Monday, March 16, 2009

And this is why people are scared to donate horses

So I've gotten a million e-mails about how Virginia Polytechnic is auctioning off some poor 18 year old Arabian gelding on He's up to $190 right now so hopefully he'll be out of the price range of Mr. Kill Buyer by the time the auction closes in 8 hours, but I don't blame people for being annoyed.

The horse's name is EZ Season Ticket and they are selling him as sound. Apparently they have been using him for some kind of nutritional research and now they are done with him.

I've worked at a post-secondary school and have some idea about how they run. There is a procedure for everything, clearly written down in manuals and reviewed with the lawyers. Is it really that hard to come up with a procedure like a rescue uses to find a home for a horse, complete with screening and a site visit? It's not tough to find this information online - I've made sure of that. As have others. Why do we continually see these horses dumped via means that make it impossible to check if the home is appropriate?

Apparently someone named Sheri Devouassoux competed him. I found a way to contact her in about 30 seconds, but I see from COTH that someone is already doing that - but hey, the auction ends in 8 hours. I'd like to see the other owners contacted and certainly the breeder if they are still around.

(Really, is anybody here going to be annoyed if you get a phone call asking you if you'd like to help a former horse? I'd be delighted, because even if I wasn't in a position to help, that phone call would give me the opportunity to get involved and try to find someone who could.)

If you know enough about horses to do research on them, shouldn't you be equally responsible for knowing enough about them to find them a good home when the research is over? Isn't that part of responsible science? If you want to look like you're a moral step above those lovely cosmetics companies that spray crap into animals' eyes and kill them when they're done with them (google "Draize tests" at your own risk), you'd better sit down and write up a more enlightened policy for rehoming your research animals.

P.S. Just remember - read your contract. NEVER assume that any school, program, etc. is taking your horse "forever." It is up to YOU to read the contract and write in a provision that the horse must be returned to you if no longer needed - and then YOU need to follow up regularly and ensure your horse is still there and doing well, because if people reliably read and referred to the contracts they sign, there would not be so many lawsuits!