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Equine Welfare Watchdog
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MEWA moves forward
By Maddy B. Gray
Starting a new organization is a little like having a puppy. There are lots of hurdles to overcome and lots of messes to straighten out. We get better at puppy-raising after we’ve lived through the routine a few times. And when a new puppy comes into our lives, we try not to reinvent the wheel.
So it is with the Maine Equine Welfare Alliance.
This year has been an exciting and trying one as we balance the urgencies of the state equine population with the need to proceed with due diligence. It's helpful for readers to understand that MEWA is
the result of the Fair Play Farm case and public outcry over inaction at the state level.
MEWA was created as part of a legislative directive. For more information,
Consider joining MEWA!
No one bites.(Although there are lots of passionate voices, we all behave.
There are members from all walks of life. We are commercial stable owners, private horse owners, lesson program directors, breeders, and even non-horse owners who want to help.
You can get in on the ground floor of what will be a productive and vital organization.
for next meeting date.
I sit on MEWA’s board as an at-large member. Here are some examples of issues we’ve discussed and negotiated over the past several months. It might seem easy to "lend a hand." But when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it ain't so simple.
We would like to provide hay and feed assistance.
How do folks qualify? [We will develop an application for assistance and they will fill it out. We will develop a committee with protocol to accept or deny these applications for assistance]
How can we accept donations of dozens or hundreds of bales of hay?
Where do you put it?
We would like to help folks who need to surrender their horse, either temporarily or permanently.
Rescue agencies are full. They need help.
Do we assume ownership?
Do we foster horses to temporary homes?
Do we simply serve as an intermediary?
Do we negotiate adoptions?
These are difficult questions. At the end of some meetings’ conclusions, it seems like we have asked more questions than we’ve answered.
At the October meeting, we had an inspirational visit from Bobby Silcott. Silcott is an Animal Control Officer and runs an “Ask the ACO” facebook page. Last year, he won the Animal Safety Real Heroes Award from the American Red Cross of Southern Maine.
He created the POM program which raises money for pet oxygen masks to be distributed throughout Maine fire and rescue departments.
Last year, he said, a foal was saved from a Scarborough barn fire with one of those masks.
He knows we’ve got an uphill climb. But Silcott urged us to keep our eye on our goal:
When he’s out there, asking for help, asking for money, appealing to folks to get involved, he forges on and tries not to get discouraged by naysayers:
“I think of the animals. The humans are beside the point.
”When he’s out there, asking for help, asking for money, appealing to folks to get involved, he forges on and tries not to get discouraged by naysayers:
“I think of the animals. The humans are beside the point.”
View Reader Comments:
I too am a member of MEWA. I went to the first meeting this past spring and have remained impressed that focus continues to be directed at helping equines and their owners. No one has made me feel obligated to invest more commitment than I feel I can. Because I have not been involved in other 'horse type' groups, I am often unfamiliar with some of the back ground issues. When I ask questions for clarification, not once have I felt like answering my questions was an imposition to any one. I also have to say that I am sometimes reluctant to join groups because I'm not real good at sitting around doing nothing. That has not been a problem with MEWA. There is as much to do as a person wants to take on, but no pressure to take on more than is comfortable. I highly encourage people to stop by for a meeting just to see the dynamics of the group. There are many ways to support the group from input towards decisions, to voting rights that come with membership, to chairing a committee, and everything in between. I am asking a few fellow equine lovers to join me in attending the next meeting.....many hands make light work!!
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