5/19/14

Another Important Message From John Holland - President of the Equine Welfare Alliance - on Attacks in Social Media

This was first published on the EWA Newsletter which can be seen online here.

This post will be my only comment on the unfortunate situation that only serves to demonstrate how quickly some can forget that their stated goal was to help horses - something this ugly infighting does not accomplish. To say I'm shocked and disappointed would be quite the understatement. 

For the past week, various Facebook pages have been full of wild claims and speculation regarding the resignation of an EWA board member. We have not commented on this resignation because it is our policy, like every reputable organization, to keep board matters confidential.



We have worked very hard to become a respected organization that provides accurate information in an unemotional context. This is the reason that we can now be accepted as a source at legal proceedings, in legislative hearings and by the press.



We have therefore stated only that it is against our policy to become involved in any way with public attacks on other animal welfare organizations or in supporting them against such attacks. It is our position that these attacks, justified or not, serve only to undermine the credibility of our entire movement.



We have repeatedly been asked whether the requested resignation was the result of our supporting AC4H. No, it was not, nor did it involve a single incident.



Now that I have been personally attacked for over a week, I have many wonderful examples of why this sort of Facebook vigilantism is so destructive to the image of our movement and to its cohesiveness. People have speculated wildly and recklessly about a situation of which they know absolutely nothing. They have been willing to believe that I would suddenly, and with no justification, ask for the resignation of a board member and then offered completely irrelevant material as proof.



For example, a photo of me standing with Christy Sheidy was offered as proof that I support her. A few posts later someone recognized that the picture was from a 2008 anti-slaughter conference in Washington, and was one of dozens of pictures of me and other participants standing together. So the image proved only that Christy Sheidy and I had both taken the time and effort to attend an anti-slaughter conference.



Furthermore, publicly calling people names like Crusty Sheidy or Christy Shady is so adolescent as to make me cringe. We do not need this kind of discourse at any level, against anyone, and to imagine that it somehow helps the horses is delusional.



The posting of a public notice of a tax lien was given as the reason for dismissal.  Posting public documents is acceptable and commonplace. However, I might mention that it was posted with a comment stating that it proved AC4H had not declared income from its broker program - a comment intended to invite controversy. That comment turned out not to be true and is typical of the kind of thing that makes people question the accuracy of other information being provided.  Still, it was far from the reason for this entire debacle.



Let me put it bluntly. This kind of war is moronic and of utterly no help to the horses at all. While a river of horses go over the borders, countless hours are being wasted on a McCarthyesque witch hunt to see if this person or that supports an operation that is already under investigation by authorities and all but totally defunct. People I have known and worked with for years have somehow lost all reason and joined in this blood sport without asking "What is to be gained and what could be lost?"



I do see where some people have injected interesting facts such as the point that I was one of the first people to question whether it wouldn't be better to buy horses by bidding against kill buyers rather than buying them from kill buyers and thus putting money in their pockets.



But let me suggest we think deeper. We all regard the kill buyers with disdain, but even if we bought every horse out from under them at auction we would still be stuck with the problem because it would merely enrich those doing the over-breeding and dumping the horses! We can't rescue our way out of slaughter folks.



Finally, I must point out that this former board member has decided to divulge and embellish confidential board discussions in hopes that it would embarrass EWA and add to her support. That is both unethical and illegal, and speaks to the individual's understanding of the duties of a board of directors.



Now having read this, each of you are free to go back to banging out useless flaming posts in hopes of collecting "likes" (whatever they are worth) or working with us to end the slaughter and abuse of American horses. Which will it be?



John Holland
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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra