The CHDC recently blogged an announcement that a peaceful leafleting event would be held at Horse Day at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds on June 6, 2015. Several concerned horse advocates met to hand out anti-slaughter pamphlets appropriate to the general public. The CHDC blog post linked to a Meetup Group where most information about the event and the participants can easily be viewed by the general public.
A short time afterwards the organizer of the leafleting event received a surprising and unsolicited email from the Ontario Equestrian Federation (who obviously reads our blog!) and the email, with names redacted, appears below:
I just received the event notice from the Horse Defence Coalition that you are planning to hand out flyers during Toronto Horse Day on June 6. Of course, your group is welcome to meet and deliver your message, but I hope we can work together to ensure that Horse Day is a positive experience for everyone.
I want to point out that Toronto Horse Day is designed for children. Most of our participants range from 3 to 10 years of age and are accompanied by their parents who have no horse experience. For many, Horse Day is the first time that they will see a horse in person. We use this event to hopefully get some kids hooked on horses and choose equestrian sport/activity over soccer or hockey.
Keeping in mind that most of the individuals that you will speak to on June 6 will be young families, can I ask that you distribute appropriate pamphlets? Your message is important, but I don’t want to expose small children to graphic images. I hope you can understand this.
I know that we will be able to share the space and both conduct successful events.
Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions about the event.
ONTARIO EQUESTRIAN FEDERATION
1 West Pearce, Suite 201, Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 3K3
905-709-6545 x 17
The organizer of the event politely replied to explain that at no time was literature intended to be delivered to children or minors, but contained non-graphic information appropriate to the non-horse person, and was not a protest of the OEF itself. However, she was taken aback as a horse owner and former member of the OEF that they would write to her in what she interpreted as a “dis-incentive” to participate in the leafleting. One might say that horse advocacy groups have taken the initiative to arrange peaceful events such as leafleting BECAUSE the various provincial horse groups do little or nothing to address the inhumanity of horse slaughter in the first place.
The organizer assumed that after sending her response any concerns by the OEF would have been addressed, however, the group were stunned while at the event to have first been approached by CNE security who announced “We’ve been waiting for you,” and later by a mounted police officer (with a suitably embarrassed looking steed) who told them that if they didn’t move their protest they would be arrested for trespassing. Believing that leafleting was permissible in an “urban park” owned by the City of Toronto, the group nevertheless were told to leave the vicinity of the Horse Palace in no uncertain terms. We wondered how security and the police knew to look for this small group of ladies on this park of almost 200 acres in size.
However the police and security came to find this small group remains a mystery, but clearly, the leafleting had an impact.