Friday, December 18, 2009
Sorry for neglecting the blog recently, we have just been so busy around the farm! For those who were wondering, the Christmas party was a huge success, we raised around $10,000!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who donated items, time, and money to the big event. We couldn't have done it without all of the support. By the time that the party rolled around, not an inch was available for displaying more items- we even had to stack some items! The music, food, and friends were great, and it never ceases to amaze us what can be done if we all get together to help the horses (especially the babies!). Jenny put a video/slide show together for us with pictures from the party. Here is the link to see the video... click on it and it will pop right up! Christmas Party Video!!!
Now that the party is done with, and we raised enough money to jump start foal season! Several big donors definitely made this possible, but EVERY SINGLE DONATION made a difference. Now we are focusing on getting the barn ready for the babies. They could be knocking down our doors as soon as January 1st, and preparation time is wearing thin! We have several new horses in, go to our website and click on the "Available Horses" page to check them out! We also have three others horses besides the one listed, but we are waiting until we can ride them and get a feel for what they are really like! Two of them are older TBs (a mar and a gelding), and the last one is a KA-YOOT Morgan/Quarter Horse that is just a DOLL! These horses will be available for adoption as soon as they are up to date on their feet, weight, and worming. Keep checking the website for more information. Also, most (if not all) of the horses on the website have been updated... lower adoption fees, new pictures, etc, etc. Check it out, and spread the word!
Here is just a goofy picture of Rex... our staff member of the day!!! Rex is such a big part of the farm, we don't give him enough credit for ALL if the work that he does (*wink*wink*)! We love Rexie!Happy Trails!
Friday, November 20, 2009
You know how you go to the Equine Affaire or Quarter Horse Congress and it seems like you are the only one without a cowboy hat?
Doesn't it get old having to say "Yee-Haw" without a hat?
Don't we all agree that every gentleman looks much-mo-better in a nicely shaped cowboy hat?
Are you the only cowboy or cowgirl in your family, and whenever you go out for dinner, you stick out like a Thoroughbred in a field of Shetlands, wishing that your family members were also wearing hats?
If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, you won't believe what I am about to tell you.
We have as many cowboy hats as you could ever want. In every size, in every color, and in every style. From Stetson to Seratelli, we have you covered (literally!) Come on out to see our selection- but be sure to call all of your family and friends for their hat sizes first! These hats are valued from $85 all the way up to $200, and we are letting them go for 60% off! Your choice!
If you bring a nice gift for the auction, we just might give you an even better deal than that!
The pictures below are of just some of the almost 350 cowboy hats that we have!
Give the farm a call, and come on out to pick yours (and your friend's!).
We also have English and Western apparel, english boots, english saddles, blankets, and tack, all at unbeatable prices and all brand new! A tack shop went out of business and donated a bunch of their brand new merchandise to us- and it's all brand new! From shampoo to saddle pads, we surely can complete your Christmas list!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Here is our invitation for our annual Christmas party. Our mailing list is "compromised" at the moment, so we wanted to let everyone know before they make plans for the fifth of December! To read this invitation, click on it, then zoom in on it... otherwise, it's blurry and difficult to read!
But about our mailing list...
You have a mailing list.
Your mailing list has over 2400 names on it.
You have it saved to Excel.
Excel is a complicated program, yes?
You go to try to send out an invitation to everyone on your mailing list for the Christmas party.
You transfer the names and addresses to Word to make mailing labels...
... only to find that Excel has alphabetized the last names of the people on the list...
...AND their zip codes.
So now, good-old Excel is telling us that everyone with a last name that starts with 'A' lives in a city with a zip code that starts with '1'. Nice, huh?
Needless to say, this is a problem. We are currently spending our lives on www.whitepages.com to search to make sure that the listings we have are correct.
SOOOO, if you are unlisted, please email us your address if you want to be on our mailing list. We do not send junk mail, but you will get our awesome newsletters!
Actually, if you love us and want to save us some time, please call or email us with your name and address, even if you are listed, so we can get you back on our mailing list!
Thanks, and Happy Trails!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Just so everyone knows, this puppy is STILL looking for a home. He is a 10-12 week old Heinz-57 pooch that is lovable and ka-yoot! He is great with kids, dogs, and cats, and is pretty much house broken. If you are interested in adopting him (because everyone needs a free puppy!), call the farm! Just remember, YOU might not need another puppy, but this puppy NEEDS YOU! If you were having a good day, I'm about to wreck it with the next sentence. Winter is coming. Horse lovers know that that means a bigger hay bill, and longer hours making sure that their horses are truly comfortable. For the new horse owners that thought a horse would be such a great idea in the spring and summer (when their pasture was full of grass)... YES, you are going to have to feed old Bucky in the winter time. It is going to cost a LOT more than in the summer time. This involves BUYING hay and grain, making sure that their water doesn't have a 6 inch layer of ice on top of it, and making sure that your horse is not shivering off all of his weight. Now I'll be the first one to admit that dealing with horses in January when everything is slushy, muddy, and FREEZING cold is NOT appealing. In fact, I HATE busting up a frozen water tank then reaching in to pull out sheets of ice. We have all been there, though. The family gets together for Christmas dinner and during the festivities, you have to break away (hopefully dragging an unsuspecting cousin with you) to take care of the horses. It no big deal, it's just something that we do because we love our ponies. Sadly, there are people out there that have the whole "they can just eat the snow" mindset. These are the same people that have neighbors calling us off the hook telling us that there are skinny horses eating trees next door. This winter is going to be exceptionally bad because of the economy... if people have a choice to feed their family or feed their horses, which do you think will win? This is going to create an unremarkable need for our services, which is going to become increasingly difficult through the winter into foal season.
Something that we try to do is play 'Secret Santa'. We can only do this when we have surplus, but if we see a skinny horse shivering in a field, and we can't get in touch with it's owners to see if they want help, we will drop a winter blanket off at the house, or throw it some hay. It is not solving the problem, but the horse sure appreciates it. We can't do this, however, if we are struggling to take care of the babies that we are going to have in no time at all. This is where you come in. Your help, in any form, is greatly needed and appreciated. If you have a picky Thoroughbred that won't touch first cut hay... toss it our way, we ALWAYS know of underprivileged horses that would LOOOOVE some hay that is less than desirable for any other horse.
Shavings are always in demand at our farm, we are already stressing out about how to get enough to get us through foal season. Bales of shavings cost $4-6 a bag, and with the amount that we go through a day, the cost is daunting. We have been let in on a little secret, though. A big supplier is going to sell us bags of shavings for $3 a bag... as long as we buy a semi-load at a time. That cost to us (are you ready?) is $3500 a semi load. Add that bill to the never ending orders of $4000-a-load foal milk, and foal season is 'SPENSIVE! We made a promise to horses, foals especially, to do the best that we can. If you take care of them correctly, horses are expensive even if they are healthy... let alone if they need medical care like the one/two hundred babies that we get in every winter/spring! If you or anyone you know would like to get a tax write-off and donate shavings (or money towards shavings), any amount is helpful! There have been many times when we are down to 'that one last bag', and it just so happened that the bag was donated by someone who said that they "just came to drop off a bag of shavings... sorry it's not much!" People don't understand that every little bit counts and makes a difference. Come on out to volunteer, or even just to look around. I just got done taking a family on a tour with Victoria... people that have lived here for years and have driven by daily, but have just never stopped. This family FINALLY did, and were amazed by what they saw. If people come out to the farm to meet us, meet the horses that we save, and experience the Last Chance Corral, dogs and all, they will definitely be more likely to spread the word than if they just receive a newsletter from us once or twice a year. Help us help the horses, and spread the word!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Believe it or not, we need an old, quiet, non-ridable horse. There is a store that keeps a horse for a mascot, and they have had old, retired horses as their main attraction. Their past horse was too young and exuberant for the job, so they need a quiet old timer for the store. The horse will be in the store 5 days a week, then it will be on a farm for the weekend. While in the store, the horse will be fed treats and loved on all day! Here are some pictures of the stall and paddock at the store. This horse will be loved, and this is a great way to provide an alternative to an older, retired horse. If you are looking for a retirement home for your old (think 20+) horse, give us a call! Thanks!
A previous post this year that included a student's YouTube documentary video brought a lot of hate towards the Last Chance Corral. This is damaging not only to us, but also to our cause, and ultimately, the horses that we save. After receiving hate mail and comments, we tried at first to justify and explain our actions. To no avail. The negative energy continued, criticizing and tearing us down. Several people even promised to make sure that they tell everyone they know NOT to support us. Our replies and efforts to defend our actions did nothing but fuel the fire. Over the past few months, we though about how to close this issue, while educating the public. We decided that since all of the negative energy was coming from people who are NOT licensed veterinarians, what could be better than get some veterinarians to give their educated opinion? Here it is. All comments will remain posted on this blog, I will not delete anything. Hopefully people will realize the truth and reform their opinions. If not, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and if they choose to be ignorant and let their emotions prevent them from being absolutely humane, they may. The text in blue was written by Victoria.
To Whom it May Concern: I have an update on “humanity” in regard to euthanasia by bullet. I received a great deal of “hate mail” after the release of Kyle’s documentary/film made during last year’s foal season. You can’t believe the impact that those letters had on my emotional well being. I was devastated. This will be my final statement in regard to this matter. I will try my best to be brief and succinct.
I was first instructed on this technique while attending vet school, where we used a ‘captive bolt’ (pneumatic 22 caliber) to euthanize equine. I have only performed this under the most dire of circumstances when no other option was available.
Last Friday, a starvation horse was brought to the Last Chance Corral. The kind people that transported him meant him no harm, however, the trailer they used was a stock trailer and the mats had no tread. It was raining that day, and so the mats were slick, allowing the horse no traction. When the trailer pulled in, all I could see was the horse’s nose and his distraught, panic-filled eyes. He was stuck in the rear corner, head up, knees tucked under, balancing on his brisket. His back legs were splayed to either side. This was BAD. This is not a position that a horse can assume without damage. We were able to pull the horse out of the trailer. His back was broken, he would never stand again.
We stayed with him, sheltering him from the driving rain, offering him what minimal comforts we could while keeping him from thrashing. His front end was still useful, and so he kept attempting to rise. We held him for eight and a half hours until a vet could get there. At that point, the horse was humanely euthanized by an equine surgeon. The method he employed was a 22 caliber pistol. Because of all of the bad press I received, this horse suffered untold misery for eight and a half additional hours, only to meet the same end that could have been provided. To those of you who held my hands tied, I can only say this. SHAME ON YOU!
Shame on you for condemning me over something that you could never imagine yourself doing, or even imagining that it is humane. I will ask you to put aside your emotions and allow these PROFESSIONALS to EDUCATE you.
-Victoria Goss, President and Founder of the Last Chance Corral
Here are the responses of two veterinarians when we asked them if they thought euthanasia by bullet is humane:
“Humane? This is the ONLY 100% guarantee of a quick, painless death.”
-Abbott P. Smith, DVM and equine surgeon
“There are only two concerns I have with euthanizing a horse with a bullet. First, the person with the gun might trip and fall and shoot a bystander or themselves. Secondly, if the person is uninformed, they might not perform it correctly. It is totally humane when done correctly. I euthanized my own horse that way.”
-Daniel Stradley, DVM
I am not a veterinarian, but I did do some research on this topic. Here is what I found. I made sure that my sources were from nothing less than licensed veterinarians. Please set your emotions aside and read this with an open mind. -Rachel
The horse world is full of controversy. What should be acceptable? What is considered humane? Sometimes, the answer is clear cut. Other times, the issue at hand can be debated until the end of time. These issues, almost always regarding animal safety and welfare, evoke strong emotions from both points of view.
One of these issues, horse euthanasia, has plagued the Last Chance Corral in recent times. In Athens, Ohio, there are no licensed veterinarians that will do emergency house calls- especially on a Sunday night. One such evening, we had to make the difficult decision to end the suffering of one of our orphan foals. This baby was dying, and we realized that making it wait until the next morning to euthanize it would be cruel… and that’s if it could make it to the next morning.
The barbiturates used to euthanize animals are controlled substances, meaning that veterinarians have to log and report every time they use the drug and the amount used. It is not legal for anyone other than a licensed veterinarian to possess these drugs. That factor combined with the reality that a veterinarian could not be obtained to perform the euthanasia after hours on Sunday forced us to make an extremely difficult decision. Though the foal looked fine externally, her organs were ‘calling it quits’. She was premature due to an induced labor, and because foals do not develop outside the womb, the baby’s organs were not able to take the demand of continued life.
It was evident that this could not wait until the next day, when we could trailer the baby to a veterinarian. Victoria was forced to euthanize the foal by gunshot, using the very technique that she was taught in vet school by licensed veterinarians. An Ohio University student was present at the time and documented the euthanasia. Pictures leading up to the euthanasia were compiled into a documentary video and put on the internet. We grieved for the little soul and turned our energy and attention to the many other orphans that relied on us. Then, we waited for the storm that was sure to come.
The internet is a dangerous thing. Anything posted on the internet is guaranteed to be seen by all- educated and ignorant alike. The way people percept anything depends on their present level of education and their own personal moral standards. Unfortunately, with the click of a mouse, everyone is subject to everyone else’s opinion- whether they like it or not. There is not an ‘online professor’ to correct mistakes when people spew misinformation. It is up to those defending themselves to shed light and information on the overly emotional and misinformed.
The storm came less than a day after posting the video. Hate mail arrived instantly, and large Last Chance Corral sponsors were contacted and told to never donate to our organization again because we shoot foals. This is not only hurtful to us, as we are hoping against hope to do what is right for the foals, but it is harmful to the organization that struggles to fulfill a promise made to ‘the nurse mare foals’- to do what we can to save as many as we can. Horse lovers were appalled and horrified that we would shoot innocent baby horses, and argued that even if the baby needed to be euthanized, it should have been done with the intravenous serum… the supposed ‘only humane method’.
Now remember what I said earlier. It is a right for people to have their own opinions and to state them freely, no matter their education or lack thereof. What most people do not understand, though, is that euthanasia by gunshot is not only an acceptable way to end a horse’s suffering, but it is the preferred method among veterinarians. Here are the facts. Quotes from Veterinarians ONLY are included, and both the lethal injection and death by gunshot are discussed.
There are currently no FDA approved euthanasia solutions for horses available in the United States. This means that the serums used are not guaranteed to work on horses. They are obviously still used, despite that fact. When the serum is used on horses, they can seizure, convulse, and often require a second and even a third injection- all while feeling everything going on around them. Though sometimes the appearance of ‘falling asleep’ is apparent, whether a reaction will take place is undeterminable before the injection is given. The injection may only be given by a licensed veterinarian, making emergency intravenous euthanasia even more difficult to obtain. Jerry Black, DVM, says “I have seen [a gun] used hundreds of times on cattle and horses and know in my mind that it is very humane and is much more instantaneous than chemical euthanasia. The animal literally knows nothing.”
Intravenous euthanasia is undoubtedly an approved and acceptable means of euthanasia in a horse. Some things must be taken into consideration, however. What if a horse with a broken leg is struggling violently, creating an impossible task for the veterinarian when he or she attempts to find a vein to inject an overdose of barbiturates? Remember, if the serum is injected anywhere other than the vein, it provokes strong, violent convulsions and an untold amount of agonizing pain. What then? What if the horse required a second or third injection, due to the convulsions from the first one?
The American Veterinary Medical Association recognized these ‘what-ifs’ and explored all possible ways of euthanizing an animal- both humane and inhumane. The results of their research are easily accessible to any member of the public, and are laid out in a clear cut format. Page three of AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia states the following:
In evaluating methods of euthanasia, the panel used the following criteria: (1) ability to induce loss of consciousness and death without causing pain, distress, anxiety, or apprehension; (2) time required to induce loss of consciousness; (3) reliability; (4) safety of personnel; (5) irreversibility; (6) compatibility with subsequent evaluation, examination, or use of tissue; (7) emotional effect on observers and operators; (8) compatibility with subsequent evaluation, examination, or use of tissue; (9) drug availability and human abuse potential; (10) compatibility with species, age, and health status; (11) ability to maintain equipment in proper working order; and (12) safety for predators/scavengers should the carcass be consumed.
As I go on, take into consideration the criteria, and realize that a panel of licensed veterinarians produced these standards and guidelines. This should be read and absorbed with an open mind, tossing emotions aside to let knowledge and reality move in. When the subject of shooting an animal to put it out of its misery is mentioned, people tend to think of Bambi in that the animal dies an agonizing death. Realistically, the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia states that euthanasia by gunshot is a rapid death that provides instant loss of consciousness (p 33). They take equine euthanasia into special consideration, and mention that intravenous euthanasia is acceptable, but “these drugs may prolong time to loss of consciousness because of their effect on circulation and may result in varying degrees of muscular activity and agonal gasping” (p 18). They also state that “physical methods, including gunshot, are considered conditionally acceptable techniques for equine euthanasia” (p 18).
Doug Byers, DVM, states “I would equate captive bolt with gunshot and consider both humanely superior to lethal injection when performed properly. The public’s perception of lethal injection being the only humane procedure parlays to the standards of veterinary profession in this country- we simply do not teach instantaneous lethal trauma.” Another veterinarian, Dr Tom Lenz, shares his viewpoint and reasoning on the subject.
The captive bolt in the hands of an experienced person is completely humane because the horse is immediately rendered unconscious. It has the same effect as a gunshot when placed properly. I believe that it is more humane than chemical injection for two reasons. If you watch horses that are euthanized with the injection, many of them experience a period of bewilderment or confusion just before they lose consciousness. There is no doubt that they are aware that something strange is occurring. Second, many of the horses following chemical injection do not die quickly and require a second or third dose. With gunshot or captive bolt, the horse is rendered unconscious immediately.
It seems that if gunshot is indeed the preferred method for euthanizing a horse, the intravenous injection would lose popularity in America. All of the medical evidence states that when done properly, it is a humane and effective way to euthanize a horse without risk of convulsions or multiple attempts. If so, why is the injection ever so popular among Americans who face the decision to euthanize their horses? Karen E. N. Hayes, a veterinarian, comes with a good point in her Equisearch.com article “At Your Mercy: Euthanasia”. She states the following, “Veterinarians generally choose lethal injection or gunshot for euthanasia. In Europe, gunshot is the preferred method; in the US, lethal injection is more popular, likened to the emotional ideal of dying in one’s sleep”. The pros she lists for the lethal injection are that “if done properly, it is less violent in appearance; bloodless; quiet; and humane”. The cons are as follows and are found in the same article:
Only one type of barbiturates shuts down the brain first, before shutting down other bodily functions. Other products (such as T61 and succinylcholine) cause a heart attack or paralysis and suffocation, so are meant to be used on a horse under anesthesia. Some vets don't have the license to carry barbiturates, which are classified as controlled substances. The other drugs are cheaper and safer to carry. Regardless of drug, administration requires expertise: it must be given via vein or heart injection, either of which requires skill. If the needle misses the mark, the drug won't work and can cause a violent and painful reaction.
She also discusses the pros and cons of euthanasia by gunshot, and states that shooting the animal properly “is reliable, instantaneous, externally bloodless, and humane. The emotional/social stigma can make this upsetting for witnesses.”
There are veterinarians everywhere that feel similarly on the topic. Dr Woody Asbury has had experience with both, and shares the conclusion that he has come to.
I practiced veterinary medicine from 1956 until recently, and I administered lethal doses of barbiturates for euthanasia countless times. This technique is much slower than euthanasia by bullet, and frequently required additional injections. I had clients who would prefer a quicker method. On several occasions I used a pistol to euthanize horses. Aside from the danger of gunshot to bystanders (or administrators), the results are infinitely better with the pistol than with the barbiturates. Also, I don’t buy the ‘fear and apprehension’ problems that activists claim. There is no wild-eyed anticipation or screaming when the environment is managed correctly.
This makes one wonder, is the lethal injection really for the good of the horse, or is it just for the horse owners, who do not want to see their companion and partner be shot? Isolating your feelings from fairness to the animal must be done in order to make a wise painless decision for the animal. Anything less is selfish, and in fact, potentially inhumane.
No matter how gruesome it may seem, the public must realize that what right is not always easy. They need not condemn the very people that are trying to solve the problem and do what is best for the welfare of the horses. Those who have not been in the situations that we have faced have no right to judge. They don’t know the anguish that we experience making sure that we keep pressing on until it is evident that we are no longer helping. We owe it to the foals and horses we work with to respect them enough to set our personal emotions aside, give them one last kiss and rub on the neck, and give them a dignified, calm, and definite end.
We asked M. Ann Mandic, DVM, to send a few words regarding this topic to us. Her reply is in purple.
To Whom it May Concern:
I have been very concerned about some of the feedback that has been received by the Last Chance Corral regarding the student’s video that appeared last month. I feel the responsibility to express my feelings on the subject, and have pondered all viewpoints to be sure that I keep my mind open and objective. I approach this as someone who has officially worked with companion animals since 1970. My life’s work has allowed me many great joys as well as some heartbreaking times. It is not reality to have the first without the second if you are in the real world of animals.
As a veterinarian as well as a caregiver of my own family of animals, my greatest challenge has been and probably always will be to find a method that helps with the daunting decision of when loving is to let go. My prayer has always been and always will be to not give up a moment prematurely but to not linger a moment too long when death is the only kindness left to give. Once a decision to end suffering has been made, I have found it absolutely essential that I do not indulge my feelings at that time. The act of euthanasia is a task that must be performed as perfectly and precisely as anything I do in my practice. If I do not separate my emotions, letting them cause my hands to quiver or my eyes to blur, I may give my patient a moment of discomfort or anxiety, which would be unforgivable. My tears have flowed both privately and publicly after my patient is finally at peace. These are never happy times, but in some cases, my tears of sadness also combine with tears of relief.
As the years have gone by, I find this aspect of my job to be more difficult than ever. Some have asked if one “gets used to it”. I have not. Also, as the years have gone on, I have come to understand that my method of ending suffering is not the only humane method. Although I am a small animal veterinarian, I have used intravenous euthanasia on two of my own horses. Although this method is very quick, I must say that the seconds seemed to take forever. There was a time that I would have been horrified to think of anyone using a gun on any animal. I now realize that someone properly trained and self disciplined can deliver an exceptionally humane release this way.
As I watch the Foal Season video repeatedly in light of the resulting controversy, I can understand the emotions that may have been evoked seeing Victoria Goss preparing to do what she had to do. What was not seen was the anguish, the efforts, and the tears that went into that most difficult of decisions… not a moment too soon, not a moment too late. Remember, the time for tears and emotion is not while preparing to administer the perfectly placed injection or bullet.
I have seen the Last Chance Corral in action. I have been on the phone while very difficult decisions are being made. I have never seen anything except selfless, devoted, caring about the foals and horses lucky enough to find their way there. It seems that most people understand all of this for themselves, but I fear there may be some that become so upset and angry that the anger is displaced. This is very understandable, but please do not confuse the problem with the solution.
I have supported the Last Chance Corral both financially, spiritually, and professionally. I have also often wished I was not hours away, so that I could be available on a sad Sunday night, when a veterinarian was needed quickly. Please see clearly the source of your angst and frustration. Is it really the arduous, selfless, and compassionate efforts of the amazing people at the Last Chance Corral, or rather that huge part of the horse world that sees horses as things, as businesses, as little more than used vehicles? Please do not undermine the efforts of those who work so selflessly for the horses. They are sensitive people, their work is difficult, and they need every bit of support and encouragement you can give. I have learned to harness the anger and the sadness and let it become energy that can work to help change the sad circumstances one animal at a time.
I hope that I have offended no one by what I have written here, it is truly from my heart.
M. Ann Mandic, DVM
As I said before, whatever your viewpoint is, if you comment, your comment will be left up on this blog. We understand that some people refuse to learn the truth, but we felt the need to give this issue closure. We hope that it is enough, and will continue to strive to make a difference.
The Last Chance Corral