Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Mouths That Roared

Dakota, here, is a tad skeptical.  He's been following the Faux Rescue/Rescue Redux situation and can't get over how the likes of us wound up in charge of the likes of him.  The same humans who think a horse needs to be protected from insects with outlandish replicas of hair that would grow naturally on their heads if only we would get past the "but his head looks so much prettier and more refined naked!" thing, those same humans believe they can look into a horse's eyes and see a sad and intense longing for a human-directed existence. Just how self-absorbed and insane are we?

I'll tell you!  We are so sucked up into our own heads that we believe that anyone who yells loudly enough deserves to have money shoved at them.  We believe in the Rescue Fairy that can tap her magic wand on a barn built for 20 and make room for 40 more.  Every week.  For months.  We believe that anyone who claims to be an Angel actually is one.  We clapped for Tinkerbell, you know, so what's the diff?

But all is not lost for us two-legged, love-starved idiots.  Across the board stories are beginning to surface.  Fugly Horse has a doozy today!  Suddenly dealers' (sorry, Angels, but anyone who gets a free horse and resells it for profit, and anyone who makes a deal with a devil we all know, is a dealer) names are starting to recycle as quickly as the horses they've been passing around like hot potatoes.  And those names are looking really good hooked up with each other and with other names like Beltex and Bravo.

How many horses went to slaughter while the Rescues were busy pouring money into brokers' pockets?  How many perfectly good--FREE--horses in need were turned away while the Big Name rescuers pipelined donors' money from Paypal to the kill buyers?  If anyone has a number, this would be the time to share it.  Why did a certain rescuer turn away a free horse in need whose owner had passed away then turn around and buy a bunch of horses out of the "kill pen" with money she didn't have, expecting donors to step up and fix the problem as she fussed and fumed and blew her horn loudly when her chest got sore from the beating she was giving it?  Why did horses die in quarantine when they'd been judged healthy prior to "rescue"?  Why did horses go to a quarantine facility banned by the state vet from taking horses for that purpose?

Why are horses shipping all over the country from one little penny-ante auction in the second-smallest state in the Union?  Don't other states have horses?  What's so special about these?  And why, when threads are posted asking for adopters to stand up and tell how wonderfully their feedlot horses are doing, do only a handful of folks respond?   Where are all the horses?

A couple of very nervous people are stepping up to try to get the ball rolling and right the wrongs that have been done.  They're scared.  They fear repercussions.  They fear banishment from the Kingdom.  They fear getting even more deeply involved in the dirtiest little secret in the horse world. And it is that.  It's dirty and disgusting and appalling and reprehensible.  The evil doesn't lie in the money being made.  Horses are a money-sucking industry, and it's not realistic to expect no one to make a profit.  The evil is in the lies and deception and the closed loop of horses and donated money circling endlessly down an invisible drain.

Shape up, people!  Don't beg for money to pay for horses then months later beg for more money to rehome the same horses everyone already thought were safe.  And if you're going to do that because you just really are that bad, don't pretend that what you're doing now is someone unrelated to what you did before and to the bad decisions you made.  Seems as if we have a whole bunch of do-good-ers doing good after the fact by actually doing what they said they'd already done.  What a business, rescuing the horses you've already rescued!

I'm betting there's a whole new industry about to grow out of this.  The Scamiverse is expanding.  Watch your wallets, folks!  I don't think the bottom feeders are done with us yet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Little Late to the Dance

First, let me remind all of my faithful reader (yes, there's only one and I'm okay with that) that the Race at Far Hills is coming again, as it does every year, in October.  This year it's on the 23rd.  The proceeds, as always, go to the support of the Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center, Somerset, NJ.  If you want tickets, check the Far Hills Race organization website for locations where they'll be sold in advance, or buy them at a higher price at the gate.  A better time or a better cause can't possibly exists on this plane of existence. 

Moving right along....

The main focus of today's rant is the terrible, awful, ridiculous crap that's afoot in the horse world right now.  I'd love to jump the gun and give names and numbers so that posses can be formed to stone the evildoers, but it's not time yet.  Eventually, but not yet.

I can, however, talk in general terms about the fact that the horse world has stepped beyond its usual chaotic state (any sport involving farm animals is going to have its days of the totally bizarre) into lunacy.  It was a long stride.  We picked up our foot back in November of '09, and it's still hesitating in mid-air as I type, but the end appears to be in sight.  Once the Kool Aid drinkers among us finally give up the ghost and shed their disbelief, we can once again stand firm on the shifting ground that will always underlie the horse industry.

We have among our cast of characters scam artists and frauds that would bring the Sopranos to their knees in amazement at their brazenness.  We have liars and hoarders and cheats and flat-out evil people who have been using  classic brain-washing techniques to sap money, time, energy and emotional currency from the weakest of us.  Though some of these folks will be taken to task legally and with great flair by the Powers That Be (I can hear them champing at the bit from here thanks to a little birdie who whispers now and then), there has to be a broader approach to settling the horse industry's problems. 

Let's start with the actual definition of Brain Washing and an explanation of Memetics. 

One's thoughts can be controlled in several ways.  Advertising is well aware of this.  The most common method used is testimonials.  Have a respected person talk publicly about how wonderful Company X's widgets are, and the next thing you know, the stores can't order them fast enough and the stock price goes through the roof.  But guilt induction is a close second and a method in use throughout the horse world, especially in the Faux Rescue neighborhood.  What?  You don't want to SAVE THE BABIES?  You won't send money to total strangers who have no intention of accounting for their use thereof or where they might be putting the horses they're pretending to rescue?  Are you SICK?  Are you the DEVIL?  Can you SLEEP at night with images of emaciated, dead carcasses floating behind your eyeballs?  Oh, you can?  Sorry...wrong number.

Once the advertisers have had their way with our brains (and this includes all forms of adverts from Hanes underwear to the latest religious cult), the science of Memetics explains the next step.  Memes, otherwise known as "thought contagion", are a flu-like disease of epic proportions.  You can catch a meme from your kids, your neighbors, TV commentators...anyone you are likely to listen to.  It can be (and often is) fatal.  You don't need to believe.  The meme takes on a life of its own and it will OWN your brain in a trice without any effort on your part. 

The "you can never be too thin or own too many silk blouses" meme is one of my faves.  It's the thought germ behind most eating disorders and the silly self-indulgence that got us into the economic straits we find ourselves in right now.  Hear it often enough and from the right sources, and it becomes truth.  This is what my main man, Stephen Colbert, calls "Truthiness".  Say it with conviction, and it's true. 

So there we sat, we Horse People, and watched the memes spring to life and eat our brains.  We sent money to people we didn't know.  We pretended to understand numbers, plans, and reports that actually made little or no sense in full Emperor's New Clothes style.  And we got sucker-punched. 

The punching isn't over yet.  In the not-too-distant future the facts will be revealed and the horse biz will take a little spin on its axis.  Oh, it's not going to change in any huge way.  Horse dealers, horse thieves, and asshats trying to make a living at the expense of horses and the sense of joy and freedom they engender in the horse lover have and always will be a part of our society.  And they're not limited to horses.  But those are the ones I'm talking about. 

Keep watching.  The business needs a shakedown, and hopefully from the ashes will rise some saner approach to breeding, owning, caring for and seeing horses to a humane end.