March 06, 2015
Recently there has been a lot of talk, lobbying and pleading by many people (too many to name) in order to stop another "ride your horse on the beach" business opening up in Harbor Island. Perhaps most the most important thing to point out is that this opposition is not based on politics, social standing, wealth, race, education or nationality, though some people would like you to believe it is. The only thing that really matters here is the well-being of five horses, who may well be shipped over to Harbor Island, in the next few days, to face a miserable life on an island unable to sustain them.
In 2011 the Bahamas Humane Society had to rescue horses from the very same island. The five rescued horses were starving, they were dehydrated, their teeth and hooves were in terrible condition, they had been seriously neglected.
In spite of everybody's best efforts three of the five died. It is of little interest to me if any person concerned in such an operation is a green alien from planet Zog in the outer galaxy or a Bahamian. It is of little interest to me that he or she does or does not like me and the BHS. I do not care what color he or she is, or I am. Right is right and wrong is wrong.
Harbour Island is a small island community. There are no suitable stables on the island, no turn out pastures, there are not enough tourists wanting to "ride along a pristine pink beach" to bring in the money needed to care for a horse, or in this case five horses, properly. Horses need food, water, worming, their teeth need floating, their hooves need care. This ALL costs serious money - money that will not be there.
Horses need proper shelter, shelter that can withstand a hurricane (should we be unfortunate to get hit this year or next). Horses get sick. Where is the vet in Harbour island? Vets cost money. It is impossible for five horses to be operated successfully on Harbour Island without the horses suffering unnecessarily. It has happened once, it will happen again.
Why does our government appear willing to sit back and allow a disaster to take place where there will be very bad publicity for the Bahamas when people see what an uncaring country we are? Let's remember the only reason anybody paid any attention to the plight of the previous set of horses because the contestants of Miss Universe were taken over to have that "unique" experience of riding horses on pink beaches and were so horrified at the condition of the animals that they returned to Nassau shocked and complained. So, in our great wisdom, we will let this happen all over again?
That was a huge embarrassment to all representatives of the Bahamas government when it happened. Much of what happens to horses in the Bahamas is not intentional cruelty, though the animal victims experience cruelty - it is ignorance. People do not have a clue how to care for horses, they are not experienced. In the Bahamas you shovel a pile of horse manure and you instantly become an expert stable hand. More nonsense.
The Bahamas Humane Society spends it's time "cleaning up" other people's equine mistakes. After the Harbor island disaster in 2011 there was the South Eleuthera disaster: seven horses starving to death, no water, no food, no care. In their extreme wisdom government issued them permits, to live where there was no shelter, running water, no pasture. Nothing.
The BHS saved them too, all at considerable expense, none of which was borne by the government. The BHS is not a "clean up" organization. We wish to stop the suffering before it happens. I appeal to the members of government with the influence and wisdom to listen: please take our advice, save us all the time, money and effort and save these poor animals a life of misery.
- Kim Victoria Aranha
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