I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about goals for GERL. Not that we’re not still holding our course on all the things that we’ve been doing, but I was thinking about GERL with relation to our recent partnership with the Georgia Horse Council.
GERL has been promoting our Equine Get Well Plan for seven years now. Except for the number of horses we have castrated through our two castration programs, I’ve recently found myself frustrated with the lack of progress in the other areas of the Plan. You may remember them, but as a reminder, the 5 steps of the plan are: castrate, prosecute, educate, disposition and financial. We continue to educate law enforcement concerning equine laws and handling, but we aren’t doing a whole of lot educating, otherwise. We seldom get invited to speak to 4H or school clubs, anymore. Consequently, we have very few young members. That bothers me a good bit.
I think about the future of GERL and our State Equine Program that have so harmoniously worked together in an unofficial partnership for 26 years. It is certain that, without GERL’s funding of this program, it would not have survived and been able to continue to intervene on behalf of many horses in desperate circumstances. The need for this program is more important than ever in this day when so many horses are dying at the hands of owners who are financially unable to afford them. I have tried many times to come up with a platform to help get the message out about our unwanted horse problems, but it has been an uphill task. Most people are not aware of the plight of the unwanted horse today. The other half don’t care and consider it a rescue problem. I have spoken to multiple organizations with an interest in equine welfare, both in and outside of Georgia. I introduce them to, and encourage them to adopt our Equine Get Well Plan. I am always proud to underscore the importance of GERL’s Castration Program which has been responsible for the castration of more than 900 stallions over the past 7 years. That’s quite impressive, don’t you think? If only other organizations would realize the impact of what GERL is accomplishing by ultimately reducing the number of foals born into a world with an already serious overabundance of equine. I vigorously encourage each of them to create such a program for their organization.
For the past few years, I have served as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Agriculture Commodity Commission for Equine (ACCE). Their mission is to educate, promote and research Georgia’s equine industry. Incidentally, it is this Committee which decides how the monies from the very popular equine license plate are spent. Each year, the bulk of the money goes to support their “Youth Day at the Capital” project. I have given my best “dog and pony” show to this group at least 2 times over the past several years; educating them concerning the seriousness of our unwanted horse problem and explaining what GERL is doing to alleviate them. I have begged them to target at least part of their education efforts toward awareness of the horse problems in our state and to promote Georgia’s regulatory equine program. My pleas have fallen upon deaf ears. The Committee seems to feel that this is a topic about which they need not be concerned. I don’t understand. I am frustrated. I now realize that the ACCE is not going to change their way of thinking. Thus, I have resigned and will spend my time promoting the mission and programs of GERL, about which I am passionate.
With the partnership between GERL and the Georgia Horse Council (GHC) recently coming to fruition, I feel like a door has opened. I also recognize a “God wink” when I see it. Here is the perfect platform for me to use to get the word out about the plight of the unwanted horse and to promote the GERL Equine Get Well Plan. I have tunnel vision when it comes to this goal and let me say this about that, I’m also in it for the long haul! Come and join us!
Georgia Equine Rescue League
P.O. Box 328
Bethelhem, Ga 30520
To report a case of horse abuse, call the
Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Division
Monday – Friday | 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
404-656-3713 or 800-282-5852