Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Are there too many horse organizations?

I have two things I want to talk about today, so I will start with the short news.

HoofLinks, AHDF's online newsletter/blog is going to be moving soon. Until now we have been hosting it on blogspot, but we feel like it is time for it to find a new home on its own website. You will soon find us at (or .org). I will let you know when we make the move, so until then keep enjoying AHDF news and alerts here at

Today has been a very exhausting and trying day. I won't go into all the details, they don't really matter, but let's just say I wasn't in the best mood. Yes, I got up on the right side of the bed and this morning's emails made it look like today was going to be a good day, but it steadily got worse. Late in the day someone asked me a question and it made me stop and think. Their question was are there too many horse groups out there?

My initial response in my bad mood was, yes there are and too many people out there trying to grab the spotlight. But, after I thought about it, my initial response was wrong. I say there can't be too many groups. Now, let me clarify things and say we never were talking about rescues. We all know that there can't be too many good reputable horse rescues, not because the US has a terrible horse population problem, but because there are lots of bad people out there. There are also good people who don't know how to take care of horses or that get themselves in over their head.

Anyway, there are a number of groups out there working on horse issues. You have the HSUS, AWI (SAPL), The Fund for Horses, AHDF and there may be more that I can't think of at the moment. Usually to get things done everyone gets behind a single large group and ban together to accomplish their joint goals. But each one of these groups have different methods of trying to accomplish the goal of protecting horses. One isn't better than the other, and one isn't worse than the other, they are just different. Let's look for a moment at the issue of horse slaughter and the differences. HSUS has a paid staff to lobby for the issue. They go on a regular schedule to meet with select Senators and Congressmen. The Fund for Horses has hired some paid lobbyists to do the same thing. We ask our members to make calls and send letters when needed and to set up appointments for the staff to go to lobby. These methods may look similar, but they aren't. People looking for a group to support have a wider choice and if they don't like something one is doing, they can go to another. They don't have to sit around and get angry about something they don't like, they can just change groups. Choices are good.

Also, with more groups working on an issue the more word gets out. The more word gets out the more people that get involved. I remember when I first heard about horse slaughter, it wasn't talked about in the media at all and even those working the issue didn't have much information. Trying to tell people about it was difficult because people thought you were making things up. Now the media is covering it, at least some, and people don't think you are telling tall tales any more. Our efforts are more sophisticated and we have lots of eye-witness accounts and videos. There are even books out that talk about horse slaughter. That is due to the fact that so many groups are working on the issue and the public is becoming more and more aware. People are getting informed and getting involved and that's a good thing. The media says that in this primary season there are more first time voters than ever before. I like to think that it's because people are taking our government seriously because of issues like those we are presenting.

I think that each group adds something and helps the other, even if that isn't their intent. No one group is responsible for adding a co-sponsor or getting the bill passed in the House last session. it is because of each groups' varied efforts, but most of all it is because of the PEOPLE who support the groups. The HSUS and AWI wouldn't be well funded if it weren't for those donations they get from the average person. The AHDF wouldn't be effective if it weren't for our members. It is the people who move the groups forward and advance the issues. It is because of the person reading this, even if your efforts only extend to sending a small donation.

So, are there too many horse organizations? Heck no!