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When there is an unpleasant reputation around something, one way to reshape public perception is by changing the common terminology used. For example, when West Side business people of New York City wanted to erase the rough and crime-ridden reputation of the historic neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, they declared it should be known as “Clinton.”
This effort followed a double murder in 1959 in the neighborhood. Over the next decades, some adopted Clinton, but Hell’s Kitchen largely remains the neighborhood’s common name among residents.
There is a movement in the equine industry pushing for a public relations name-makeover with unwanted horses.
The American Horse Council (AHC), the equine industry’s largest trade organization and lobby group, is substituting the terms “horses in transition and at-risk horses” for “unwanted horses.” The AHC has renamed and refocused the Unwanted Horse Coalition, its wing dedicated to the issue, the “United Horse Coalition” and has begun by urging equine media to adopt the new terminology.
No thorough qualifications have been given to what the two terms mean. I’m not sure if this is their intention, but a horse in transition isn’t unwanted. In fact, I would argue transition is the stage in which there is a previous career followed by a new role. I would think of the flexibility of Thoroughbreds that move from the track to a sport horse discipline or backyard companion. Definitely wanted, just going through a career change.
“At-risk horses” could be the broad term for horses…