One of the downsides of being a committed member of the equine industry is learning the hard way that not everyone within the business cherishes the opportunity to work amongst their equine counterparts. As if it isn't enough that stories already abound of random/senseless acts of horse abuse perpetrated by those outside the industry, this week brings news that Thoroughbred owner and trainer Chad Moore is being arraigned on charges of cruelty and animal abandonment for the "alleged abandonment and maltreatment" of several horses on his Clermont County, OH farm. Two of the horses have been euthanized due to the severity of their malnourishment, and several others remain in protective care at a rehabilitative center. What makes this story particularly unsettling for me is that it happened within a stone's throw of my hometown (Cincinnati) and thus puts a personal point on a story that seems to have been repeated over and over in these past two economically stressed years. Is there anything more heartrending to a horselover than to learn of instances in which the people who have elected to own horses turn out to be the very same people doing their charges real harm?
So what is to be done? I suppose horse husbandry, just like human nature in general, will always have a dark side. Perhaps the key then is to use those stories as an impetus to work even harder at equine advocacy. It helps with maintaining a positive outlook when one remembers that for every person out there proving in some dastardly way that they cannot be trusted to promote the welfare of their horses, there are many others fighting tirelessly to do just that. Last week, for instance, also saw the announcement of a new web site devoted to "outing" those who have been charged with horse soring violations when exhibiting gaited horses. The Friends of Sound Horses Organization has consolidated all violations of the Horse Protection Act from 1986 forward, so that those looking to show their gaited horses or find reputable trainers can view lists of soring offenders. An excellent example of members of the equine industry coming together to protect the animals that they love. Their doing so reminds me that every voice counts in the fight for equine welfare, and that by speaking out I am adding mine to the light side.