Tuesday, September 1, 2009

On a Serious Note

Hey Y'all!

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 a
nd 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,
~Rachel

18 comments:

Cassie Channell said...

I remember well all the tears I shed the winter I was there for foal season. There was a little pony that I fell SO in love with that unfortunately had a hernia rupture. It was terrible. On top of it that was the winter of the "mystery illness" and we had very sick babies. It is very hard work and everything isn't always sunshine and roses.

kas0859 said...

It is hard not to get angry with 'people' who make negative comments about things they know very little about. I've seen TRULY disturbing pictures of what happens to babies who are NOT LUCKY ENOUGH to be rescued by Victoria and her team.
You guys keep up your good work and keep your good spirits!

Your groupies LOVE you!

mark said...

You guys do an incredible job. Very few other people would even try to do it. You have my admiration. The criticism belongs to the ones who created the situation, as you said, to make money, without any regard for the lives they were throwing away.

John said...

Victoria and LCC do an incredible job with all the horses! God Bless them!

JeniQ said...

What you do is incredibly rewarding AND heart breaking. No one in this world has the right to judge your organization until they walk in your shoes.

Please keep doing what you are doing for these foals.

kelly said...

what you do is wonderful you give up your lives to take care of all the horse young and old you are an inspreation to me and many others you are there angles we need all the help we can get the horse are calling

theanimallover said...

I understand what you do and I support you wholeheartedly. However, going for "shock value" was a calculated mistake. A much wiser approach and more realistic version would have let the camera show a foal slipping the boundaries of earth at the hands of a qualified veterinarian. The heartwrenching truth would have been felt as keenly but without the negative backlash on you, Victoria.

I pray you never have to go through that scenario again. But if you do, clearly it should be done without an audience.

Pegg said...

I've been a “lurker” on your blog for a while now but the video and your most recent post brought me out to comment. The video was heart breaking and eye opening. It made me cry but so glad that LCC takes up the cause for the lives of these babies and other horses who just have no where else to go. You do what few can or are willing to do! So this is me giving you a standing ovation for the work that you do and the prayer that you will always find the means and strength to continue doing it. God Bless!

horseluver94 said...

i have been reading your blogs for a long time, and i have been out to the farm. i very much admire what you all do and i want to say that you know what is best for the babies. unless those people who made those nastey remarks live your life they will never understand. you should just keep your head held high because what you are doing is so amasing and so inspiring. i know it may hurt you or make you feel bad because of what those people said but you are doing your best. i had come out when those pre-me babies were there, and they were only a day old. they were so little and it made me want to cry because some one didnt care about those two babies enough to let them atleast be deliverd on time. i want to wrap this up by saying thank you to the last chance corral for doing all you have done, and you all have inspired me so much! keep up the good work! =)

sbcalc said...

Victoria Goss is definitly a hero in my eyes and also has been an inspiration to me. To many things have been hidden from and sugar coated for the public in this country. We need reality and the foal video is reality. The film was very touching and much needed. This is a serious problem and it needs to FINALLY be relized! If that baby was sick and suffering, and a Vet was available or not he needed to be set free from the pain. A carefully placed bullet is quicker than drugs. On a personal note my family and I adopted 2 foals this season from LLC. They're doing great and getting big. Victoria and her crew have inspired me so much. We would even like to foster some foals this coming season for LLC if our help is needed. Keep up the good work LLC and Victoria and thank you for touching our lives!!!

Last Chance said...

theanimallover:
it seems like you have a problem not with something our organization has done, but with the photojournalism student himself. Feel free to contact him regarding the matter further. We did not get the chance to view the video before it was posted, and do not regret that it has been posted in the least. Like we both said, it was reality. We do not sugar coat things for adults- everyone deserves to know the truth, however sad that may be. If it makes you angry, funnel your energy into getting the industry stopped, not telling us how to be politically correct. Your time would be much more well spent. Thank You.

Gambit said...

I have had the privilege of adopting 5 foals from Victoria. The joy that these foals have given me cannot be quantified. It has been hard at times, dealing with respiratory infections, enteritis, pneumonia, ulcers, these are all things they have gone through, luckily without losing any. This is after they have been stabilized by Last Chance. I wonder how many foals the "CRITICS" have adopted, or how much they have donated to Last Chance to help save these "throw aways". It is easy to judge so if you don't like what you see, why not put your energy into help changing it, that is much harder, but much more rewarding.

RJMK said...

First of all why is it that only the good comments are posted? Are you not posting the angry ones???? Guess you won't post this one either!
As if making a premie suffer for so long is not inhumane enough you then SHOOT it because it was a Sunday! How outrageous and shameful! It dying at birth would have been a lot less painful than suffering just to be shot! If your vet doesn't care enough then maybe find another one or decide to end the pain sooner! Sometimes "rescues" go too far and do more harm than good.That is too bad because the babies suffer.Then on top of that have it video taped-how stupid!Hope you got the kinda "impact" you wanted and in the process pissed off a bunch of people! How about taping a humane euthansia by a qualified, liscensed individual?
I do have a right to judge since I have donated time, money and items to the last chance corral. I have been one of your biggest supporters and am very dissapointed. I will no longer have naything to do with your so called rescue group and will recommend others to do the same!

MWest,RN said...

Victoria & LCC,
I wanted to say "Thank You" for the tireless work of LCC. You have been extremely honest and above board in all your dealings with me. As well, you have the knowledge and capability to correctly manage the pain and suffering of the animals at your facility. I find it amazing that someone who has no medical background, could or would attempt to offer their opinion on this subject matter. It is incredulous that this person, who has been such a "support" to your facility would address this topic in a blog. IF that were the case, he/she would have spoken with you directly about their concerns. I have never believed in sugar coating reality...it serves no purpose and reality at times is hard to accept...and for this person, hard to view. Perhaps your so called "loyal supporter" should do a bit more research on this subject, BEFORE going on a written tantrum. Thank you for having the courage to keep this view point on your blog site.
Monica West

Padock459 said...

Whoa now Monica, you just put yourself in a spot "assuming" that RJMK has "no medical background". FYI this person is a "licensed" vet tech that has worked with rescues for equine, dog, cat, you name it. This person has also raised much need funds and donations for LLC for many years, latley through my barn and clientel and has personally driven volunteers to LLC to help during foal season and at other times.

Reality TV is much like what is on the web, I my self will not look at it - not that I don't want to believe it exists, but becasue I DO believe. I relive it in my head over and over until I am so racked with anxiety that I can not function with out meds! I am better suited, as are others, to champion the cause from the outer edges, raise money, awareness and supporters. But RJMK works in the medical field and belives that there is a better way than a bullet and much like RJMK, I would like all animals to meet their maker with out pain. You and the others that think a video of an animal supposedly being "shot" to be put to sleep is ok may look at it differently when some kid puts a video of an animal being shot for giggles then claims to the court that they were just helping those rescues that need to put down animals....watch, it will happen!
Right OR wrong, the deed is done, channel your energies as Victoria has asked others, into raising money to not only "save" these poor animals, but to end it for them with the dignity they deserve - someone stroking their neck and speaking softly as they draw their last breath.
Nancy

theanimallover said...

Last Chance. You missed the mark. I am not angry. However, I am disappointed and concerned that a video has left a negative impression concerning the actions of a caring woman who does everything for the good of the horses. I support and applaud Victoria. The video may have been 'real' but it did not represent the normal circumstances. In showing the exception, and not the rule, it is misleading.
I know first-hand how disturbing the facts are.
And I spend a considerable amount of time and money helping homeless and abused animals (including, but not limited to horses and dogs).
I'm sorry you felt the need to attack my opinion. Your time and energies are better spent elsewhere.

kas0859 said...

OK, LET'S ALL TAKE A DEEP BREATH!
I don't believe anyone on this blog is "attacking" anyone else. Strong opinions have been voiced maybe criticized, but "attack" is too strong of a word.
We are all reading this Blog because we LOVE. We love the horses and we love the people who care for them.
Please everybody remember ALL of us care SO much about "OUR" babies, let's direct our emotions and focus towards them.

theanimallover said...

Last Chance. Your defense mechanism has apparently caused your vision to blur and you missed or misinterpreted my point. Or perhaps you are just unwilling to let anyone have an opinion that does not mirror your own? I do not have a problem with anything that Victoria did or does. She is absolutely a hero to anyone (including me) who truly cares about the welfare of horses. As I said, I support her (emotionally, morally and financially). My point was simply that this isolated and unfortunate circumstance was not representative of what happens at LCC on a daily basis. It doesn't require sugar coating to simply show the norm rather than the harsh exception. And in this case, it appears to have been used for shock value; not by LCC but by the filmmaker. I sincerely hope that using it as such does not turn off potential contributors. Clearly, LCC needs all the help and support that it can get ... and then some!
And while I appreciate your concern over the value of my time, I spend a considerable amount of it, my energies and my money rescuing homeless and unwanted animals (horses, dogs and cats). Best wishes to everyone at LCC.