The text in BLUE was written by Victoria regarding the Foal Season Video (you can find the link on a previous post) that Kyle created. The video is superb, but we have had some complaints about the opening scene. This post is meant to explain and defend our stance on the situation.
After seeing the opening part to the video, people have called us 'disgusting and disturbing', which, to say the least, is disheartening. People don't understand that from January to June, nothing else is on our minds but the foals. We do NOTHING but take care of foals round the clock. Working from eight in the morning to nine at night is average... we have pulled 16 hour days without thinking twice. It is what we do, and we are happy to do it, even though it means giving up all contact with the outside world (except to go to the vet and Kroger for more yogurt). During foal season, thought of little horses 'dance through our heads' CONSTANTLY... even as we are falling asleep, sometimes with a baby in our lap. We devote so much time to the foals, I have had many friends ask me if I still even lived in Athens. Our lives are CONSUMED by these precious baby horses. We eat here, we sleep here, and we don't call it quits until every baby is settled in for the night. We talk to the babies like they are human children, and we work, pray, and cry over them more than anyone will ever know. To do the things that we do, we need to be strong. Watching a foal wilt right before your eyes while you are doing everything in your power is heartbreaking and depressing, and all the while you know that the reason this is happening is so someone can make a buck. It makes us angry and sad at the same time. Every day, we must toss our emotions aside and keep working. The foals need positive energy and soft voices. We provide that for them, even if we are breaking down physically and mentally. When we have a foal that was a month premature (induced labor), has kidney failure, and god-knows-what else, we try until it is clear to ALL of us that the foal is only alive because we are keeping it alive. Foals do not develop outside of the womb, so when we are dealing with an induced labor, we try to work with what the foal was born with (or without). Sometimes, it is just not enough. It is a heartbreaking decision we make, but it is the fair decision. To hear people that do not understand scold us and speak negatively about the work that we do just adds to the negative effect. We can not do what we do year after year if we do not remain hopeful and positive. We are fighting an uphill battle with our hands tied, and fellow horse lovers are giving us a hard time. Talk about disheartening. We will continue to do what we do as long as we have support from the public, and that, my friends, is up to you.
Here is Victoria's response:
As a disclaimer I would like to add a note to this video. First, Kyle is a photojournalism student. This film was a project and he was trying to get the greatest emotional impact out of his allotted time... so he did go for the 'shock value'. Secondly, this is real. The reality of the sad situation is that on occasion when we can't get a veterinarian we are forced to do the right thing. Sunday evening is not a "vet friendly" time. Kyle didn't show the trips back and forth to the veterinarian's office (where most of our dying foals find peace from pain). This is not, has never been, and will never be a decision taken lightly. Frankly, sometimes we wait too long, hoping against hope for a miracle. Euthanasia by bullet is a reliable painless death when administered correctly. It is actually faster than the serum. It is not, however, our first choice. Much of what we do here is not by choice. My choice would be to see fields of happy, healthy foals standing at their mothers' sides. We do what we MUST for these unfortunate foals. By and large we are successful. This year we lost five orphans out of 139... many of which were induce labor premature babies. We work day and night for them. When something like this happens it tears us apart... but we made them a solemn promise to do everything we can for them, even if it means having to open the door to peace from pain.
Sincerely, Sadly, ~Victoria
The picture below is the view from the apartment. Notice the two babies with the IV catheters?
The picture below is of two of us sleeping with a pre-me baby... Victoria woke up early and snapped this shot... see the baby in the left corner?
Below is a picture of a pre-me baby. This one made it.
Back to fighting the uphill battle,