Late last night, I got into an argument on an ex-pat forum with a woman who was trying to sell her horse. That bit was okay, except she was trying to do it without papers. The horse has no legal recognition in France. Its identity is not known to Haras Nationaux or the IFCE. Its owner is not registered.
She admitted in her first post that it was going cheap because it had no paperwork. Therefore, she realised that not having paperwork was something she really should have. If she had spent 40€ to get the paperwork, her horse would have got double that she was asking for it.
This drives me up the wall. It’s 40€. That’s all. It’s just cheap. I’d have paid it to get her horse registered if she’d have asked for charity. If she can’t pay because she’s too poor and that’s why she’s selling the horse, why the hell did she arrive here 5 months ago with several horses? When you have animals or kids, they have got to be your first responsibility. They HAVE GOT TO BE because they depend on you. No matter how poor we get, the boy, the chickens, the dogs and the cat come first. I’d have the internet cut off first.
It brings me to two questions. Why are people so reckless when they decide to move? And why are people mad at you when you’re right, coming out with the most ludicrous arguments?
As to the first, this woman can’t possibly have checked out the regulations in France. This means one of several things. Either she’s too lazy and irresponsible, or she can’t read French. I take it to be the first because even Google Translate makes a fair job of translating the right pages and takes one click. In fact, Google Chrome’s extension will do this automatically for you. And still on the recklessness, though she says she’s been here five months, she can’t have (and she admitted this) seen a vet.
Her logic for this when I challenged her was that she ‘knows’ horses. Really? I asked if she was a vet. No, she said. Just a keen horsewoman. Really! I work with people every single day and I’m not a doctor. But because I know people and I’m a keen student of the human form (well, Sean Bean’s, anyway) does that make me qualified to know whether the boy is ill or down in the mouth? Am I able to decide whether his tummy ache is appendicitis or wind? Obviously, according to her logic, I am.
Not only that, but the boy can talk. Or grunt. If he’s sick, he tells me. Animals don’t. The first thing I did when we got Tilly and Saffy was take them to the vet. Unfortunately, with Saffy I wasn’t quick enough to get her to the vet and that’s something I’ll always regret. Even with Tilly, her ears smelt a bit manky and I took her to the vet. It was a ‘catastrophe!’ according to him. She wasn’t bothered by them. She wasn’t itching or rubbing them. She’d seen him in December and again in February about them. By May they were really bad.
Now I’m not saying that this woman’s horses are ill. What I am saying is that you need a vet’s opinion of things and diagnosis shouldn’t be just done by someone who has no training. In all fairness, the horses in her care could be like Molly who is rarely ill. She just needs her jabs (done) and flea treatment. Also, in fairness, you CAN tell SOMETIMES when an animal is ill. But like Tilly, sometimes you can’t tell when something has gone from fairly normal in spaniels to being a ‘catastrophe!’
I’m also saying that a horse is a bit more than a dog and needs more specialised care. And if I’d brought a horse over a thousand miles, I’d want to know it was okay and I’d probably ask a vet to come out and have a once over. All of these things are expensive, which is why I don’t have a horse, though I’d really, really love one. I’d also love more dogs and more cats and more chickens and goats and sheep but I can’t afford to feed them and have them checked out.
I think the combination of lack of vet care and lack of simple fact checking means that I’d – perhaps erroneously – put her into the ‘lazy’ and ‘reckless’ category.
I pointed out (to my disadvantage, because I got really insulted!) that horse registration is compulsory because it protects the owner, the buyer and the horse itself. More importantly, it creates a way for the French bean counters to estimate stuff and work out what to tax and so on – but that’s by the by.
For an owner, the transfer of paperwork means you know where your horse is going. I still can’t believe there are people who don’t check out the homes their animals are going to, but that’s perhaps just me. The cats’ previous owner was sooo concerned about where they’d be living and how, and wanted to see photos. I’d be the same. Tilly’s owner couldn’t have given a stuff. We could have been a vivisection laboratory and she wouldn’t have cared or bothered to find out. I could have been a psychotic taxidermist looking for new subjects. It also means you know your horse is still in the system and that should something happen, the new owner can be prosecuted for it. A horse without papers can be sitting in a field, ill, and should the SPA come and enquire, its new owner can deny everything.
For a buyer, it means you know you aren’t buying a stolen horse. Would you buy a car without a VIN and without the paperwork??! You just KNOW there’s no good reason for a car not to have a VIN and not to have any paperwork. If there were no paperwork, I could sell any horse in a field and run off with the money. It’d be a great way to make a few thousand quid.
But it was her reaction that really got to me. She’s doing something she knows isn’t right – otherwise, she wouldn’t have said ‘it’s got no paperwork, hence the low price’ and when I say it’s illegal to buy a horse without paperwork, she says I’m rude and have a tone.
Her post said this: “however since him coming over to France I haven’t obtained French papers for him, hence I’m asking a fair price for him to go to a loving home. Price: 400 Euros” – so she knows she’s supposed to have French papers – that such things exist.
I said: ” I suggest you get him registered. It’s illegal to sell a horse in France without registration.”
She then asked if she could give him away… I kind of think money worries are at the heart of this, which makes me feel for the three other horses she still has.
Someone else added:
You can’t legally give him away either, as you can’t complete the ‘change of ownership’ papers, if you aren’t the registered owner in the first place!
It is a legal requirement for all equids in france to be micro-chipped and registered with the HN – and for every horse ‘keeper’ to be registered as such as well. When an equid is sold (or given away…) the relevant change of ownership forms should be completed and sent to the HN, in order for them to update their records. Every registered ‘keeper’ of equids (which is a seperate registration and that person may not necessarily be the owner) has an on-line account with the NH, where information as to the location of each animal is recorded – this information must also be updated if the animal is moved and kept elsewhere.”
But then we were both accused of being unhelpful and that our comments were ‘useless’ – and that she was looking for advice. Well, excuse me for pointing out that someone trying to SELL a horse, not someone looking for advice, is doing so illegally. I’d pointed her in the direction of IFCE and HN and she said she wanted more ‘hand-holding’. I’m sorry that someone who trades in illegal horses wants their hand holding. Shame the horse hasn’t got someone who cares enough about it to find out what the situation is. Hence why they NEED registration.
What really got my goat was the ‘well I didn’t know’ line of argument. And the line of argument that said ‘I didn’t need to do this in Holland’.
Oh, I’m sorry! I’ll start selling marijuana on the site then, shall I? After all, it’s fine in Amsterdam. What about selling cars with no VIN? How about guns?
You might think I’m being melodramatic. I probably am. In the eyes of the law, though, illegal horse trading is the same as illegal weapons trading or illegal vehicle trading. They’re all ILLEGAL and punishable, if not by fines and restrictions, then by prison.
FFS. Where the hell is common sense when you come down to it?? It really, really gets my goat when someone acts all hard-done-to when they’re in the wrong and someone else points it out. Oh poor me. Hold my hand.