Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Open Invitation to the AQHA

Habitat for Horses

We Need To Talk
A Senator of a certain state, who will remain anonymous, challenged me to sit down with some of the decision makers in the slaughter industry and try to work things out. “There is an amazing amount of distrust between you folks,” he said, “and both of you are coming to me with a ton of facts that completely oppose each other. Is there any possibility that you could work together to find a solution?”
I would like nothing better. A big, round table, coffee cups filled, notepads ready, we could seriously discuss the future of thousands of horses. Is that a possible scenario? Would it be possible to bring the pro and anti slaughter forces together in a manner that would actually lead to a few resolutions that would be acceptable to each other and good for the horses?
There would need to be a moderator, someone unbiased and skilled at negotiations, to lead the discussion, understand the objections and guide us to conclusion. Plus there would be rules, and that would be the difficult part.
Make it about money
No lies. Make it about money, because we all know that’s the bottom line. No “starving horses wandering the streets” or “people are abandoning horses.” Slaughterhouses don’t take starved horses and there are strict laws against abandoning horses. Both of those are law enforcement issues.
We’d need to discuss the issue of drugs, because the problem exist despite the insistence of those who say it doesn’t. The EU already set the regulations; American horses are filled with banned drugs. There is an obvious problem. Ignoring the issue doesn’t make it go away.
Over production of foals. We all know it happens and we know there are incentives to promote foal production. Logic says that it’s a lot easier to raise and sell one yearling for $5,000 than it is to raise 10 for $500 each. That’s the basis of quality control and pricing in any market.
Value in the product – I’ve never seen a car company complain that there are too many unwanted cars on the road while trying to maintain a high value in the cars they sell. That’s kind of insane. Nor have I witnessed anyone actually wandering around trying to count “unwanted” horses. Again, that relates back to the first rule – no lies.
Your goal is to maintain and possibly increase horse slaughter. Our goal is to bring it to an end. Is there a middle point, a place where both parties feel that gains can be made, or a compromise found that is a better place than the way it exist now?
The world is filled with tension: Iraq and Israel, China and Formosa, the Arab Spring, Republicans and Democrats. Nothing is resolved unless people talk. Compromise doesn’t mean that one person talks until the other either gives in or gives up. It involves meeting half way and finding solutions that both parties, while not fully satisfied, can accept.
That’s far better than we are doing now. I’ve witnessed the hatred, the raw anger of both sides of this issue. It’s getting worse than ever, yet no one it willing to talk it out.
I know there are people you don’t want at the table, just as there are those we can’t accept. I’m not willing to listen to the lies, just as you are not willing to listen to war stories about the past. Maybe there is no mutually agreeable solution, but at least we can both say we tried, then we can move on from there.
Here’s your invitation:  At the suggestion of Senator Anonymous, I’m asking you to open up a channel of communications to start the process. Send me an email and let’s set it up.
I’m here and waiting.
Jerry Finch

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