Horse News

Respected Equine Advocate Speaks Out on Social Media Slander and Defamation

Guest OpEd by John Holland ~ president of Equine Welfare Alliance

Adolescent Behavior Stuns Advocacy

EWA President John Holland presenting Congressman Jim Moran with commemorative award during the International Equine Conference 2011 ~

EWA President John Holland presenting Congressman Jim Moran with commemorative award during the International Equine Conference 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

For the past week, various Facebook pages have been full of wild claims and speculation regarding the resignation of a EWA board member. We have not commented on this resignation because it is our policy, like every reputable organization, to keep board matters confidential.

We have worked very hard to become a respected organization that provides accurate information in an unemotional context. This is the reason that we can now be accepted as a source at legal proceedings, in legislative hearings and by the press.

We have therefore stated only that it is against our policy to become involved in any way with public attacks on other animal welfare organizations or in supporting them against such attacks. It is our position that these attacks, justified or not, serve only to undermine the credibility of our entire movement.

We have repeatedly been asked whether the requested resignation was the result of our supporting AC4H. No, it was not, nor did it involve a single incident.

Now that I have been personally attacked for over a week, I have many wonderful examples of why this sort of facebook vigilantism is so destructive to the image of our movement and to its cohesiveness. People have speculated wildly and recklessly about a situation of which they know absolutely nothing. They have been willing to believe that I would suddenly, and with no justification, ask for the resignation of a board member and then offered completely irrelevant material as proof.

For example, a photo of me standing with Christy Sheidy was offered as proof that I support her. A few posts later someone recognized that the picture was from a 2008 anti-slaughter conference in Washington, and was one of dozens of pictures of me and other participants standing together. So the image proved only that Christy Sheidy and I had both taken the time and effort to attend an anti-slaughter conference.

Furthermore, publicly calling people names like Crusty Sheidy or Christy Shady is so adolescent as to make me cringe. We do not need this kind of discourse at any level, against anyone, and to imagine that it somehow helps the horses is delusional.

The posting of a public notice of a tax lien was given as the reason for dismissal. Posting public documents is acceptable and commonplace. However, I might mention that it was posted with a comment stating that it proved AC4H had not declared income from its broker program – a comment intended to invite controversy. That comment turned out not to be true and is typical of the kind of thing that makes people question the accuracy of other information being provided. Still, it was far from the reason for this entire debacle.

Let me put it bluntly. This kind of war is moronic and of utterly no help to the horses at all. While a river of horses go over the borders, countless hours are being wasted on a McCarthyesque witch hunt to see if this person or that supports an operation that is already under investigation by authorities and all but totally defunct. People I have known and worked with for years have somehow lost all reason and joined in this blood sport without asking “What is to be gained and what could be lost?”

I do see where some people have injected interesting facts such as the point that I was one of the first people to question whether it wouldn’t be better to buy horses by bidding against kill buyers rather than buying them from kill buyers and thus putting money in their pockets.

But let me suggest we think deeper. We all regard the kill buyers with disdain, but even if we bought every horse out from under them at auction we would still be stuck with the problem because it would merely enrich those doing the over-breeding and dumping the horses! We can’t rescue our way out of slaughter folks.

Finally, I must point out that this former board member has decided to divulge and embellish confidential board discussions in hopes that it would embarrass EWA and add to her support. That is both unethical and illegal, and speaks to the individual’s understanding of the duties of a board of directors.

Now having read this, each of you are free to go back to banging out useless flaming posts in hopes of collecting “likes” (whatever they are worth) or working with us to end the slaughter and abuse of American horses. Which will it be?

John Holland

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Categories: Horse News

35 replies »

  1. Proof that there are two sides to every story. I have the utmost respect for Jo-Claire Corcoran and all the work she does for the benefit of our horses. I am proud to have her as a friend and honored to be able to help her efforts from time to time.

    I also believe EWA is one of the best equine advocacy organizations we have. I hope this divide can be healed and we can all move forward towards passing the SAFE Act.


  2. Thanks for the objective voice of reason and reminding people that this all takes away from the energy needed to save horses. Since the authorities are involved, I don’t understand it. Rescue drama does far more harm than good and it’s always the horses that suffer.


  3. We need to ALL proceed with due diligence. I believe that both sides have things right. Who and what they are is right now a mystery.

    Wen need to proceed on the line that we will not rot from the inside out. All of this is pretty much at the top of leadership of anti slaughter.

    Personally I like both John and Jo-Claire. It’s very difficult to watch the fighting. I try to stay clear by not commenting. Ultimately this whole thing is a distraction and is very ugly to watch.


  4. I’m not an insider and was not aware of this conflict at all, or those involved, until reading this post by Mr. Holland. However, it does not explain what ACH4 is, which would be helpful for a general post such as this which references that it is somehow implicated.


  5. Exactly, Margaret. We have never been involved in controversy on facebook or any public media. She chose to take a private board issue – public and we just got tired of seeing the false information about our support of AC4H being repeated over and over again. She could have walked away saying she resigned and that would have been the end of it rather than create a facebook circus that only further divides advocates and does nothing to help the horses. We never expected to see such unprofessional behavior.


    • I couldn’t agree more, Vicki. What is the point of making a very ugly flame war on Facebook? It certainly does nothing to help any horses. It makes me very sad. And disappointed in some that I did have great respect for.
      This is all I have to say.


  6. Birds of a feather flock together. Looks like who chooses to roost together, will tell a lot about character. Tha pigeons have scattered watch where they land. Don’t feed the pigeons.


  7. What bothers me is the need to bring up the phrase…”prompt legal action”. As an outsider I have no real understand of the issues here, but if there is a truth to come out of either side, the threat of a court preceding can have the effect of never finding the truth because the truth will be decided by how much money you have. Many have faded away just because they can not face the leviathan that has the money to back their claims. How does a legal proceeding help the plight of the horses?. The lawyers get rich & laugh all the way to the bank…the money could be better spent on helping horses rather than building monuments to bruised egos….


  8. Sorry John, you don’t need this kind of crap now or any other time. People have become so mean, they don’t care.
    Take Care


  9. Is asking what “AC4H” means a allowed inquiry? I don’t know what this is, or am aware of any of this controversy. I don’t do any social media—-probably a rarity in today’s world—it takes up so much time and seems often to devolve into this sort of character assassination.


    • It stands for Another Chance 4 Horses. I won’t comment on their activities one way or another. They are horse brokers. You can google them and read and make up your own mind whether you think what AC4H is doing is good or bad. I won’t comment one way or another as I’ve not had dealings, nor do I personally know anyone has. The majority opinion seems to be that they are somewhat shady in their dealings but as we frequently see the majority can be going of rumor and innuendo.


  10. One thing I do know, you will never find a more dedicated, compassionate and loyal supporter of our equines, wild or domestic, than John. His dedication to pursing the truth is to be admired and respected, period! Let’s move on and take care of the real issue…the welfare and future of our wild horses.


  11. Why is it taking so long to get The S.A..F. E. Act passed, Seems we have been trying to stop horse slaughter and killing our horses in Canada and Mexico for years now when will it end?


    • Not enough co-sponsors in Congress and it is put in committees that have pro slaughter politicians as the committee head. Instead of being able to get the bill out of committee, it languishes there due to inaction.


      • The only time that the slaughter ban bill has gotten out of Committee and into the House for a vote was in 2006. (Hoping this link posts: It happened in 2006 because T. Boone Pickens pulled strings with the Speaker of the House. Yet the bill still died in the Senate. Powerful Ag-supported Senators, both Democrat and Republican, have no interest in angering their base.

        In my opinion, after 2-1/2 years of dedicated research, this can only change with a power (money) shift. Joe Biden’s recent support to defund the USDA’s horse slaughter inspection budget in 2014 reveals, perhaps, a tiny glimmer of hope.


      • The wild equines are being removed for extraction interests and some agricultural faux interests….oh, and water hogs.

        The issue of HCHS is all about convenience and a buck….Obama is a great disappointment. However, the rape of wild equines and land, in addition to the peddling of dirty food is all about money and special interests…been going on for ever.


      • Senator Reid views horse slaughter as a method of eradicating a species that is in is way as he arranges to use natural resource wealth from public lands to be awarded to people who share his ideological beliefs. They, in turn, people who are willing to fur their candidates or groups that support their candidicates get first access to natural resources.


  12. I’m sorry this happened within EWA and sorry it became public. I support the works of EWA, John Holland and Jo-Claire. I’m not going to get involved with the personal stuff. I will keep plugging away for the horses. Beyond that I don’t wish to get involved.


  13. Before I left the Alex Brown Racing (ABR) message board, I gave money to many initiatives, including AC4H. I stopped because of one major situation and the ongoing controversy with AC4H and a few other “rescues” and efforts.

    Eventually I left ABR altogether….for a reason.

    I got tired of the cat fights and so called equine advocates eating their own or the fact that it was their way or the highway or better yet, crooks.

    I don’t know the situation with Jo-Claire or John…what I do know is that EWA has been silent on this private situation and the opposition has not. EWA makes a difference.

    I only know that if one really cared about equines and beating the enemy of all humans and animals, they wouldn’t spend so much time on NOTHING!

    If you are bashing EWA, then you are not helping equines.


    • I want to also add, I NEVER ran around on internet boards defaming any rescue, initiative or cause that is truly for the equines….I just didn’t give money or moral support any further.


  14. This “controversy” has shaken me to the core. I highly respect John Holland.
    Jo-Claire Corcoran has worked diligently as a EWA board member. Both are passionate about horses and anti-slaughter. However, I agree with the statement by Mr. Holland regarding the status and professionalism EWA has endeavored to obtain over the years:

    “We have worked hard to become a respected organization that provides
    accurate information in an unemotional context. This is the reason that
    we can now be accepted as a source of legal proceedings, in legislative
    hearings and by the press.”

    EWA is an bona fide organization, not a loosely organized group. Hence, the board members need to follow the mission statement of EWA. It seems logical that board members cannot separate from the cohesive whole, EWA, with personal agendas. If so, this reflects back to the “flagship,” EWA.

    Where was there any indication that EWA was supportive of AC4H? Again, it appears logical and valid that AC4H cannot be removed from EWA membership until the ongoing legal investigation has come to a final verdict.

    As to the so-called proof that Mr. Holland is supportive of Christy Sheidy & AC4H because he is in a photo with her, well, this is “rabble-rousing.” If one wanted to explore further & verify, this photo was taken at an Americans Against Horse Slaughter conference & lobbying event in Washington, DC, March 2008. Over 100 advocates attended. Most, including John Holland, had their photo taken with persons attending. I saw, I was there.

    Now the inflammatory, hideous circus is expanding. Very importantly, pro-slaughter is having a heyday with all this!

    The integrity of EWA and Mr. Holland needs to be maintained. Both have done more for our horses and anti-slaughter, than many realize. We must never take out of our mind’s eye the images and knowledge of the horse slaughter pipeline and the agonizing voyage to heinous hell.


  15. The best thing legitimate equine welfare advocates can do is to keep supporting legitimate groups, while exposing the others. I had a personal interaction with some groups, including AC4H, that were less than up front. Rescue scams are a huge problem, as they divert money that could have been used to help, and also cast a bad light on the good ones. I don’t know the specific issues being addressed here, but professionalism should be foremost, and sometimes speaking like this seems just as’juvenile’ .


  16. There is something else to be considered here. BEWARE on social media networks.
    As John has pointed out, the Horse slaughter industry is just the tip of the iceberg. Tremendous amounts of money are being spent to discredit those who oppose it. We have all witnessed that.
    Most readers are probably already aware of this, but it bears repeating.

    Phishing: A Very Dangerous Cyber Threat

    New fraud schemas take advantage of a fundamental aspect of the new social media, the trust. Infecting a node in these complex networks makes it possible to compromise entire groups of individuals, exploiting their mutual trust in contents and links they post.

    Phishing schemas can be more or less complicated. Many variants of the attack are described in the literature. Here are some of the most famous ones:

    User receives deceptive email messages that appear to be sent from a legitimate source, such as a business partner, that contain an explicit request to verify account information with a web service, without which the account will be suspended.

    Users are encouraged to visit fake websites that can be similar in appearance to legitimate sites. When a user visits the compromised website, malicious software can be downloaded automatically to his computer. Typically, the malware installed records the credentials used by the users to access to target services (e.g., banking), sending them to the command and control servers managed by the

    User receives messages from false charities that request direct donations in cash.
    Users of a social network platform receive messages, apparently from the platform, that contain a link leading them to a compromised website. The compromised website could download a malicious application onto the victim’s machine to steal sensible information or it could offer a web form that appears to belong to a legitimate site that request authentication data. This form of phishing is also known as social phishing.

    Users receive phone calls that claim to originate from legitimate organizations or private businesses and that ask him to dial a phone number because of problems with his bank accounts or other services. When the user calls a phone number that is managed by the attacker, it prompts said user to enter his account numbers and authentication code. Vishing (voice phishing) in many cases uses fake caller ID data to trick the user about the real origin of the call


  17. I’m sorry John Holland that you have to waste your time with people who cloud the real issue with their nonsense & misinformation. I hope not many Horses lost their lives due to this waste of time.


    • Linda M:

      Well, US Equines have continued to lose their lives and humans poisoned….but know EWA feels it is important to deal with disgruntled ex board member because ex board member is letting supporters rail at the cost of equines publicly and to the joy of the killers; but let the ego be satiated.

      I speak for myself…not EWA.


  18. Two Things: I stayed away from this one. There are two many people with various possible thoughts on the subject and without personal knowledge of the situation most of which is not to be revealed because of the EWA Board’s trust to keep information confidential. Second this issue brings a NEW SPOT light on Who is REALLY wanting to STOP slaughter. Yes we understand the bitter name calling does no good, we also understand that when divided we shall fail. We cannot stand on one side or other side divided…and there’s been a lot of division over the past year. WE ARE THE PEOPLE, that means that we have to accept shortcomings, rule out issues that are negative and dangerous to the horses, and forge ahead together. The truth is that Strength comes More from What and How you say anything and if your words are truly wasted on the pity issues and the people who cause stumbles along the way then we lose valuable time. There is no Amount of likes on a page, or any connections to be made that could prove a long term source of strength and help for the horses that could be worth spending time banging our heads. Some times I post things myself with the hope that if you look deep into the posts you will see the heart of the matter is simply WE are ALL here to Save their Lives. Sometimes as in this case, people let the horses down, and they let other people down, but reserve the drama and the headaches for the other side. The proof is more in the reality of your intent. I risked my entire business, even had to close it for a period of time because of the horse slaughter issue-my own business partner sided with slaughter-never told that one to you…but that was a game changer-you walk away from some things without opening the door to the drama online. The shop has a mission, my son who is 5 yrs old laid it out on the line for me, you haven’t lost everything you still have your heart, my love, and our horse. So Our shop will reopen in the very near future-but you only cut ties, you put the facts out there, but don’t strip people to the bone in public. WE are all a bundle of nerves about how the hell we’ll save the horses from slaughter, but we keep marching onward. Do you know that when something interrupts your life its how you handle it that makes you stronger, better, and more diligent, it teaches you who you know as a friend, who you can trust, and what you need the most. If you gain nothing from RT’s article: take that he is doing his job, he is willing to put the horses before anything else, and that no matter what he wont sacrifice that for anyone. As for us, we are still repairing saddles, tack, and harnesses. Lots of dying of leather….I trust that the truth will set us free, but in this case with this issue above lets just let the truth rest and work towards justice for the World’s horses, lets pull together and make a mark on the Horse Industry that is one of compassion, and if you have something to say-yes, I often do…then make it a point to make a point. Please folks keep perspective as RT has explained…..and if you have any thing left to share about this issue try to keep it on the QT. There are horses waiting every day for the last day of their life and its not the way it should be……and WE have to stop this. I wont jump on the train, but it doesn’t go unnoticed…..just suffice it to say-this is about finding out who the friends of horses truly are-lets leave it at that.


  19. The US Senate is the very reason that none of the anti-slaughter bills have passed nor will any new ones ever pass. The reason is crooked politicians like Senator John Cornyn of TX and numerous others. Cornyn is given hundreds of thousands of dollars toward his reelection campaigns more than most of the other senators from what I can find out. He has money coming in from all the ranchers in TX including quarter horse breeders of which are the number one horses found on the slaughter trucks along with TBs. This includes brood mares that are quickly dumped at auctions if the breeder can’t make enough money off the foals or if the mare does not breed again. These animals are treated like a commodity because it is run as a business, the business goes under with out sales just like a car lot. What happens to the horses is of no consequence to these people if it is not bringing in money it goes to the auction. These breeders know who all of the kill buyers are locally so it is easy for them to make a call set a price for the horses and the buyer comes out and picks them up. This is one of the ways that horses end up slaughtered that never were at a auction. Cornyn also has large amounts of money coming in from lobbyists representing the racing industry and other vested interests. Every time I leave a comment on this blog I try to tell folks that the Safe Act will not pass because of the Senate there are just to many crooks in office.


  20. Not to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and many others. However, consider that the Ag Appropriations exclusion for funding USDA inspections DID get through this year. Why? Probably due to Joe Biden’s help. Biden was informed and lobbied by Victoria McCullough and Joe Abruzzo (

    Who has the chops to work alongside Victoria McCullough? Well, John Holland ( Since heavy hitters on the horses’ side are so sparse, and there’s so much money and influence piled up against them, it’d be real nice if this episode of Mean Girls and “who spoke to who in the hallway” was over with quickly.


  21. Bottom line…ac4h is a scam. They are under investigation by the FBI. In fact april 30th last year in an early morning raid the FBI kicked their doors in and with guns drawn ordered them face down on the floor while they proceeded to take computers, cell phones and boxes of paperwork out of their single wide trailer that they live in and use for their office. That was well documented in the news and a fact that christy sheidy freely admitted on her fb page. Thousands of people have been scammed out of money by them. The FBI does not trifle with people over a few health certs as stated by ms sheidy. In being so disparaging to people who ask a question of EWA, if they are supporting ac4h…it does make one wonder if they in fact do support them as a rescue. If EWA is in fact so against horse slaughter then why defend, even tacitly, an organization that is a large part of the slaughter pipeline? ac4h is a scam and has sent many horses to canada in the trailers of their very good friend…. killbuyer brian moore. Do your research people!


    • Lainie we are NOT saying that there is not an issue, we are saying we are taking a tactful approach to the situation. There are many things that have come to light and the less time in wasted and allow the FBI and the Judge to handle the situation is best. The EWA is doing its designated job and not trying to propaganda a legal situation and draw away from the ACTUAL issues. We can stomp out one maggot at a time, but there are eggs everywhere and there will be more flies on the horse carcasses so let’s please try to make sure you we are spending any more time on one bug than we have to when we need to clean out their breeding ground and stop the issue of piling dead carcasses. So please, let the FBI do their job and the REST of US need to continue to stand in OUR own right in our own way and work for the best interest of the Horse Industry and the horses themselves. Look we are all laying everything on the line here, so a few bad apples will make bad choices and fall by the wayside. It’s how we handle the situation that makes the outcome of what they did mean anything. So please lets work against the REAL enemy, the slaughter industry-then it will put all the smarmy people out of business and the horses once again will be free. Keep the angry suspicions but put them ahead of us in the fight Against horse slaughter, and when its all over, then you can point all the fingers you wish!


  22. I respect John Holland and all the points he has made. My only argument would be that we all focus on KEEPING horses from the auction or the feedlot, long before they end up there by being boots on the ground to lend a helping hand to a struggling horse owner (yes…even those we consider less than honorable). I hear too many complain about this one or that one, while spending countless hours in social media, and not one minute rolling up their sleeves to be boots on the ground to help. IT’S ABOUT THE INNOCENT and we must all do whatever it takes to keep them from the hands of the irresponsible, the financially distressed and most of all, the EVIL! It takes courage to stand up for the voiceless innocent. Social media is NOT a form of courage. It’s just like irresponsible breeding…only the womb is the MOUTH unattached to the brain or the character!!!


  23. In the real world people are allowed to diversify, disagree and have opinions. We may not like what others think or how they perceive however we have to accept that that is human life and march onward for causes that we believe in. Bickering amongst organizations or individuals is nothing new and if we want change for horses we have to rise above the ego and unite. Put the horses first – their lives are at stake – didn’t anybody remember that? THOSE HORSES LIVES ARE DESTINED FOR DEATH, got it? As relative newcomers we cant believe the EGOS that act so supreme as if they and they alone can stop horse slaughter. Clearly some of those egos have no idea what corporations are: Power houses that are more powerful than governments and in case some of you missed this – governments and corporations have a permanent hand shake – only the public who are becoming so desensitized to the rights of other life beings, can shake and rattle those entities.
    We don’t take sides – unless its for the horses – so none of these comments are intended for anyone. You want to help a horse? Then swallow your ego, do your bit for the good and start praying.


  24. Not sure what happened, but I would simply say that a good not for profit governance model would document all board meeting minutes and make them available to the members \ supporters. This would be the job of the Secretary of the corporation. I speak from experience that nothing said in a board meeting should be deemed confidential or kept form the folks who support the organization. Just my 2 cents.


  25. I think the problem with the S.A.F.E. Act is two-fold. First, it seems to be exactly the aproach we should be taking to end horse slaughter, but the way the WTO and NAFTA work, it is not the responsibility of the seller’s country to prove that the product is safe. That responsibility is on the importing country.

    Second, there is the public policy paper I found written by the master manipulator of the horse as non-native species that suggested that it would be a bad idea to eat any species that you are trying to get rid of because it adds economic value to the species. The horses protected by the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act were mentioned specifically.


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