Following the withdrawal of the resolution that would have rescinded the Board’s slaughter endorsement, several Directors expressed support for a “stand alone” resolution regarding the slaughter issue. In other words, they would be more likely to consider a resolution that 1.) did not attempt to ‘rescind’ a Board motion, and 2.) was worded to adopt a neutral position regarding reestablishment of US horse slaughter plants.
In preparation for the April 2011 Board of Director’s meeting another resolution, this time using the same wording as the American Horse Council, was drawn up and submitted to the Board. It read as follows:
Whereas, the Arabian Horse Association has individual members both supporting and opposing a federal legislative ban on horse slaughter, and
Whereas, the American Horse Council has adopted a neutral position in recognition of their member organizations and individuals who hold opposing views,
Therefore, Be It Moved that the Arabian Horse Association hold no official position regarding the reestablishment of equine slaughter facilities in the United States.
In addition, copies of several hundred signatures and comments from members of the Arabian Horse Association supporting this resolution were submitted to each Director prior to their vote.
Yet despite the members input, and in another stunning display of utter disregard for the membership, the Mission Statement of the Association, and the Arabian Horse, the Board of Directors voted to defeat this motion in favor of Lance Walter’s original directive to support the slaughter of our Arabian horses and others.
The following is a letter from one of the Directors, from their Regional newsletter, attempting to explain why the Board voted against a ‘neutral’ position. (spelling is not changed)
Our response in RED:
“One of the last issues discussed was the issue of the Equine Slaughter. This issue was brough forth by a motion made by Dick Reed asking that AHA board change their previous position to that of a “neutral position” on equine slaughter. This was a very hard and emotional issue to discuss. I think “ALL” board of directors felt that a neutral position was favorable since every member of AHA has a position one way or the other regarding this issue.“
??? If true, this simply reflects a disappointing lack of courage and conviction by the board members who ‘felt’ this way, but did not vote accordingly. The public perception is that the original Board members who approved this outrageous slaughter endorsement do not want to appear as though they were made to “back down” on this issue and the new directors, wanting to remain in the good graces of Mr Walters, lacked the fortitude to challenge his position.
“We spent much time on this and many directors spoke to the issue. We revisited the initial position drafted by Debbie Cain to the BOD in May of 2009. I’m copying Debbie’s motion below:
Whereas: there is a great concern regarding the humande treatment of all equine breeds and livestock, The Arabian Horse Association and Arabian Horse Foundation actively support equine rescue along with responsible livestock and horse ownership and breeding: Therefore, be it Moved, after extensive reserach as a BOD we support the reopening of equine processing plants for horses in the U.S. We believe the restablishment of the humane processing of horses is in the best interest of the horse and livestock community, and therefore, direct our President, Lance Walters, to support the reopening of US equine processing facilities.
This is BOD motion that was drafted to the board and later read at convention stating the position of AHA. We discussed this long and hard. As a board we felt that the statment as it was released did not indicate or direct a “position” on equine slaughter.”
??? That’s exactly what this ‘directive’ did…in fact it was the sole reason for this motion: to “support the reopening of US equine slaughter (oops, processing) facilities.” How could the directors possibly have interpreted this any other way?
“And, that it left each member the right to have thier own feelings regarding this issue.”
This is the core of the issue, isn’t it? However, the AHA endorsing horse slaughter for human consumption on behalf of the entire membership completely, and utterly disregards those members with “their own feelings” – you are forcing members who oppose slaughter and/or the AHA’s endorsement of it to support an organization they would, under normal circumstances, NEVER support. Because the AHA is the ONLY association that can provide the necessary services (registration, promotion, National show) to Arabian horse owners, the ONLY choice given to those members is stop breeding/showing/selling Arabian horses or support a philosophy they are deeply and fundamentally opposed to.
“It does say AHA supports establishing humane processing that is in the best interest of the horse and livestock community. It does NOT say we support a “nueutarl positin”.”
We believe that’s exactly the problem, now isn’t it?
“28 of 29 members voted to leave our position “as is” and to make no change. I can tell you I feel that everyone has their right to their position on this issue. I spoke to this effect. I did vote to keep the position as is with no change. If it had been an “up” or “down” vote to take a neutral position I would have voted “yes”… But, that was not the case. The motion was to “change” the previous motion.”
??? Again, with all due respect, this Motion for neutrality stood on it’s own merits; it did NOT attempt to ‘change’ the prior directive (which, by the way, was never carried out, so is essentially non-existent anyway) Perhaps you are referring to the earlier ‘Resolution to Rescind’ the 2009 motion that was presented at Convention last year?
“I feel and think I made the right decision in representing Region 14 members. Maybe not everyone, but the majority.”
If we are not mistaken, was the Board not presented with several hundred comments from members asking for a ‘neutral’ position? While this is not the first time Directors have claimed a “vast majority” of support, there never seems to be ANY verifiable sources to support that claim.
“I also think this issue will be revisited again by the Board.”
Those who oppose horse slaughter and/or the AHA’s endorsement of it, handily outnumber those who support it. Don’t you find it interesting that they (those in charge at AHA) have refused to conduct a member survey?
At any rate, the lone director who supported this Motion for neutrality is to be commended for his conviction and willingness to take a stand in the face of overwhelming opposition. It is not an easy thing to do, and speaks volumes about his character. How disappointing that the other Directors lacked the mettle to take a stand… So ultimately, and once again, the BoD members have managed to completely disregard the stated Mission of the association, the Humane guidelines set out in the AHA handbook and Code of Ethics, and any consideration for the membership.
As for this being “revisted” again by the Board — it is difficult continuing to present a rational argument for neutrality based on the very bizarre logic presented in your letter, which we assume is representative of the position taken by the other like-minded Directors who oppose a ‘neutral’ position for the Association. That you admittedly state the “directors felt that a neutral position was favorable since every member of AHA has a position one way or the other regarding this issue” yet still voted AGAINST it, speaks volumes about the lack of conviction and integrity of the current Directors.
Frankly, this explanation makes the entire Board (save the Director who made the Motion) appear impotent and thoroughly intimidated by Mr Walters, whom they clearly did not want to disappoint.