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 Should SHS Have a Welfare Code of Ethics? View next topic
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RutlandH2O
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Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 2:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In 2005 I acquired a well-bred, winning Shire mare that was in foal to one of the UK's super premium Shire stallions. Her colt foal was sold, at weaning. Several months later, the colt was sent to a farm in Anglesey, otherwise known as the largest Shire horse farm in the UK. I had feelings of unease about the fate of this youngster, but was assured he would be well cared for.

This morning I read an article about the farm and how the authorities had removed 20 odd horses from the premises. Many dead and dying horses were found on this farm, despite lengthy urging from the public for the RSPCA, the police, and other officials to get involved. The owner of these horses is a SHS member.

A couple of years ago, there was a report of a desperate situation on the Welsh border with Worcestershire, involving a significant number of Shire horses in grave condition, languishing in mud and barbed wire without food or water in winter conditions. The owner is a SHS member.

Then, a SHS breeder, council member, and exhibitor, along with his sons, one of whom is a SHS judge, were done for cruelty to one or more of their horses. I know, personally, that these people have exported horses in appalling condition with shocking feet.

My point? Where is the SHS in all of these instances? There are so many "good ole boys" running the society that there appears to be a culture of do- as-I-say-not-as-I-do within their ranks. I've been involved in one other equine society, and several canine breed clubs. They all have codes of ethics to which all members must subscribe. In the absence of a member's commitment to the code, his/her membership is terminated, along with any privileges gleaned over time. Some people believe that change has to come from within. While that is an admirable goal, the fact remains that if nothing is done to correct unconscionable behaviour, what's the point of the Society? True, SHS is there to "promote" the Shire horse, register "approved" stock in the stud book, and organise and stage the largest Shire horse show in the world. To be precise, who are the beneficiaries of the aforementioned? More often than not, it's the good ole boys. Don't mistake my words: their horses are produced and shown exquisitely. Watching the culmination of hours, no years, of practice and artistry, is thrilling in the extreme. BUT, when welfare and honesty are compromised behind the scenes (and I won't even go into the travesty that is the registration of a roan Shire stallion as grey, defying all the rules of colour genetics), one must ask, what is the point of the SHS?
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Lizzy
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Joined: 25 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 1:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I think there are a lot of us out there who fundamentally agree with you. Have you contacted the SHS with your concerns?
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RutlandH2O
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Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 10:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Lizzy: I have been so angry, recently, that I have purposely kept a lid on my feelings. The only action I have taken is to withhold my membership renewal. Finding out about this latest horror story has only intensified my anger and outrage. SHS just doesn't want to know.
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Lizzy
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Joined: 25 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 2:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

There are many people disillusioned with the Society at the moment for a number of reasons. I stopped being a member some years ago because I felt my membership money would be better used by our local heavy horse Association. They are smaller, friendlier, more open to views of members and genuinely have an interest in heavies. Maybe that is the way to go for others, i.e. vote with your feet. It is such a shame that we feel like this though.
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