Trot On! New Years Resolutions for Horse Advocates

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horse and fireworksWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

I’m assuming that you,  dear reader,  have already made your New Year’s Resolutions.  Did you know that the average person breaks them after about one month? Yeah, all new year’s resolutions have the specter of failure hanging over them.  Maybe I’m too late and you’ve already broken them?  Hopefully not,  but if you’re like me,  the only thing broken is perhaps your wallet……..However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making resolutions in the first place because apparently people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than the people who don’t.

Of course,  resolutions to ride more outside, take up a new discipline, make horse-keeping safer, or to advocate for horses  are resolutions that may be easier to keep throughout the year than the traditional ones to lose weight.

Steven Covey once said “Begin with the end in mind.”  Of course,  we’re not only discussing the year 2013 but we’re also looking  at the strong possibility of an end to the EU importation of horsemeat in about six months.  Ending slaughter requires that everyone involved in the equine industry work together to create awareness about and rejection of horse slaughter.  It’s also about enjoying our love of horses,  keeping them and us happy and safe, and proactively create awareness and finding solutions.  So here’s a few suggestions to implement,  in case you’ve already ditched your previous resolutions,  or you’re really tardy like me and haven’t gotten around to thinking about it yet!

  1. Scout locations for a Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)  donation box (assuming you’re Canadian of course).  These could be tack shops,  feed stores,  anyplace where you might be a customer who is able to demonstrate the value of LIVE horses to the community.

  2. Get 25 signatures on Bill C-322 Petition – gives provides a good opportunity to have informal discussion with barn mates.  The corresponding Bills in the US are in the process of being re-introduced,  so please go to PopVox and click the re-introduce button for both S-1176 and HR-2966.

  3. Create a disaster recovery plan for your barn.  Whether your facility houses two 199425089719477636_vRb7SrGN_chorses or 20, you should have an evacuation plan for every conceivable emergency, from barn fires to high wind events such as tornadoes. Practice an evacuation drill.  Everyone needs disaster preparedness, which will take care of your barn residents, and business preparedness, which includes resumption/contingency planning if you operate a for-profit business. From where will you source hay if your supply is suddenly wiped out?  Even if your farm is a hobby, it is important to plan for getting the doors open again. Write these plans down and then practice them. In general, one plan can be applied to many scenarios, helping to focus your reactions to the danger. Being proactive will minimize the amount of time and expense to bring your operation back “online” while preserving your sanity,  sourcing new supplies,  and making your animals safer. It’s also helpful to incorporate the disaster preparedness procedures into your daily routine so it becomes habit.

  4. Dispose of sharps and old wormer tubes properly – if you don’t use an actual sharps disposal container,  use a coffee can with a lid and make sure everyone in the barn knows where it is.   There’s nothing scarier or more offputting than reaching into the garbage and getting stuck on a needle.

  5. Create an emergency first-aid kit for your horse – Remember that a first-aid kit is only useful in an emergency if it is right where you need it. You might want to put together more than one kit-one for the barn, one for the trailer and a small kit to take with you on the trails. A well-stocked equine first-aid kit is a major investment. In reality, most horse owners will already have at least some of the required content.  The end result will be a first-aid kit that, one day, may be worth its weight in gold. The peace of mind it provides may prove just as valuable.

  6. Write down your veterinarian’s phone number on all first aid kits too.  And keep veterinarian and emergency numbers attached to your saddle with your horse’s name on it.  Get the info plasticized on a card and attach it with a tie wrap. Extremely valuable if trail riding and in a fanny pack in case you and your horse get separated.  If your horse is found injured – the horse’s name and the veterinarian’s contact info could save their life.

  7. Make sure you have a way to properly identify your horse,  whether by DNA,  freezebrand,  or microchip.  Take a set of current photos showing identifying features.

  8. Make your own hay thermometer and check the temperature of your hay regularly.  Do not use glass thermometers as they can break and shatter inside a square or round bale.

  9. Buy a multi-tool for trail riders – this should contain a hoof pick and wire cutters  – keep it in a fanny pack or saddle bag along with a whistle and phone.

  10. Order a magnetic anti-slaughter statement for your car for $18 plus shipping (Canadian orders only)  – Contact Charlotte Uhrich at charlotteauhrich@gmail.com.  Now go drive everywhere with it!

  11. Speak to your equine veterinarian about horse slaughter if you have not already – veterinarians should put animal welfare at the top of their list of priorities, not relegate it to an also-ran concern.

  12. Order anti-slaughter postcards from the Postcard Posse (US)

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  13. Get a Twitter account and let the various levels of government know how you feel about horse slaughter.  Americans can tweet Congress,  Canadians can tweet their MPs  and Senators and comment on their blogs.  You can also send private (direct) message on Twitter as well.  Yes, it is very effective in reaching people quickly and directly because the recipient receives an email (or a tweet-text on their phone) for every direct message. Try to tweet during high volume times.

  14. Protect your tack investment – inhibit mold and mildew in your tack room.

  15. We’re about to see Pinterest use among nonprofit organizations explode. Follow animal welfare  groups or individuals on Pinterest, such as Jane Velez Mitchell.  Share photos  and create an album of rescued horses, but don’t post graphic pics.  Pinterest can also be used for calling out a business that abuses animals. Anyone who went to SeaWorld’s Pinterest page a few months ago saw animal advocates’ calls to release orca Tilikum and the other prisoners to a marine sanctuary, which was not quite what SeaWorld was expecting to see when they went to their Pinterest page!

  16. Scan local ads offering free or cheap horses – communicate politely by sending a message advising the seller to be cautious and aware of kill buyers who may manipulate them.

  17. If you suspect or know of illegal activity by killbuyers or the BLM – you can be part of the solution by providing confidential information.  In Canada,  Whistleblowers are invited to confidentially contact the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition regarding violations occurring during horse slaughter or transport to slaughter via email at info@defendhorsescanada.org or via web form.  In the US please contact the Equine Welfare Alliance.

  18. Keep in touch with legislators on Facebook –  give them feedback – positive or negative.

  19. Consider joining a special task force and work on projects with some of your Facebook friends.  Horses need the benefit of more collaboration than ever before if we are to find alternatives to slaughter and placements for horses.

  20. Wear your heart on your sleeve.  Order your CHDC drinkwear or clothing at Cafepress and truly become a walking billboard.  Bumper Stickers and License plate holders are also available.  Download CHDC flyers and use them to engage barnmates in conversation,  or ask to leave them in tack and feed supply stores.

Happy Trails!

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

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About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic (but not crazy) vegetarian, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - http://iwl.me/ Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

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