Sometimes you have to choose between personal principles and sympathetic understanding. For example, as a public personality, I have deliberately chosen to decline invitations to do political fundraisers. Although I have strong opinions, I leave those national issues to pundits with thicker skin. Once I had a request to make a commercial for a lady running for office. I explained politely for the reasons stated, that I wasn’t comfortable doing politics. “Fine,” she said, “Here’s what I want you to say…” It was my mother-in-law. Of course I made the commercial! I have had occasion to decline paying jobs to be on programs where I would have had to be in the company of individuals whose amblings, behavior, or writings, I find obnoxious. Why put myself through the stress?
Last month I received a package in the mail from a publishing company. They had sent me a children’s book to look over, maybe to write a blurb or mention in my column, website or radio program. As a rule, I don’t often have the time to read all the books or listen to all the CDs I receive. I may skim them quickly, but I rarely get a blurb or a forward written.
I thought I recognized the author’s name or the book idea. I vaguely remembered a phone call, but it was a nice kid’s book that was well illustrated. The short story was about a young girl finding an abandoned horse becoming concerned, and eventually getting it in a horse-rescue facility. It was well done, an honest heart-felt story that didn’t get mushy and was realistic about the problem of abandoned horses. It was better than I expected. Then I looked at the last page. It listed organizations to contact for more information about horse neglect, rescue and therapy. Staring up at me like an obscene gesture in a passing car window was listed the Humane Society of the United States.
I wrote back to the publisher expressing my regret that I would not be able to pass along or recommend the book because of their association with HSUS. A group that has such a poisoned reputation in the horse world among so many veterinarians, horse raisers, trainers, cowboys, auction operators, trail riders, packers, breeders, performance and show people, not to mention many horse-related associations. In large part because they bear a chunk of the responsibility for the tragedy of animal suffering and abandonment that has befallen the magnificent equine. They were at the front of the ill-fated closure of horse slaughter plants, which severely diminished the value of all horses.
HSUS is the Rod Blagojevich of the horse world.
I admit I didn’t ponder long on my decision, because of my familiarity with HSUS. I do feel sympathy for the author and artist. They mean well and are genuine in their concern for the problem. But they are simply innocent of the HSUS that continues to be exposed for its less-than-honest portrayal of itself as a benign fundraiser that cares for abandoned or abused horses. The publisher fell in with bad companions and will be judged thereby. PD