Some random visitor comments about IGHA/HorseAid
Please note: if you send us a comment, and it is used on our "Guest Riders" page, we will normally only use your first name to "sign" it.
We do not publish "anonymous" letters, as writing to us (or anyone) anonymously lacks the credibility we should all require on the Internet which is akin to wearing a mask.
Would you buy something from someone selling door to door (that's what the Internet essentially is) wearing a mask? Well we won't and don't, and neither should you!
The Internet can be a source of useful and accurate information, but it can also be a source of deceit and gross inaccuracies.With the power of the Internet, comes the responsible use of that power.
To whom it may concern;
I for one would like to congratulate your movement. Not in a good way, but in a very truthful and enlightening way for you to understand.
of the persecution
that the movement has made they have ended a way of life and in some cases,
a family because those familys have been rendered financially insecure because
the company has cut one third of their producers and up to fifty percent
of the producers still able to ship thieir contract.
Therefore I must say my hat is off to you, because, instead of saving the horses that you think that you were by boycotting the product you have signed the death warrant for anywhere from 10000-30000 good mares that had a good life no matter what your organization has to say.
It may not
have been the most perfect life on this planet, but,at least they were alive
and kicking not
dead and on some
Euopean's dinner plate or in some animals can of soft dog or cat food.
Again I must congratulate you on the fact that not only have you ruined a number of peoples livlihood, but, you have also managed to kill 10000-30000 horses because of you narrow minded self centered thoughts and beliefs.
answer to Alfred's letter.)
Our own on-site visits have already determined that some of the PMU farms do indeed look at the horses as an investment and take reasonably good care of their stock. Others (most) do not. Perhaps you are one of those that do, but the issue is a two-fold one. One is the general handing and care of the PMU farm horses, the other is women's health.
Since the FDA suspended all of their HRT tests (really Premarin tests) in 2002 as being too dangerous to the test groups, the tide has drastically changed about the benefits of using Premarin based products, and that tide continues to expand against the use of PMU based HRT medications day by day. This danger to women taking PMU based medications is what we have been publishing since 1988.
We are not responsible for killing any horses. What you accurately mean, is that the PMU industry is responsible for the deaths of the horses you mention, plus many women who took the drug derived from your product.
Our own research taken from Canadian Ag records (office visits), show that between 1985 and 1998, an average of 80,000 horses died each year directly because of the industry you defend. That's over 1 million horses, Alfred.
We estimate in that same period of time, over 250,000 women died because of the use of PMU based products (mostly due to breast cancer linked directly to taking PMU based HRT).
Your family does not have the right to make a living off of a product that kills my family, Alfred.
Mary Weiss, PMU Specialist Volunteer, IGHA/HorseAid
Greetings!I just finished reading your web posting at www.premarin.org, and wanted to let you know I think it's terrific! Lots of excellent technical information, and what struck me as a reasoned, as opposed to hysterical, approach. I have recently joined The HSUS as Director of Equine Protection, and obviously we share your concern about PMU farms. I hope we can work together on some of our efforts. I would especially like to know how you gained access to the Canadian PMU farms... Would you mind if I refer callers to your site for information? Our web site doesn't have any equine information right now, but I have requested that PMU info. be added first. Also, feel free to refer anyone to us for a copy of our "Facts About Hormone Replacement Therapy" brochure. It's been very popular, and I think even the more conservative members of the medical community can feel comfortable looking it over with patients. We are going to update it in the next several months. I would love to talk with members of your group sometime about our common concerns. Ellen Buck, DVM,
I'm not a horse person by any means but my wife rides and loves them to death. But I was raised and went to school with the two brothers that run the barns and I'm sure their father taught them to take pride in horses cause they show the working breeds just like he did for many years.
These PMU horses get their running time and the vet comes by weekly as does the farrier and to say they are mistreated, I can't see it.
I'm not running down your site, and I'm sure there are abused animals at some places. But we at "Paint It Black Farms" are proud of our little Blackie and tell him he's a PMU baby.
Thanks for your time,
In May and June of 1999, we visited over 60 farms, in December thru January 1998, over a hundred. Since 1988, we have visited over 400 farms.
Since we (I am sure you can understand why) visit these operations incognito, we usually see the day to day operations as they occur well, day to day. We also have many supporters working on these farms (people not so much opposed to PMU farming as they are to the way MOST of the farms still treat their horses), so even when we are not there, we ARE there.
Yes, we have seen a vast improvement over the years (and clearly state that on our Web page), and even in the past three years there has been significant improvements (farms are better managed, horses treated more humanly), but do you really believe (except in a minuscule of situations) that this came about without the adverse publicity we have generated over the years concerning PMU farm operations? Things are better now because we (and other groups and individuals like us) have made them better, not because the PMU farmers woke up one morning with a vision of humane handling dancing before their eyes.
We realize that different people look at different horses in different ways depending on the way they are used, or the owners interpretation of the horses' role in his or hers life. I have personally visited PMU farms where the condition of the pee line horses was abominable, yet the farm owners personal stock of riding/showing horses were pampered beyond belief. I personally believe that no horse should be used to the detriment of the horse's well being, this includes pleasure as well as commercial pursuits. As of my last visit in June, 1999, the majority of horses on the Canadian PMU pee lines (in HorseAid's opinion) are being used in ways that are detrimental to their well being.
In 1985, when I first heard that Premarin was produced from horse urine, I thought that rather odd, so I called my personal physician (and friend) to ask him about it. He replied that he did not think so, but would research it for me. When he was surprised to discover that Premarin was indeed produced from the urine of pregnant mares, HorseAid decided to look into the situation. Thus began our long involvement with the PMU industry.
At first, we thought that "reforming" the industry would be our objective, but as time passed, and we started to actually do on-site visits, it became increasingly clear that the "paper trail" of the majority of the foals went from farm to France. It is because of the senseless slaughter of these innocents that we are now totally opposed to the production of organic Premarin. Before Premarin is purchased by the consumer, it has already been paid for by the foals of August, with their blood. There can be no reform to an industry that requires that their profits be sustained through the blood of innocents.
Even if every farm were as you describe, the product they produce is contingent on a mare being in foal, when that foal is born its fate is almost 100% sealed for its sale as a "meat horse". So no matter how well the mares are taken care of (as well they should be), it is the foals that pay the eventual price to produce Premarin. If every Premarin pill were dyed blood red, and the reason known, how many woman do you think would keep on taking the drug? Premarin is not safe for horses or the women that use the drug.
We thank you for your comments, please consider mine.
Enzo Giobbé, IGHA/HorseAid Volunteer
I found out about your website via a notification from WAN (World Animal Net) on Friday, May 21st. Today was the first chance I had to check it out, and I am definitely speechless.
I publish a monthly animal advocacy newspaper here in Charlotte, NC. One of the issues that I try to keep the public updated on is Premarin. It's also the one issue that I get the most feedback on from my reading public. I really don't know why this issue hits my heart so much given all the animal issues I see every day, but it does and I've taken it on as a personal crusade. As a result, I've educated many people within both North and South Carolina, and many women have written to tell me that they've confronted their doctors and had their prescriptions switched.
I pride myself on presenting to the public the most accurate and up-to-date information that I can find. Imagine my horror when I perused your website and found numerous statements that I had seen, word for word in literature and websites from other animal advocacy groups. It was apparent that they had been (for a long time), "gleaning" their information from you. And they were groups that I had been subsequently "gleaning" my information from.
Point being, it appears that you are the source for much of the information and data that is circulating concerning the whole PMU issue. And after having spent the last 3 hours doing nothing but reading everything (including the links--especially those to the financial section of Wyeth-Ayerst), I will never use any information on this issue from any source other than yours.
I believe that I have never seen a more thorough or complete site than yours; including commercial sites, and I have already contacted one friend and requested that they include the Say Neigh to Premarin Pill on their website.
I didn't intend for this email to be this long, but wanted you to know how impressed I was.
Please let me know your reprint policy. I would like to reprint information in my newspaper, giving you full credit. Whatever your reprint policies, I will follow them to the letter in order to get the most accurate and up-to-date information out to the public.
And thank you for all you do. If you should need any contacts in order to start an IGHA chapter in either North or South Carolina, please let me know.
Renee Garrison Crenshaw,
I thought you should know what a wonderful horse our Bonnie is! We fenced a large pen area for her and enclosed her seven acres, so she can roam. She also has a new lean-to. She's checked every day and talked to, and has regular worming, shots, and a good farrier. We sure are grateful for HorseAid!
Robyn Harris Paola, KS
(Note: Bonnie, whose registered name is Merry Go Threat, is a purebred Tennessee Walking Horse mare who was donated to HorseAid by her owner, who no longer had time to ride her. Now Bonnie is ridden regularly by Robyn and her daughter, and as you can see, she is well-cared-for and much-loved!)
(Hey, sometimes, we write comments too...)
Dear Mr. Bruder,
This posting was forwarded to us (we do not frequent any usernet news groups or Internet message boards) by an interested third party (your posting of this message to the usernet rec. equestrian newsgroup verified by DeJa News):
On 3/25/99, Don Bruder wrote:
: I'm out of the loop. I guess HorseAid something to be avoided?
Nutshell version as I perceive it from what I've run across on the web: Money-hungry, self-serving, wannabe-activists that, much like PeTa, talk a good line, but accomplish little or nothing useful.
They also seem to have a poor track record when it comes to paying their bills.
Mr. Bruder, let me state in no uncertain terms, you are either grossly misinformed or very easily duped (we are hoping it is the former).
Let me challenge your so-called "perceptions" point by point:
"Money-hungry": Perhaps you have personally seen all the solicitations for money we send out in the many informative brochures and flyers covering horse abuse/welfare (and equine care) we send out (sent out at our own personal expense, I may add)? Or perhaps you have visited one of our Web sites and noticed all the "requests for money" pages we publish, and all the "how you can help" hot links that lead to "begging for donations" pages? What? You haven't seen them? Well neither have we, Mr. Bruder, as they do not exist!
We do not now, nor have we ever actively solicited funds, and during all of 1998, we received just $440.00 (US) in unsolicited donations (and zero in solicited donations, as we don't solicit!). Unless I fail to grasp the concept of the term "money-hungry", I don't see how not soliciting for funds and placing monetary concerns at the absolute bottom of our priorities constitutes us being "money-hungry" in any way.
We don't know how far $440.00 goes in your world Mr. Bruder, but in ours, it doesn't even cover a week's hay bill for our rescues.
Perhaps you know of another equine rescue (besides ours and Robin Duxbury's) where every single person associated in any way with the organization earns 100% of their living completely outside of the organization and pays for their own expenses without reimbursement (and this includes "consulting fees" billed to the organization, etc.)? "Money-hungry" Mr. Bruder, I think not.
"Self-serving": An ambiguous term at best. I guess all our many volunteers world-wide, and the many HorseAid Chapter Coordinators who spend thousands of dollars of their own funds each year and countless hours of their own time on the horses' behalf have their own selfish interests at heart, is that correct Mr. Bruder? You actually perceive that, do you?
"Wannabe-activists": We don't want to be anything Mr. Bruder. What we want (world-wide) is an end to the senseless slaughter of horses (meaning NO horse slaughter, Mr. Bruder), and an end to all forms of equine abuse (this includes commercialized abuse).
"Much like PeTa, talk a good line, but accomplish little or nothing useful": We are nothing like PeTA, Mr. Bruder (although they have joined us in some of our PMU protests). Each organization works in its own way to accomplish its own goals. It's up to the individual to decide whether they want to support an organization or not. And all such actions (either way) should be based on hard verifiable facts, not suppositions, or innuendoes read on some usernet newsgroup or Internet message board.
As for accomplishing "little or nothing", it just goes to show how "little or nothing" you really know about us or what we have accomplished (or what we even do).
We were the first to bring the many PMU issues to light (all at our own expense, and without asking for any "outside monies" to continue our prolonged investigations, still on-going).
We were the first to criticize the BLM for their horrible handling of the horses entrusted to their care (and suggested some real solutions that would have the horse's best interest at its core, instead the best interests of any individual, group, or governmental agency).
We were the first to oppose the "National Horse Transport Bill" (and publicize all the inadequacies in the bill). Even now, not one thing has changed for the better to horses being transported to slaughter, not one! At the onset, this bill had many, many supporters in rec.equestrian (which we call "wreck.equestrian"), and we were severely denounced for our opposition to it in that newsgroup. Now, many of those same denouncers realizing how bad the bill actually is (and how politically incorrect it is to keep supporting it) have become "hind-sight" denouncers of it themselves (but we have yet to hear a "HorseAid was right all along" from any one of them). How times change.
We constantly research all areas of horse abuse (in all forms), and pass this information on (at no charge). This is not just wishful thinking Mr. Bruder, this is hard work and it is expensive work, and all we ask in return is credit for the work we do. If you were to visit "http://igha.org/slaustat.html", you would see that our 1998 predictions for total equine slaughter in the U.S. (as listed according to USDA accounting, and rounded to the nearest thousand) would be 72,000. The actual USDA figure for 1998 was 72,120 horses. We published this prediction in June of 1998 (based on extensive research and our own experiences with the "slaughter trade"). The fact that we were so painstakingly correct, can be attributed to our painstakingly accurate research. Or do you think it was just a lucky guess? And if we were dealing in "lucky guesses" Mr. Bruder, do you think we would be "lucky guessing" USDA slaughter totals or the California Lotto?
HorseAid is the largest equine rescue/welfare organization in the world, Mr. Bruder, and that in itself is no "little" accomplishment. We are also the only equine rescue/welfare group in the world not dependant on outside donations to survive, and the only animal rescue/welfare group anywhere (that we are aware of) not actively soliciting funds in one form or another.
"They also seem to have a poor track record when it comes to paying their bills.": While it is true that we may be a bit late sometimes (a week or so) in paying for one of our many HorseAid Chapters telecom or postage invoices, we know of no bills now or ever that have ever gone unpaid. If you personally have knowledge of any such legitimate bills (bills associated with a rescue we performed or are in the process of, or a vet bill we promised to pay for a HorseAid or even for a non-HorseAid horse, or one of our many service, pager, or cellular bills, or an unpaid hay bill), please share your information with us as we are not aware of any legitimate bills that are (or have been) overdue. No, Mr. Bruder, we always pay our bills, and what's more important is that we don't (and never have) asked you (or anybody else) to!
All we ask, Mr. Bruder, is that you do your own research, and base both the
research and conclusion on verifiable facts. Most of the information on the
Internet is fairly accurate, a lot of it is not, and some of it is just plain
lies (based on overt or covert personal agendas). Just because someone chooses
to publish or post something does not make it true.
Donna C., IGHA/HorseAid (just another hard working uncompensated volunteer).
Bruder's thoughtful and incisive reply to us:
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 20:42:40 -0700
To: IGHA/HorseAid Volunteer
Subject: Re: rec.equestrian posting, RE: Kansas Pony Abuse
A few short words in response to your ridiculously oversized rant:
Eat shit and bark at the moon.
Don't litter my mailbox again.
you for making our point even further, Mr. Bruder...
Addendum: Mr. Bruder eventually hired several different attorneys whom threatened legal action against IGHA/HorseAid if we did not remove his posting (forwarded to us from the rec.equestrian news group) and our reply to his posting, from our Web site(s).
Our attorneys informed his attorney(s) that we would do so ONLY AFTER Mr. Bruder was able to prove just ONE point he stated in his posting. So far, he has not been able to do so (and we know that he never will).
IGHA/HorseAid earns Votenet award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2/1/99
Votenet, the Internet's premier political community Web site, today announced that it has awarded IGHA/HorseAid the award for Outstanding Political Web Site for the second year in a row.
This coveted award recognizes those politically oriented Web sites that contribute to the spread of democracy and returning political power to citizens. Votenet (www.votenet.com) is a one-stop content site of political information, products and service for politicians and politically active citizens.
Votenet, a free subscription-based site, gives politically active citizens, special interest groups and individuals involved in political campaigns a single access point to research sources and other political resources and information.
Susan Cuff, Netivation
Dear Sirs;We will be placing on our site EQUISPORT - the purple ribbon "End all Horse Slaughter Now" and must advise you that we will print the purple ribbon in our monthly publication during all of 1999.
Only now is Portugal considering legislation to stop Horse Slaughter, it is very degrading to go into hypermarkets and see the local fridges packed with horse meat.
We encourage our readers not to buy from these large stores, but during 1999 we will intensify our campaign against horse slaughter.
We would like to receive by airmail post, and as soon as physically possible, 300 purple ribbons for distribution, please can you assist us. We will be posting, as requested postcards from our country, Portugal.
Our very sincere thanks, and we do appreciate what you are doing for our horses.
Margarida R. Santos, Editor, EQUISPORT
The Story of "Sam"...
"Sam" as featured in a 1974 poster.
Artwork courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
and Mel Brooks Productions Inc.
I recently talked to Gary Richards. He was the one who picked up Sam for HorseAid the day he was rescued. He said it was one of the worst two places he had ever brought a horse out of. Glass, motorcycle parts, rusty car parts, wire everywhere. No water anywhere in sight. Sam was skin and bones. Gary stopped at the first local gas station to get Sam water. Sam drank 3 buckets full. Gary was afraid to give him more.
Here is how we got Sam: my 18-year-old daughter, Nicole, loved horses, especially her horse, Clover. She would put her toddler sister, Caitlin, on Clover's back with her and ride, and they would laugh and laugh. They had a grand time. Well, Clover passed away in November of 1995 not long after our old dog had died (the dog always slept with Caitlin). These losses were hard on Caitlin. She had to understand death at a very young age.
Then, Nicole was killed a few months later in April of 1996 in a car accident along with 3 of her friends when their vehicle was hit by a motorhome. Caitlin was devastated. She was not quite 4 years old at the time. She wanted to be a pallbearer at the funeral, and she helped to carry her sister. She had already learned that death means you are never coming back.
We took Caitlin to counseling in the months to follow and tried to help her but she had been so close to her sister that she was really not doing well at all. To make matters worse, we had to return the other horse we had been leasing for 2 1/2 years to the owner a few months after. I tried to buy him but the owner wanted him back. At this point, Caitlin said she was going to run away with the horse and cried and became even more depressed. She just seemed afraid to love anyone for fear they would die or she would lose them.
I talked to your Senior HorseAid Rep, Margie Rickards about looking for a horse for Caitlin, a horse she could enjoy and to help her through this difficult time. Margie told me about Sam. She felt Sam would be an excellent horse for Caitlin. I was reluctant because I knew he had to be at least 25+ years old since the movie was released in 1974. If he died, Caitlin would have to go through yet another death, another life loss.
Well, we saw him and Caitlin fell in love with him. Marsha Carey (member of the HorseAid Executive Committee at the time) had spent many, many months "bringing Sam back", and he looked so good! He was staying at Susan Drake's place (Susan is a HorseAid Rep, and SafeHouse) at that time. She took him over to Margie's in November for us where we will keep him until we move to Norco. Christmas of 1997 was great for Caitlin because she had her movie star horse. She talked about him to everyone and still does. She always looks forward to seeing him and getting on his back. Sam is really good with Caitlin. When people see Sam, they ask about him because he is still so beautiful and has such distinctive markings. Everyone seems to know the movie "Blazing Saddles". They are fascinated with his story.
Whatever time we have with Sam is worth it. It's an honor to know him. He has certainly been a survivor and deserves a lot of respect. If he could talk, the stories he could tell. He has helped Caitlin through tough times. She can tell him all her secrets and hug him and brush him while she's brushing her cares away. So for those who are reluctant to get the older horse, they still have a lot to give. Don't miss out on knowing them.
Many days, Margie gives Sam the run of the place. When we arrive, he nickers when he sees us and follows us around. He knows we're his family and that we won't let him down. His head is up and he looks proud.
Sam now has the retirement he deserves. After all, he's a Star!
"Sam" & Caitlin (1998)
How can two people, he a trainer whose motto is: "I will NEVER beat anything 'into' or 'out of' a horse," she the designer/teacher of several "Horsemanship" programs, not find out until this week what horses go through from the auction to the slaughterhouse?!
Right up until accessing your site, we honestly believed that: transport procedures had become more humane, thanks to some legislation or other we'd vaguely skimmed over in the paper some time back; that it was only "common sense" to keep slaughter-bound horses fed and watered in order to be more valuable per pound and also more palatable for the human consumption market; that the actual slaughtering procedure was something Grandpa had used (a helmet-like device with a slot through which the shooter's gun would discharge with absolute accuracy--"all over for the poor critter before he got to chew the second bite of the carrot you held in your other hand"), and that any horse was better off slaughtered than in the hands of the ignorant and the malicious.
Ever hear the expression, "when you point a finger at somebody, don't forget that there's three fingers pointing right back at YOU"? We've always been the first to point a finger at the ignorant, now we realize that all that time, our own fingers were pointing back at us!
You must be familiar with the old hymn "Amazing Grace," with its definitive line, "I was blind, but now I see"? That was written by the captain of a slave ship following his conversion to religion and the Abolitionist movement. Your "slaughterhouse cybertour" tore the scales of our erstwhile blissful ignorance off our eyes, and God help us for the time we've wasted dallying in the darkness.
We are not by nature disposed to becoming overcompensatory zealots, but we're certainly not, after having learned what we have via your site, going to stick our heads back into the sand, either.
Meanwhile, any suggestions as to how one recovers from your cybertour? We're not sleeping, eating, or functioning very well. We stumbled onto your site by accident, via surfing around horsey sites as part of our personal and professional interests, never expecting to find what we found going on in a supposedly civilized society. Well, visitors to Germany in the 1930's found it a most civilized society, too, reporting back that "they really know how to make the trains run on time."
Sincerely, "Ann" & "Keith"
answer to Ann & Keith's letter.)
Dear Ann & Keith,
Thank you for such a poignant and thought-provoking letter.
If more people (both horse people and non horse people alike) took the time you did to look at what the slaughter industry is all about, there would no longer be a slaughter industry.
We get so many "wants" ("I want you to..., and I want you to do it now, but ...I don't want to get involved", "I want you to find me the perfect horse, trailer it over to my place at your expense, and at my convenience, and of course I am not going to give you even a $5.00 donation, because after all, I am doing YOU a favor", "I want", "I want", "I want"), it's nice to get a "give" once in a while.
Thanks to both of you for a very nice and very much appreciated "give"!
Addendum: Ann & Keith sent us $200. It was the only money we received that year that did not come from a member of the I.G.H.A. board or HorseAid founder, and the highest single donation we had received to that date.
"Groups who live off their rescues."
I check your site regularly, and I was a little upset to keep reading complaints about folks who rescue horses and then sell them at a profit.
I belong to a tiny group of people who raise funds for low/cost spay/neuter program, and who are also asked to check abuse cases because we are the only "humane" anything group in the area.
Last year, we got involved with a puppy-mill owner who also had starving horses, and we were able to take 6 animals and eventually find them new homes - all without support from our judicial system. Once the search warrant was issued, and we had the animals (they would only let us take the horses, not the dogs), we were basically forgotten. The case was never prosecuted, but the pressure we put on the owner eventually "encouraged" her to sell out and leave the state.
Other than a tiny amount raised thru garage and bake sales, all expenses were out of our own pockets, mostly mine and my husband's. We did get a small adoption donation for each animal, but it will never cover all expenses, and we only managed because folks were willing to wait for payment, and accept what we could afford to pay, not what actual costs were. (Almost $8,000 in expenses, $1,400 recovered. We had the animals for just under a year.)
There are a bunch of us out here doing the same thing, and I don't want to be lumped into a group that is trying to profit from misery. So, you might try a little harder to look for the good guys. Those of us who do it because no one else in our area is, not because we can sell horses.
You might also try to get information out as to how groups can raise funds for our own rescue efforts.
This is Arkansas. We have almost no recourse for animal cruelty - the laws stink, and the folks in charge of enforcing them can't be bothered - except in my town, where as ACO I have a good relationship with my judge, and I do take folks to court, and generally win cases.
Please reply - I think you guys do a good job, but we need help here. This state is way behind on animal welfare, and further behind on income.
answer to Sue's letter.)
Horse rescue still starts with one person saving one horse. If ten people save just one horse each, that's ten horses saved. If a thousand people do the same, that's a thousand horses saved.
Horse rescue isn't (and really shouldn't be) the domain of organizations alone. Horse rescue should be done as you did it. You saw a problem, you got involved, you solved the problem. Simple (and yes, sometimes expensive), but the end result is that now six horses have a chance at a better future. We commend you on that!
There is nothing wrong with what you did to try and re-coup your expenses, and we don't take exception to that at all. We don't expect anybody to work for free, or take a loss on their rescue efforts. We do it so as to not "cloud up" our adoption contracts with mitigating circumstances, and because we are fortunate enough to have a board of directors willing to personally fund our charitable work.
Since we have never done any fund raising per se, we can't advise you on that, but it seems that you are on the right track. Besides, fund raising tips that work in NY, will probably NOT work in CA, and those that work in CA, will probably NOT work in AK. We also do not know any of the ins and outs of grant asking.
Yes, we do help our HorseAid Chapters with their financial burden (those expenses necessary for day to day chapter operation).
Of course we will help you in any way that we can with your ongoing rescue efforts!
Some recent comments about zoophilia...
I recently visited your site and found some of it to be quite disturbing. More specifically the section on horse abuse by zoophiles. I would like to take this time to inform you of both incorrect information and overall misunderstanding of the majority of the zoo community.
First of all you use the terms "zoophilia" and "bestiality" interchangeably when they are completely different words. You might as well call the Salvation Army a militant terrorist group and expect no complaint. I have included the true definitions of the words below:
Bestiality is, by textbook definition, sexual contact between a human being and a non-human animal. Zoophilia is, by textbook definition, an emotional attachment to an animal that causes a human being to prefer a non-human animal as a companion and / or a sexual partner.
But more specifically those who refer to themselves as a "bestialist" are ones who take tasteless photos and exploit their animals. Those who refer to themselves as a "zoophile" are ones who care for their animals deeply and in NO way would they ever harm, abuse, exploit or rape their animals.
I strongly believe in, and, am a zoophile. I have a horse, and I love her with all of my heart and nothing would hurt me more then to see her harmed in any way. I treat her as my equal and spend hours just talking to her. I know that not all zoophiles are as devout as I but I would like to believe that most of them are. It is unavoidable that there would be a few that have no feelings for their animal and what results saddens me.
Now the area of consent arises. On your site you said that "it is not exactly sex between consenting adults." Well, I cant argue with that except to say that if a horse does not want you to have sex with, touch, or whatever then it can bite, kick, rear, buck, trample, stomp, headbutt, or any of a wide assortment of things to keep you away. Horses are intelligent creatures and understand when things are happening to them and can choose to stop it if they so desire. Yes one could tie down, drug, or otherwise restrain a horse to rape it. But the same thing can, and is done with humans. These I feel should be illegal not the loving, caring relationship that I have shared with my mare for almost 6 years now.
I treat her as my equal and give her the choice to do as she wants and I comply to what she desires. And if treating her as I would hope to be treated is wrong, then I thank you for your time and I will leave by repeating a quote from your page:
"...and I whispered to the horse; trust no man in whose eye you don't see yourself reflected as an equal."
Sincerely, A True Lover of all Equines, "Matthew"
I don't see how people can think and do such sick things. I am really glad to hear that you shut down web pages of this unheard of sickness.
I also believe that horses shouldn't be slaughtered. Please keep doing what you do best, for I believe it truly makes a difference.
A believer forever, "Valaree "
I'd like to commend you on a wonderfully informative article. I've no desire to find out more about zoophiles, and certainly do not feel that loving and caring for your companion animals should be sexual in any way.
However I was very impressed with the way you handled such a difficult topic, and for not only raising community awareness about this problem, but also challenging zoophiles to think about the legitimacy of their actions.
So again, congratulations on your article, and I'll send you positive 'vibes' on your work with abused animals. (Apologies, I'm not able to help out financially, however I have just purchased a mare from a slaughterhouse last week, she's home, she's thin, she's safe, and she's currently spending up all my financial resources, but its my intention to give her a safe home for life).
Some recent comments about ...rescue?
(The following e-mail was received by HorseAid from a 16 year old concerned horse lover/owner named "Elizabeth"...)
I am 16 yrs old. I e-mailed you several days ago about becoming a junior volunteer in Florida. I was not able to find the junior volunteer form on your web site. Please mail me a copy of it either by e-mail or mail me at my home address.
I also have another problem that is of some urgency. I know of a business in The Czech Republic that recently purchased 60 horses. Shortly after the purchase the company went bankrupt. There were no provisions for the horses, and the Czech republic is very poor and no one can afford to buy them. This being the case if no one wants to take them the horses will be sold and sent to slaughter. The people who are handling the horses only ask that those parties interested pay for the transportation of the horses to the US and maybe a little extra for the horses ($100 give or take) I do not know if there is anything that can be done about this, I would try to save a horse myself but I already have one and my parents say no way can we afford another. I would be willing to do what ever I could to help save these horses. Please e-mail me as soon as possible if you have any ideas! Thank you, the horses don't have much time!
answer to Elizabeth's letter.)
Thank you so much for your interest in becoming a "Jr. HorseAid Volunteer". Instructions are on our "HorseAid Chapters Page" (addendum: this program was discontinued in 1999 due to a lack of funding) and also on our "HIP" - "Horses in Programme Page" (http:/igha.org/haprog_L.html), please follow the listed instructions on those pages.
Czech horses: First off, this is not the first time we have heard of this story, or a close derivative (sometimes it's the Ukraine, and sometimes Bulgaria, and sometimes it's ponies instead of horses). The problem we face is two-fold. One, we have to verify that the story is indeed true, and not just another "horse hostage" situation. The "threat" (or implication) that the horses will be sold to slaughter suggests a "horse hostage" situation ("pay up, or else"). Although this may well be a true story, it is doubtful that it is. Since we have no HorseAid representatives in the Czech Republic, we have no way to accurately confirm or debunk the story.
Problem number two is the expense. You must be aware that we do not solicit funds, and that we are entirely privately funded. What this means is that all the money we require to do the work we do worldwide -- comes mainly from the I.G.H.A. Board of Directors (some, very little, comes from I.G.H.A. equine registrations). We have no massive fund raising machine, because we truly believe that "charity begins at home", and that nobody else should have to pay our way -- besides, where would we find the time to solicit funds even if we wanted to (and still do the work we do)? Since we have no hidden agendas (i.e., raising "heart tugging" issues for fund raising purposes), people can count on what we say and write to be both accurate and verifiable.
The total expenses (including feed, handlers, veterinarians, medications, etc.) to transport 60 live horses under (acceptable to us) humane conditions to the West Coast of the U.S. from the Czech Republic would cost (as of 5/11/98) a low of $3,000 (U.S.) per horse to a high of $8,000 (U.S.) per horse (that is by surface/ship transport), which adds up to $180,000 (U.S.) at the low end and ONE-HALF million dollars (U.S.) on the high end. Air transport would cost at least twice or triple that amount.
So you can see the problem we face: Even without that $100.00 per horse "they" are looking for ($6,000 U.S.), where would the money come from? If the I.G.H.A. Board of Directors did in fact agree to fund such a venture, how many horses in the U.S. and the other countries we have active chapters in would then suffer or go without?
It's never an easy solution to decide what horses to help, and under the conditions you describe, an almost impossible one.
We wish we could be more positive, or offer more solutions or help, but horses are usually really saved (long term) with our heads, not with our hearts.
We know how much it must
pain you to feel so helpless in the face of such a situation, and
indeed we wish we could help, but at the present
time, it just isn't possible.
In trying to both verify and offer some help (although the letter writer's request to ship the horses to the U.S. would be out of the question) on the situation described in the e-mail received by us, we:
Asked the original letter writer for verifiable documentation (none was forthcoming).
Posted to all the "A-R News Lists" we are subscribed to, asking if anybody had a verification or solid lead on this story. NONE was forthcoming (although several people on the lists e-mailed us back mentioning the "Vucijak Stud situation" which is in Bosnia -- and which we knew was already being capably handled via a U.S. appeal by Laura Wiener, President of the United States Lipizzan Registry, an international appeal by the Lippizaner Society of Great Britain, and an appeal being run by Horse & Hound, one of the top UK equestrian magazines).
We called Animal People magazine. If it involves worldwide animal abuse/rescue issues, they are the most likely to know about it. Not only could they not verify the story, the editor of Animal People said it sounded like some sort of scam (and one that had been used previously). This is quite possible, as we have a file full of stories that are in the same ilk (in fact, the file is named "Horse Hostages").
Then we asked both our Great Britain and Danish HorseAid Chapters to help us to verify the story. Neither chapter head could verify the story or come up with any basis for, or leads on it.
Finally, through one of our HorseAid founder's professional motion picture connections, we were able to contact a caring equine advocate in Prague. She said that any farm with 60 horses would be well known in the Czech Republic, and that she would check. When we contacted her again the next day, she said that no such situation seemed to exist anywhere in the Czech Republic. A day later, she confirmed that no such condition could be verified by her, or any of the local AR/AW supporters she contacted.
We kept checking and checking, until we finally exhausted all of our contact avenues. The story just did not seem to have a basis in fact. The story might well have been true, or it might have been (as Animal People suggested), just a scam, or..? The only thing we knew for sure was that we could not independently verify the story (which is a prime requirement before HorseAid gets involved in committing any major resources to a rescue).
In the end, it was just not possible to verify any part of the story, so we "signed off" of it for the time being (even though it was not possible, expense wise, to import the horses into the U.S., if the story was true, we could get at least get them some needed feed and possibly, vet care).
Now let's look at the ramifications of this particular incident:
When we received the original e-mail from "Elizabeth", TWO HorseAid volunteers were assigned to verify the story and try and arrange emergency help. These two volunteers logged in about 4 hours apiece (8 hours total) in trying to trace the story to a legitimate source (they found none). We logged in a total of 9 domestic calls (all LD) that added up to $74.00. We also logged in 24 international faxes sent ($58.00), and 22 international telephone calls (6 were conference calls) at a cost of $280.
So, because ONE 16 year old girl said there was an "immediate" need for a rescue in the Czech Republic we spent $412.00 (U.S.) to check it out (not including the 8 volunteer hours taken away from other needy cases).
Assuming that "Elizabeth" also e-mailed lots of other people and rescue groups (most likely, since we received over 2 dozen letters on this subject), how many hours were actually spent on this so-called rescue by those other groups and caring people? How much money? We wonder what the total cost actually (to all of us) was on what is essentially a "non-rescue"?
If anybody knows if the story was really verified, perhaps you can have them e-mail us and tell us how they verified the story?
We have been doing rescues for a very, very long time now, and learned some time ago, that the very first rule of any rescue is: Make sure you can absolutely verify the smoke before yelling "fire". While $412.00 may not seem like much, we don't get our operating funds by opening envelopes; we get it from our directors who have real jobs, work very hard, and write us personal checks for the funds we need.
We don't think Elizabeth was misguided or did this on purpose, and we don't mean to suggest that. She is obviously just a caring horse person that got caught up in something that was not of her doing. Please, please... when reporting an abuse situation that you have not witnessed yourself or don't have first-hand knowledge of, check it out to make sure it's legitimate!
Mare needs help.
Duvall, (WA / USA): "Karen" wrote us on 9/4/98: I came upon this chestnut mare on Saturday, 8/29/98. Complete emaciation, coat caked in mud, hooves cracked and split, barely able to stand. Crossed a fence to view closer. Very abused looking. Nose bent as if broken at some time. Coat filthy. No food. Mucky water.
Went to nearby house and called 911. They wouldn't send an officer as it was "just a horse". Went to another nearby house which boards horses. Spoke with person there, who came with me to see the horse. Flagged down a passing police car on the way and took him to the horse. He declined to view the animal, saw her at a distance through the trees and remarked "Yeah, I suppose she looks a little hungry". Convinced him to call an animal control officer. Went again in the field to help the horse. Had a small amount of food.Horse now laying down; when saw food, struggled to get to her feet. Wolfed down small amount of food. Confronted by woman claiming to own horse. Very hostile. Told me it was none of my business, she was tired of people complaining about her horse. I was trespassing, the horse was old. The vet had seen her. Refused to supply name of vet. When confronted about hooves, claimed farrier had just been there. When pressed for more information, refused. Animal control officer also declined to view horse. Spoke with me, claiming after he spoke with the woman's husband, it was none of my business and they knew they had to put her to sleep but it was their decision and they decided to let her die by her own accord. Was told by him in a rather threatening way that I would probably get shot.
(1/15/99): Karen has reported that due to the adverse publicity generated by our reports and complaints (and we suspect the help Karen has given us AND "Lady Ophelia"), the mare is in much better shape, and in a cleaner, safer environment than she was when first noticed.
(4/30/99): Karen writes: I am astonished, amazed, and beyond thrilled to report to you and all who have showed concern that my visit to this mare over Easter found a fat, happy mare! She now has clean bedding, a brand new water container, and lots of hay and even had oats in her food!
Please let me know if you EVER need any help here in Washington. Again, I am in the Redmond area and will do whatever I can and then some.
God bless you for the work you do, and for being another voice for animals. Sometimes it is very painful emotionally for what we do to help animals, but turning my back and walking away would hurt infinitely more than helping and seeing their suffering ever could.
Thank you Karen! Because you were willing to get personally involved, you have made a huge difference in the life of this mare. We commend you for the help you have given us (and her).
New Holland, (PA / USA) "New Horrid":
I recently visited your site and read your action page. I saw where there were no updates regarding New Holland recently.
We are a small rescue based in Delaware. We have visited New Holland on three occasions. Not many times I realize, but I can see changes. Don't get me wrong I am not defending the auctions house but water is now available to all the horses through waterers. Some horses to have to share a waterer between them but they are supplied with water. They also have hay now as well.
The first time I went not all horses had water, some had dirty water, some had hay with no water and some had nothing. I would also like to say that through our website and other local websites public awareness is rising to the problem and more people are getting involved. The stigma of a New Holland horse is starting to vanish.
Just as you had written "Horses range from barely adequate body mass to extremely emaciated condition. Many are sick and injured, and require emergency vet and farrier care" this is not the case. Many, many horses are sound and healthy horses which would find homes if people were not afraid to attend the auction. When they read things like this statement they will not attend out of fear.
It is sad but it is a fact. I know many people that say they find it so disturbing they will not attend. Out of about 200 horses approximately 15 were in bad condition at the last auction and yes some did need emergency vet care. We rescued three horses. One that we could not get was a Belgium draft with a lame rear leg because we did not have the funds to rescue him.
We do the best we can to bring raise the public awareness to the plight of the New Holland horse. I could not tell you how many people tell me "there aren't any good horses up there". All they envision is the sick and the lame. Many, healthy, trained horses are going to slaughter as well. As for the sick and the lame, no they should not have to go through the hell that they are going through but I ask you where are the owners? Those are the people that really make me angry. The people that want that $50.00 for a horse that should be euthanized. That don't care how much it suffers or the hell it goes through or the fear it feels.
We recently rescued a horse for $60.00. I mean really, what is $60.00? I don't have a lot of money but 60 bucks sure isn't going to make an extreme difference in my life. Not enough to hurt something or someone else. This horse went through hell. He is now home with us and is doing well. I don't know if he will ever be adopted but he is safe and sound. I know this email is rather rambling, and I am sorry. It is a very emotional issue for me and I am spent to the limit emotionally and financially on the rescue. I wish I had the answers.
I just wanted to give you some sort of an update on the conditions of the sale and let you know that there are people trying to do something.
Debbie, Tri-State Equine Adoption
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