Mankind are an incorrigible race. Give them but bugbears and idols...it's all that they ask; the distinctions of right and wrong, of truth and falsehood, of good and evil are worse than indifferent to them. William Hazlitt
I have been reading something on a horse forum over the past couple of days that is disturbing on several levels. The first and most immediate is purposeful removal of a mare from her foal for the purpose of using the mare for the show season.
A short synopsis: This mare was purchased last year for an eight year old girl by the child's grandmother. Now from what I remember reading, this is something like the third of fourth horse that was bought for this child. It seems buying horses at auction for a child really isn't a bright idea. Anyway, this little mare was bought from a private party, so the child actually had an opportunity to ride the mare around and get a feel for her. I know, a novel idea, right? The child and the mare got along like pigs and mud. Happy Days! Well not exactly. Seems the mare had a rendezvous with a stallion last year. A couple of months ago the new owners realized she was in foal. They were justifiably upset, but as the saying goes, crap happens.
And now we arrive at the problem. Two days ago mama foaled out a filly. The purchaser of the mare, grandma, has decided her granddaughter should not miss out on her good times because of the inconvenience this new life represents. The child has a right to her fun, trail riding and gaming her horse. After all, they didn't want a foal and this one is 'just a mutt' so grandma is justified in her decision, which she assured the worldwide web was hard thought, to pull the mare from the foal after two days. She graciously allowed that the foal should get it's colostrum from the mare, but then the party's over. Something about making it easier for the mare because her milk won't have come in yet. What does she think that stuff dripping all over is?
The mare foaled at another property and that person is keeping the baby. Why anyone would want to care for an orphan is beyond me and why anyone would voluntarily orphan a foal completely escapes my comprehension. I've raised one orphan and have lost three foals. The frantic behavior of the mares when they can't find their baby breaks a person's heart. Well at least this person's heart. To purposely cause this, I can't understand it. Raising an orphan is so much work that I won't go into it. I would never want to go through that again.
The other level of being disturbed. What about the granddaughter? If she isn't heartless and self-serving like grandma, will she feel guilt? Will she come to look upon her grandmother in a negative manner? I actually hope so. It's far better than the alternative; another cold person whom is concerned for their own gratification, regardless of the consequences of actions taken.
And another. Initially members of this forum reacted as one would expect. With shock and outrage. Grandma responded with anger, telling everyone it's not their business and to butt out. She didn't ask for opinions, only announced the foal was born and she has made a decision. When asked why she would think there wouldn't be a response, she started to list all of the 'nice' things she has done and how she has never judged anyone on the forum and thinks she deserves the same courtesy. Now the sad part. The outrage disappeared and the milk of human kindness was poured over the woman. To be sure, she had her defenders. You can always find someone to validate your bad behavior. But the people who rightly called her on her wrong-doing, how could they turn around and make nice? A couple of people didn't, but enough did.
Usually in life there are shades of gray. Life is full of nuance and often things are not entirely as they seem. But sometimes it's black or it's white. It's right or it's wrong. When a member of a community does something which is cruel and unnecessary, the weight of that community needs to bear down upon the person. Even if it doesn't stop the behavior, the perpetrator needs to understand that the community is repulsed and does not sanction the action. But instead, the desire to not seem judgmental, to not have someone mad, took over. Sometimes making a judgement about an action is the right thing to do.