in the three years through 2011 and the repatriation of billions of dollars to the U.S.

Swiss banks saw their offshore North American assets shrink by about 60% to 60 billion Swiss francs ($66 billion) in 2010 from three years earlier, according to Boston Consulting Group.

American Citizens Abroad, a Geneva-based organization that campaigns for taxation based on residency, said the government doesn’t always distinguish between U.S.-based tax dodgers with offshore accounts and expatriates that need foreign banking services.

“The perception is that any American living overseas is there for a nefarious reason,” said Marylouise Serrato, executive director of the organization that has members in 90 countries. “There isn’t a deep understanding in the U.S. of why American citizens would move overseas.”

So can someone please explain what the attraction is? Why would an American dump the land that gave you so much and possibly made you rich for some country that Americans probably helped to keep free?

Well, according to Jackie Bugnion of American Citizens Abroad, taxing Americans resident overseas is a “hangover from the American Civil War” and the introduction of federal income tax in 1861.

"The rules make it harder for Americans to hold foreign bank accounts and gain access to mortgages," she said.

German lenders Deutsche Bank AG and HVB Group terminated the securities accounts of some U.S. citizens following the announcement of stricter reporting requirements.

Swiss Raiffeisen Group, Switzerland’s third-biggest banking network, decided at the end of last year to sever ties with U.S.- domiciled clients and refuse new applications from any American, said Philippe Thevoz, a spokesman for the St.Gallen, Switzerland-based firm.

The additional compliance costs for companies to ensure that Americans they hire are filing the correct U.S. tax returns and asset-declaration forms are at least $5,000 per person, said Ledvina.

Where individuals are getting their returns prepared, the expense may amount to $1,500 to $2,000, which is pushing expatriates to consider giving up citizenship.

“The compliance costs are high and they’re getting worse,” tax attorney Ledvina said. “It’s hard to serve two authorities and the problem for Americans abroad is that the IRS doesn’t care.”

Do I feel sorry for folks who move overseas in an effort to try to evade paying taxes in the US? Especially those who relinquish their American citizenship?

No, I don't. Fact is that most made there money here. Their companies were here. The technology was here. Their customer base started here and most likely still is.

America gave them the opportunity to achieve, to aspire to their greatest potential, to reach heights unimaginable in many other countries.

If Tina Turner was born in Kenya, could she have reached the point of stardom she has in life? No, she would be just another among the herd.

If a boy was born in Kenya and lived out his life there, instead of say being shipped to the US, could he have gotten more than just a hut and horrible poverty in his future? No, he would have not.

In America, a boy can grow up to be President of the United States - and then attack the very country that gave him so much opportunity.

Americans who live abroad are great people if they are there for all of the right reasons such as a job, or family, or just wanting to live out a dream.

But if they are indeed rich and only there to skip out on paying their taxes after they have made their millions here?

Well then, when you consider how hard it is for folks with a lot less to pay their taxes, I think those rich folks are lacking a lot of what it takes to be good and decent people.

It is nice to know that along with losing the services and protections of the US government, that they also have forfeit the right to voice their concerns about the good or bad policies of the American government.

Just as with Tina Turner, she gave up her rights to complain about anything taking place here. This is no longer her nation.

Story by Tom Correa

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Demented Senator Wants To Kill The Bill of Rights

So OK, after publishing this, I've recieved a lot of e-mail asking me if I really think Senator Diane Feinstein is demented?

In my opinion, she is not thinking striaght.

Her cognitive functions are impaired. Yes, she is suffering from dementia, a loss of cognitive function. 

I really believe, it's just my opinion, that dementia is progressive condition (as Alzheimer's disease) marked by deteriorated cognitive functioning often with emotional apathy.

And yes, I see her being emotionally obsessed with banning guns while not thinking or caring about the lives, liberties, and the rights of other Americans. Yes, especially the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The Bill of Rights is a list of limitations to government power. That's what the Bill of Rights is all about. It was set up to keep the government in line and not become abusive of its position or powers.

That's correct! They were put in place to protect our natural rights of liberty and property from the government.

They guarantee a number of personal freedoms. They put limits on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public.

While originally the amendments applied only to the federal government, most of their provisions have since been held to apply to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The amendments were introduced by James Madison to the 1st United States Congress as a series of legislative articles. They were adopted by the House of Representatives on August 21, 1789, formally proposed by joint resolution of Congress on September 25, 1789, and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments on December 15, 1791, through the process of ratification by three-fourths of the States.

The Bill of Rights plays a key role in American law and government, and remains a vital symbol of the freedoms and culture of the nation.

The idea of adding a bill of rights to the Constitution was originally controversial. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 84, argued against a "Bill of Rights," asserting that ratification of the Constitution did not mean the American people were surrendering their rights, and, therefore, that protections were unnecessary.

Hamilton's critics pointed out that earlier political documents had protected specific rights, but Hamilton argued that the Constitution was inherently different.

Essentially, Hamilton and other Federalists believed in the British system of common law which did not define or quantify natural rights.

They believed that adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution would limit their rights to those listed in the Constitution. But this is the primary reason the Ninth Amendment was included.

Thomas Jefferson was a supporter of the Bill of Rights.

George Mason "wished the plan [the Constitution] had been prefaced with a Bill of Rights."

Roger Sherman argued against a Bill of Rights stating that the "State Declarations of Rights are not repealed by this Constitution."

But George Mason then stated "The Laws of the U.S. are to be paramount to State Bills of Rights."

A fact that had to be spelled out in the 14th Amendment almost a hundred years later.

The Amendments

First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment – Militia, Sovereign state, Right to keep and bear arms.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment – Protection from quartering of troops.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Seventh Amendment – Civil trial by jury.

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Eighth Amendment – Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – Powers of States and people.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Those are our basic rights as citizens, and they should not be tampered with. But now, right now, the Bill of Rights is under attack.

It is an attack not seen since the Democrat Party's filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Leading the pack of liberals and other anti-American liberals is a Democrat Senator from California, who in an act sure to divide the nation further now wants to eliminate the 2nd Amendment from the Bill of Rights by rendering it powerless against a totalitarian federal government.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., released a summary of what she terms an "Assault Weapons Ban" but in reality is a ban of all weapons.

Her bill which calls for a ban of “sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing” of specific models of “120 specifically-named firearms.”

A list of 120 specifically naming rifles, shotguns, and handguns, which no one can find to see what is on the list. All too reminiscent of the ObamaCare bill where the Democrats wanted to pass it before Americans could find out what's in it - and now are paying the price as a result of such a hoax and folly.

As if demented, she is driven to behave irrationally due to anger and an inflated sense of distress over the horrible incident at Newtown Connecticut where 1 citizen out of 314,000,000 went on a killing spree and murdered 26 others.

As horrible as the crime is, the actions of one should not have repercussions on the other who are sane and not in some sort of delusional state. Because most believe this to be true, why allow the crazed state of one murder to dictate a change in the rules that would affect over 300 Million others?

It is insanity to meet dementiaoriginally meaning madness, the serious loss of cognitive ability, with more madness. And yes, in my opinion, that is what I see Dianne Feinstein doing.

She is meeting Adam Lanza's madness with her own different style of madness. Yes, it is a madness that goes to the heart of some megalomaniac - a person with delusional fantasies of power and omnipotence.

If not so, then why does she approach banning guns with a sort of psychopathological disorder characterized by delusional fantasies of power and relevance.

Yes, she is obsessed with banning all guns. An obsession that comes from her belief that guns are at the root of all society's ills - while ignoring superior evidence to the contrary. And yes, while having her own gun for protection.

As for ignoring superior evidence, she dismissed many facts. But among the most blatant are these:
  • Violent crime with down at a 40 year low.
  • Guns crimes are at a 40 year low.
  • The previous gun ban did not accomplish anything toward bringing down crime.
  • Cities and States with the strictest gun control regulation in the US, those places making ownership and carry of personal protection firearms almost impossible, have the highest crime rates using guns. Chicago has the strictest gun control regulations of any city in America and it has the highest murder rate, California has the strictest gun control regulations in the entire United States and it has the highest murder rate of all the States.
  • Cities and States with gun regulation enacted toward allowing citizens the responsibility of their actions, and subsequently the right to protect and defend themselves and their families have the lowest gun related crime statistics in the Nation.   
So yes, in my opinion, I really believe Diane Feinstein has some sort of obsessive dementia that drives her bent on destroying the Bill of Rights. Yes, the freedoms and liberties of others starting with the 2nd Amendment. 

While crazies such as Adam Lanza deprive others of life and liberty and happiness by using with guns to attack them, obsessed liberals try their damnedest to do it using legislation.

To disarm those who are legally allowed to protect themselves from either the criminal or the government is criminal in itself.

And no, there is no telling how many lives will be lost in the future if a citizen does not have the legal right to keep and use the guns they have. But honestly, I don't think liberals like Dianne Feinstein care.

You see, contrary to media claims that Feinstein wants to "reinstate" the 1994 ban for purposes of bringing down crime - her present bill will go much further toward her stated long-term desire of gun confiscation and imposing a host of absurdly broad definitions and burdensome restrictions.

According to the NRA, Feinstein wants to:

• Ban the sale, transfer, manufacture or importation of 157 named firearms. Presumably, these were chosen by looking at pictures, as Sen. Feinstein has said she did before introducing her first legislation on the issue in 1993.

• Ban all semi-automatic rifles that can accept a detachable magazine. This is because the bill would ban any semi-automatic detachable-magazine rifle that has even one "feature," particularly a pistol grip—which is defined to include any "characteristic that can function as a grip." Other features that would cause a rifle to be banned include a forward grip; folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; grenade launcher or (as an absurd propaganda move) rocket launcher; barrel shroud; or a threaded barrel.

• Ban all detachable-magazine semi-auto pistols that have any of the following: a threaded barrel, second pistol grip, or magazine that mounts anywhere other than the grip. The bill would also ban any handgun that is a semi-automatic version of a fully automatic handgun.

• Ban all semi-automatic rifles and handguns that have fixed magazines that accept more then 10 rounds.

• Ban all semi-automatic shotguns that have just one of the following: a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; a pistol grip; a fixed magazine that can accept more than five rounds, a detachable magazine; a forward grip; a revolving cylinder; or a grenade or rocket launcher. As with the rifle provision, this could potentially ban any semi-auto shotgun, because all of them have "characteristics that can function as a grip." And of course, countless Americans have pistol-grip shotguns for home defense.

• Ban all belt-fed semi-automatic firearms, such as semi-auto replicas of historic machine guns - which right now take a Federal License to own.

• Ban all frames or receivers of banned guns, even though in many cases they are identical to the frames and receivers of guns that would not be banned.

• Ban "combinations of parts" from which "assault weapons" can be assembled. Read broadly, this could ban the acquisition of a single spare part that could be combined with parts you already own.

• Ban any "part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle"--a vague definition that could ban items such as competition trigger parts.

•Ban the sale or transfer of all ammunition feeding devices that hold more than ten rounds. Even those lawfully possessed before passage of the bill could never be transferred, even to your heirs through a will.

It is speculated that Feinstein will not require registration of currently. But make no mistake about it, what Feinstein wants will go far beyond the failed 1994 semi-auto ban by requiring background checks on the private transfer of any "grandfathered" firearm.

She, like Obama, now wants a National Gun Registration Database that would list every name of every registered law abiding citizen who is a gun owner.

And yes, this is really the sort of thing that should make Americans ask "Why? What for? What is the reason for this other than an infringement on our privacy?"

The problem is, no Democrat, not one, can give us an answer as to why the Federal Government needs to know who has guns - other than helping their confiscation efforts in the future.

There is not a National Database for Child Molesters or Rapists or Convicted Murders, so why should there be a National Database for law abiding citizen who own guns? 

No, neither Obama, Biden, nor Feinstein can answer why it is needed. 

In announcing the bill, Feinstein lied about the effectiveness of past semi-auto bans. For example, she claimed that Maryland's "assault pistol" ban had reduced crime. But facts prove her wrong!

Fact is that in Maryland, the murder trend after the state passed its ban on so-called "assault pistols" was far worse than in the rest of the country.

Similarly, in California, during the first five years after passage of the state's 1989 "assault weapon" ban, the state's murder rate increased 26 percent, compared to an 11 percent increase in the rest of the country.

During the first five years after California expanded the ban starting in 2000, the state's murder rate increased 10 percent, compared to a six percent decrease in the rest of country.

Banning guns to the law abiding doesn't stop gun crime. It only makes Americans defenseless!

Feinstein's new bill bans semiautomatic rifles, shotguns, and handguns, plus any firearm with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.

She wants to bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:

• 120 specifically-named firearms (but no one seems to know what they are!)
• Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic such as a pistol grip.
• Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds are also on her list.

And you might ask, who came up with this in the first place?

The answer is, Democrats and Liberals, all anti-gun, all anti-2nd Amendment rights. And yes, all who see their desires as being more important than our Bill of Rights, then the freedoms and liberties of others.

Feinstein wants to bring back and strengthen the expired 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:

• Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test
• Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test
• Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans
• Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
And while doing this, she is trying to placate Americans by telling us that her bill actually protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
• Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
• Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes and
• Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons

But why doesn't she understand that the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting?

Why do liberals like Diane Feinstein refuse to understand that it is about the last resort of protecting ourselves against the threat of government tyranny?

The answer is probably that she, like most liberals, don't see a problem government as a "supreme ruler."

Not governing, but ruling. No different than slave owner and master ruling over slaves, or dictators ruling over their subjects.

She knows full well, that she is attempting to render the American citizen helpless to defend any and all of the Bill of Rights and ourselves against an abusive government that may want to take away those rights.

She sees no need to protect yourself or your neighbor from an over-reaching government because she is that over-reaching government.

Besides, like other liberals, Feinstein refuses to believe the basic concept, the basic fear that was present when our founders wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights, that it is only the government that can take away our liberties and freedoms. 

Only the Government can take abolish the Bill of Rights!

By relegating Americans to only hunting rifles, muskets, antiques, and clubs, we would almost be completely defenseless to fight any sort of tyrannical government if the need arises.  

And friends, that is the Genesis of the Bill of Rights. It is the very reason for the existence of the 2nd Amendment. It's all about protection against threats from those who want to do us harm, either from people or an abusive government.

It was stated plainly so that the government would understand that the people, whether it be American civilian or an American soldier, can and will have the ability to resist being enslaved by the government. 

Feinstein want to require that even so-call "grandfathered" guns be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:

• Background check of owner and any transferee;
• Type and serial number of the firearm;
• Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint just like criminals - but unlike what it takes to vote;
• Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law meaning that every gun owner has to check in with the Police Department in the same way that a child molester has to check in to advise them that they are "a potential danger"; and
• She was dedicated funding for ATF to implement a National Registration. Yes, she even wants us to fund our own tyranny.

This is not something that Americans should calmly let slid by. This goes to the heart of our freedoms as Americans.

We cannot submit to this for reasons that we plague our nation in ways that many will not accept or understand.

If the government, by way of one insane Senator, can effectively eliminate our ability to stand up to government tyranny -  then what makes any of us imagine that the rest of the Bill of Rights is safe and can be protected?

If one insane power mad Senator can get away with killing just one Amendment, then the others are gone as if they meant nothing to us at all.

God forgive us if this happens. This will be the start of the end of the Bill of Rights and our Constitution will have nothing holding it together.

In the end, the federal government will be all powerful; the people will have little to no rights; and it will be because we didn't stand up to just one crazed Democrat who was willing to take away our rights that so many have fought to preserve.

Friends, I've seen horrors in the world. I've seen those starving and those in dire straits. I've seen totalitarianism first hand, and the fear in the eyes of those under such a state. I've see the deaths and the killing of those who refused to kneel. All are horrors.

I know full well that there are horrors committed every day in this world. And yes, the massacre in Newtown Connecticut was one.

But without sounding callous, as tragic as it was, it pales in comparison to the horrors that one insane Senator like Feinstein can bring down upon us all by effectively disarming all Americans.

If successful, Feinstein's recklessness of effectively killing the enforcement clause of the Bill of Rights, it can be of a magnitude that shakes America's foundation to its core. Yes, much more than the left truly realizes.

When describing the Bill of Rights, President George W. Bush said it best, "The true [American] revolution was not to defy one earthly power, but to declare principles that stand above every earthly power - the equality of each person before God, and the responsibility of government to secure the rights of all."

It is "the responsibility of government to secure the rights of all" and not allow one crazed Senator from California the ability to render Americans helpless by castrating the Bill of Rights.

Story by Tom Correa

All About Hay For Horses

First My Story

If you've followed my blog to any extent, you already know that I'm originally from the island of Oahu in Hawaii. And you probably already know that I've talked a lot about the fact that my first exposure to horses and cattle came by way of my grandpa ranch there.

Like many kids who have had a chance to grow up on a ranch, learning new things about animals, their care and feeding, their behavior and how to handle them, always seemed to be an ongoing education. Whether it was learning to fix fences to feeding supplements to calves, I definitely learned something new every day.

Looking back on growing up around a ranch in Hawaii, I fully admit that it can be different than on the mainland (Continental United States). For one thing, I grew up on Oahu where I was told does not grow hay of any sort. And honestly, I really had no idea if hay was grown on the other islands either.

I knew that we grew pineapples, sugar cane, macadamia nuts, papayas, bananas, and even rice. In school, we were taught that the only place in the U.S that does grow sugar cane, macadamia nuts, pineapples, papayas, and coffee was the state of Hawaii. And yes, I think that still holds true.

Point is, when I came to California, one of the things that I had to learn about was hay and how to feed it to horses.

My education about hay started when I was a 19 year old Marine just back from overseas and stationed at Camp Pendleton California in the 70s.  During my off duty hours, I could be found at usually one of three places. I'd be either working on my 57' Chevy, fishing on base, or at the Base Stables.

While I was just learning about trout and bass fishing about then, which is 180 degree opposite of fishing in Hawaii, the Base Stables were like a home away from home.

It was there that I learned that hay is the basis of almost every horse diet. That there are many different types of hay, and that the decision about what kind of hay to feed your horse is not an easy one.

There are several types of hays available to choose from, so how can you possibly know which one is right for your particular horse? And really, even if you know a thing or two about what your horse needs as far as nutrition goes, there are a lot of choices of hay to choose from.

Fact is, I learned that there is no right or wrong hay to feed your horse. It's all a learning experience.

It's true, the reason that some people like alfalfa for their horses may be the fact that horses love it and leave very little waste. Alfalfa can be a good choice for finicky eaters or horses with high nutritional needs such as lactating mares, growing foals, hard working horses, and of course horses needing to gain weight.

Others may choose timothy, for example, because it is easy to cure and tends to be dust free. It is also lower in protein, so subsequently horses with lower nutritional needs such as the mature idle horse or horses in light work won’t become too fat.

This is what I mean by a learning experience. For us here in Glencoe, for example, during late spring and summer, we feed a 50/50 alfalfa and oat hay diet to our horses. But during the winter and early spring months, we feed alfalfa and pelleted hay and grain to supplement their diets.

By doing this, it works out where we can keep weight on them during the cold months when they use the extra energy to keep warm.

The Basics About Hay

Well, hay is a harvested plant that has been dried and cured after being cut in the field at various times in its growth period, depending on the type of hay. The leaves grow out first, the plant develops a bud, the bud becomes a bloom, and the bloom eventually goes to seed.

In most cases, hay is cut during the late bud or early bloom phase. This method maximizes hay’s nutritional value and extends the amount of hay that is yielded per acre.

The fiber content of hay increases as it grows,while the protein content diminishes. Most of the protein found in hay is in the leaves, while the stalks are richer in fiber.

In order to produce quality hay suitable for feeding to horses that is free of dust, mold and weeds, then it must be cut at the right age and when the weather is dry and warm. After being cut, the hay dries in the field before it is baled.

While there are many varieties of hays commonly fed to horses in the United States, including timothy, orchard, alfalfa, coastal, oat, fescue, clover and rye, to name just a few.  Most horse owners are probably familiar with only a few types of hay, depending on the part of the country in which they live. 

Quality is also an issue and horse owners should find the highest quality hay they can afford to buy within the geographical area they live in.

Feeding a poor quality protein will result in a horse that is less able to produce body proteins including muscle, bone, tendons, red blood cells, skin, hair, hooves, enzymes and antibodies.

Different Forms of Hay

Hay is not just an important part of the horse’s diet, but is also needed to maintain normal digestive health.

A minimum 1½ inch particle size is important to minimize colic and abnormal behavior. Hay can be provided in the following forms:

Small (40 to 80 pounds) square bales of hay are most commonly used by horse owners. Square bales are comparatively easy to move and store and should be stored indoors or under cover to prevent weather damage. Wet is not good.

Of course, even though they are small in comparison to large round bales, "bucking bales" is a lot easier for younger folks than it is for us older folks. I can attest to that!

Large (800 to 1,200 pounds) round bales are more efficient to produce and can be used for horses. Storage of round bales should be indoors or on a well-drained base and covered with plastic.

The use of a feeder that contains hay and controls wastage is recommended. Be sure that enough horses are consuming hay quickly enough to prevent wastage and molding to occur. Remove hay that has become moldy and in contact with the ground.

Hay cubes can be made from a variety of coarsely chopped hays, but the most common are alfalfa and timothy-alfalfa cubes.

The advantages of cubes include less storage space and handling ease, and decreased feeding waste. Cubes have adequate particle size to maintain normal digestive health and prevent wood chewing, so they can be used to totally replace baled hay.

Be careful when adapting horses to hay cubes, horses may consume them too quickly and choke.

Feed hay cubes close to the ground so horses must chew hay cubes before swallowing. If you provide hay cubes as treats or add to other feeds in above-ground feeders, break cubes into small pieces or wet or soak cubes with water to soften them first to prevent choking.

Chopped hay is usually a length of one inch or more, and it can be used to replace baled hay.

The advantages of chopped hay are similar to hay cubes, with less storage space required, ease of handling, and decreased feeding waste. Chopped hay can be dusty and should be treated with a small amount of molasses or oil to decrease dustiness.

Pelleted hay are similar to cubes and chopped hay is so far as taking up less storage space, ease of handling, and decreased feeding waste.

The benefits are many. With pellets it is easier to control the accuracy of the ration you feed your horse. You will not see hay bellies on a pellet feed horse. Young horses can be put into show shape without excessive graining.

A horse can not eat his grain and supplements selectively when pelleted together. You can eliminate the chance of colic and founder by not having hay lying around.

The life of a horse used to be measured by the life of his teeth. The hay is considered “prechewed” when pelleted – a horse need only “gum” them down and they will be thoroughly digested therefore adding years to the life of your horse.

Some do say that pelleted hay does not have adequate particle size to allow enough chewing time for normal digestive health and may lead a horse to chewing wood or trees. 
Grasses versus Legumes
Each type of hay falls into one of two categories: legumes and grasses. Commonly fed legume hays include alfalfa and clover, with most other hays falling into the grass family.

In order to make the right choice for your horse’s diet, it’s important to understand the nutritional value of legume and grass hays, and how the two types complement each other.

Grass hays have a medium to low protein content. They are low in the essential amino acid, lysine. Therefore, they are best fed as part of a feeding plan that includes a legume, or a supplemental feed, to balance out the amino acid profile.

The fiber content of most grass hays is relatively high, compared to other types of hays. For example, orchard grass, timothy and coastal Bermuda have more stalks, and hence more fiber, than leafier brome grass or fescue.

In contrast to legumes, grass hays are also low in calcium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.

Timothy is somewhat higher in calcium than other grass hays and has a favorable calcium-to-phosphorus ratio; it also contains a substantial amount of vitamins A and D.

Timothy has long been a favorite hay for horses. It is easily cured into bright lime-green colored hay that is dust free. It’s nutrient content is well suited as a mature horse diet. Stems and leaves are large but soft. Horses find the hay very palatable.

Orchard Grass makes very palatable soft hay that is a bright green in color. It is a leafy plant with few stems. It is does well in the moister areas and is generally used as pasture grass. It combines well with alfalfa and is often grown in a mixture.

Meadow Brome is generally used as a pasture grass as it has many basal leaves, few stems and good re-growth capabilities. It's often used as a hay grass as it combines well with alfalfa, not being as aggressive as smooth brome. Meadow brome cures into soft medium green leafy hay that horses find very palatable.

Intermediate Wheatgrass is a tall growing forage with medium coarse leafy stems. It cures into medium green, dust free hay. It is palatable to horses and when harvested at later maturity. PMU operations favor it.

Crested Wheatgrass is a fine stemmed, leafy grass. It is easily cured into medium green colored hay that is dust free. When harvested in early head it is comparable in quality to other grass hays.

Harvested after heading the quality declines and makes it a hay favored by PMU (Pregnant Mares Urine) operations. Horses like crested wheatgrass but if harvested at late maturity the stems tend to be stiff and the hay is less palatable.

When it comes to prairie or wild native grasses, these hays are typically lower in protein content than other grass hays. Their vitamin and mineral content is also lower. Generally, these grasses are combined with several weeds when grown, which pull nutrients from the grass plant.

Grass and small grain hays vary greatly in nutritive value and palatability, depending on the variety, where it is grown and stage of maturity when harvested. They typically provide less protein and energy than good quality legumes.

Forage Hay is a muliti grain hay that consists of oats, wheat and barley. This hay is relatively new to the hay world, but is an excellent feed for all classes of livestock. 

It has become very popular and is an excellent feed source. Just like oat hay, forage hay is cut at the optimal time to ensure a highly palatable feed for horses, cattle, goats and sheep. 

Oat hay, like all grass hays, meets the nutritional needs of horses that need high fiber and low protein. It is great for horses, especially if you compete, or work your horse hard. I feed our horses a 50/50 oat and alfalfa hay diet.

In contrast to grasses, legumes tend to be rich in nutrients and provide more energy than grass hays.
Alfalfa is one of most commonly fed legume and is widely available in many parts of the country. Alfalfa does well in average growing conditions. And yes, besides alfalfa being very palatable, horses love it!

Alfalfa is generally higher in nutrients and energy than grass hay which makes it an ideal choice for horse owners with mares in late gestation, lactation, or growing foals.

However, some will tell you that horses with lower nutritional needs may get fat on alfalfa whereas grass hay may be a better choice.

While alfalfa hay is well accepted by horses, alfalfa hay has to be fed with some care because of its high calcium level in relation to phosphorus.

Alfalfa is an excellent source of protein and energy.

Adult horses require 10 to 11 percent crude protein in their overall diet, while growing horses require 12 to 14 percent. Pure alfalfa hay can have protein levels up to and exceeding 18 percent protein.

This high level of protein is not required for most horses.

Excess protein from both hay and grain feed sources is broken down into carbohydrates that serve as an additional source of energy.

One downside of alfalfa consumption is that it can lead to increased urination and wetter bedding. Horses on light work schedules may also develop excess energy when fed an exclusive diet of alfalfa.

Experts believe that healthy horses fed alfalfa hay are not at risk for kidney problems, and are really just an old wives tale that has no merit based on use of alfalfa hay and the healthy horse.

Like others who have fed alfalfa regularly, I believe that horses that eat alfalfa hay and get plenty of water to drink are not going to have any problems.

Clover is another commonly fed legume hay and one that is particularly enjoyed by horses.

Horses like clover and will select the highly palatable clovers from the pastures and hay. White Clover has 1/3 less fiber content than other roughages, such as brome grass and alfalfa.

White Clover, in its lush stage of growth, could contain as much as 22 to 25 percent crude protein. So yes, this hay also has a high digestible energy content.

Obviously, Clean Hay Is The Best Hay!

Horses will readily eat many types of grass and legume hay, especially if it is of high quality.

The most common problems that horse owners have when purchasing hay are finding a dependable and consistent supply and determining if it is good quality for their horses.

Cattle have a different digestive system than horses, and can break down fibrous material with greater efficiency, so they can utilize lower quality or more fibrous sources of hay.

Hay will generally make up at least 50 percent of the horse’s daily diet. So subsequently, horse owners need to make sure the hay is clean, is a desirable stage of maturity, is readily consumed by the horse, and is free of dust, weeds and mold.

Horses consuming poor quality hay cannot digest it well enough to maintain body weight and are at greater risk for impaction colic.

So as horse owners, we should make sure that we can determine if the hay you purchase is "horse quality" instead of "cow quality".

Sure it needs to meet your horse’s nutritional requirements, but the type of hay you choose should always be free of dust, mold, and foreign objects like rocks and such.

And yes, one of the biggest challenges that there is for a horse owner is to find good quality dust free hay.

Dust in hay can come from mold spores or leaf shatter. Only in rare occasions does dust come from hay cut along gravel roads or other dusty situations.

Molds form when the hay is baled too wet or the hay is improperly stored allowing moisture to enter from the top or from ground up. Dust from leaf shatter occurs when the hay is too dry, causing the hay to be brittle.

Mold dust acts as an allergen and can cause inflammation of the respiratory tract in horses. Many horses develop a chronic lung problem known as heaves, which affects the horse’s ability to breathe normally. This disease is strictly man made by the repeat feeding of dusty hay.

The second problem with moldy hay is the possible formation of mycotoxins, which are poisonous compounds produced by molds. Moldy, dusty hay simply should not be fed to horses.

It is highly recommended that folks remove hay that has become moldy. Moldy hay can make horses sick from the formation of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by different types of fungus.

Mycotoxins can cause harm to your horse by damaging the liver, kidneys, and reproductive tissues. They can also impair immunity making your horse more susceptible to infection and disease. Additionally, their presence can cause your horse to eat less resulting in improper nutrition.

As mold grows, it feeds on the surrounding nutrients thereby lowering the feed value of the hay/grain. And there is more, moldy hay generates heat and can become combustible.

During the winter months when I tend to feed more grains, I always check for grain mold. In grain barrels or in bags, mold can appear gray and fuzzy. It can also cause the grain particles to clump together. It is fairly easy to see.

Moldy hay can poof mold spores when you open a bale. I've even seen them when I've hit it or dropped it. Moldy hay looks different than dusty hay.

Did you ever step on one of those puffballs growing on the ground? Moldy hay poofs like that.

Moldy hay can be a yellowish color, often with spots of black. It may feel damp, or heavy. The flakes may not separate as easily. It smells bad.

The dust problem associated with moldy hay can be reduced by wetting the hay. Soaking hay before feeding it might cut down on respiratory problems, but I'm sorry to say that I've been told that this will not reduce mycotoxins if they’re present.

Now as for round bales, well I've been told that botulism poisoning is more common with round bales due to the greater incidence of inclusion of dead rodents and increased contact of hay with organic material from soil contact.

So What To Feed?

Well, we know that good quality hay or pasture should make up at least half of most horse’s diets.

With all this variation in nutritional value and digestible energy, it can be difficult to determine which types of hay to feed your horse.

However, if you are like most horse owners, you’ll be limited in your decisions based on your geographic location - not all hays are available in all places.

Whatever individual hays are sold in your area, the best option is to combine legumes and grasses to keep your horse healthy.

Grass hay cannot provide all of the nutrients a horse needs to be healthy, so even the finest grass hay will require additional sources of nutrients either from other feedstuffs, such as legumes, other forages, concentrates or from supplements.

Grass hay acts as a staple to the diet by providing a continual source of roughage, which is necessary for the health of the digestive tract. Grass hays are lower in calories than legume hays and therefore are less likely to create weight gain.

In contrast alfalfa mixes and clover mixes are highly suitable for horses that require additional amino acids and calcium for growth and performance. Pregnant and lactating mares, young, growing horses, performance horses and horses with suppressed immune function will benefit from the additional nutritional value that legumes provide.

So, since this is the case, it appears that feeding both grasses and legumes are important in order to provide the right balance of nutrients and high-quality protein.

After all, experts have found that many owners will find feeding a combination of grass with alfalfa to be the best fit for their horse's needs.

How About A Few Hay Buying Tips

• Don’t buy hay with excessive dust or a musty smell. These can indicate mold formation and the presence of mycotoxins, which could be harmful to your horse.

• Purchase hay from a recommended source or supplier, preferably from someone who can provide a laboratory analysis of the hay.

• Buy as much hay as possible at one time to provide a consistent supply to minimize changes in your horse’s feed supply. See if the hay supplier will sell you a few bales that you can inspect and feed to your horses before making a larger purchase.

• For legume hay, the presence of flowers and large stems are indicative of maturity and this may not be of acceptable quality for your horse. 

• Grab a handful of the hay and give it a hard squeeze. If it hurts your hand, it is probably too stemmy and mature to be good quality horse hay.

• Look for seed heads in grass hay, if they are numerous, large and well-formed, and there are large stems present, the hay is probably too mature and fibrous to be acceptable for horses.

• Inspect the bale and if you see a bright green color, and lots of small leaves and small stems, the hay should be good quality for horses.

Keep in mind that roughage is the foundation of a safe and successful feeding program, so spending time selecting the best forage you can afford to buy is a good investment - for your horse and your wallet.

I hope this has been helpful.

Story by Tom Correa