Wednesday, May 12, 2010
In the struggle for change there are tools at our disposal that have proven effective over the decades. One such tool is voicing a grievance by letter or phone call which is a powerful tool in any arsenal and, for this reason, needs to be part of a well orchestrated campaign. Failure to do so, as we have seen with a recent FHOTD post, will ultimately work against the horse rescue cause. I hold anyone not showing restraint equally responsible for the deaths of horses as the owner who dumped the horse.
To see how to effectively use a grievance campaign and to understand how it can go terribly wrong we first need to understand the circumstances surrounding rescue work. Justsayingfubb was kind enough to get this statement from a race horse owner which describes horse retirement in the racing industry:
From another owner trainer
What we are seeing in the Thoroughbred industry is a higher level of awareness. Over the last ten years or so people have learned that just giving a horse away doesn't guarantee it a good home for life, chances are it will end up in a slaughterhouse. While there will always be people working with horses that just don't care where a horse ends up if they are handed a few hundred bucks, those people are thankfully quickly becoming the minority. Most racetracks have instituted anti-slaughter policies, with Suffolk Downs' being the best so far. Racetracks in many states now deduct money from purses earmarked for TB rescue, and rehabilitation. Philadelphia Park has a barn where horses can be placed if the owners no longer want them. The horses are retired, and re-homed. There is a remarkable number of people going to low end auctions every week to find TB's and save them from killer buyers.
A rescue would have to realize that not all racehorses can be rehabilitated, or re-homed, and be willing, for the good of certain individual horses, to euthanize. Someone very experienced with racehorses should be consulted in those instances. The Thoroughbred industry leads all other breeds in rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of ex-racehorses. Most people in racing love their horses, and want to see them live long, happy lives after their racing careers are over.
An anonymous poster described the effects on TB rescue as a result of FHOTD's recent failed attempt at voicing grievances:
…I am very, very angry that Cathy Atkinson's latest temper tantrum has closed off our access to the TB's... we were already crippled by not being able to 'flip lips' and check out the pedigree's. every single time we tried to advertise these beautiful, well bred, horses the past owners, no matter how far back or innocent, were harassed by nasty phone calls...So we stopped posting pedigrees to protect past owners. Now, because of the Frisco thing...all of the phone calls to the past owners and trainers and even the track officials - The FLO has closed off all access to the TB's - Doesn't matter that Cathy Atkinson screwed up, doesn't matter that her follower's didn't know what they were talking about. It doesn't even matter that no one knows what they were trying to accomplish..All that matters to me is that the FLO has decided that we won't be allowed access to the TB's anymore and there's nothing we can do about it..All of the TB's will be shipped to the Slaughterhouse,..period, full stop..They will still be dumped, but no one will see them, no one will be able to help them and not a darned thing has been gained..There must have been a 'point', but I'm just not seeing it...So any explanation by 'wiser' minds would be gratefully appreciated.
To summarize, it is suffice to say that FHOTD effect on horse rescue has been disastrous. She has started a campaign without knowledge of the industry or consideration of consequences. This has resulted in her followers harassing individuals to the extent that they no longer want to work with rescues and Fugly has greatly sabotaged rescue attempts which has cost many horses their lives. It is truly sad to see the energy of her followers working against horse rescue when we could imagine the change for the better that could have been possible if their energies had be properly used. The best advice for those who read FHOTD is to join a rescue group and put your energies there rather than relying on Fugly for direction.