Clarifying the horse rescue story
I would like to clarify the context and intent of my e-mail referred to in a recent article about Aspen Valley Horse Rescue (AVHR). To start though, I would like say that I support the current efforts of AVHR, and in no way intended to undermine their work or the integrity of their organization.
Over the past five weeks, several equine veterinarians in the Roaring Fork Valley have been asked to assist with the health care of former PMU mares and foals that were being rescued from slaughter. Subsequent to and independent of these requests, some of us learned from credible sources of situations across the country where horse owners and well-meaning rescue organizations were misled regarding the rescue status of former PMU horses, as well as being overcharged for the animals they were rescuing. As veterinarians, horse lovers, and members of the community, we were concerned about this potential deception, but details were lacking. Our phone conversations, and the intent of my e-mail referred to in your article (which was sent only to a small number of equine veterinarians), was to initiate a group discussion among ourselves on these topics and gather more details. Our goal was to then formulate unified recommendations to help our clients and insure the health and well-being of these new horses to our valley.
I think The Aspen Times article is a fair and balanced summary of the situation as it existed when published on Nov. 5. As it states, no one is accusing AVHR of participating in a scam. Numerous conversations and correspondence since the e-mail became public have convinced me that Aspen Valley Horse Rescue is aware of the potential for abuse and deception in this area, and is taking effective actions to prevent unethical and fraudulent trafficking of these horses. As Mary Bright says, their group has learned more about the ranches they are dealing with, and they are indeed working more effectively to “prevent ranchers from conducting irresponsible breeding.”
I applaud these efforts, and apologize for any misinterpretation of my e-mail that resulted from it getting outside the circle for which it was intended. I have seen many of the new arrivals, and they are quite a nice-looking group of horses. Readers should check out the AVHR website (http://www.aspenvalleyhorserescue.org/) to see the horses and get more information.
We wish AVHR the best in their efforts to place these horses in good homes. Equine veterinarians in the valley are continuing to offer recommendations and health care for these horses at the request of generous clients who have adopted them, as well as offer assistance to AVHR for animals still in need of a permanent home.
Thomas C. Bohanon, DVM, MS
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
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