6 January

It’s Time: Let’s Get Joshua Rockwood’s Horses And Life Back Right Now!

by Jon Katz

Get Joshua's Horses BackHunter And His Pony. Time for them to be together.


The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

We are very close. Joshua Rockwood urgently needs at least $9,000 this week to get his three horses back, try to clear his name and get on with his life. You can help here.

It was about a year ago, at the tail end of the century’s worst winter cold, that the police in Glenville, N.Y., spurred by the secret informers of the animal rights movement, raided Joshua’s farm, upended his life, threatened him with jail, traumatized his family, trashed his reputation, and charged him with 13 counts of animal cruelty. They impounded his horses, including Romeo, above, his son Hunter’s pony.

My farrier and friend Ken Norman, a lifelong rescuer of horses, called the charges “bullshit misdemeanors,” and the more I know about the case, the more generous I think Ken was.

Today, important news from West Wind Acres Farm and from the struggle of this decent young farmer to get back to his life. He has the chance to get his three horses back – Romeo, Juliette, and Sydney. But he needs help, the year has drained him emotionally and financially. In America, justice is expensive. If he can raise $9,000 this week, he can get his horses back. He might just get his life back as well.

The horses, seized and taken to a nearby horse rescue facility,  will be able to come home to Joshua and his two children, and resume their free and healthy lives on West Wind Acres, his 90-acre farm. The horse return is part of ongoing negotiations that I am not privy to, and not at liberty to write about.

If they are successful, Joshua may soon be able to put this nightmare behind him and return to his great passion for farming, for raising healthy food for people in his community to eat. I believe every true lover of farmers, animals and justice will be pleased if we can help him this one last time.

Joshua is an ethical farmer, and a passionate defender of the environment. He is the future of food, the environment, the future of animals. He also speaks for decency and integrity. He could have run from this nightmare a long time ago, he choose to stand and fight for his truth. And for ours. It is essential for Joshua’s horses to be returned. His case has generated enormous concern and support all over the country. More than 2,000 people have already aided his gofundme project, which has helped him to pay his legal fees, keep his farm, and make improvements for this winter and beyond. He needs one final burst of help, he can take it from here.

I know Joshua Rockwood well, I have spent many hours with him, talk to him often, have been to his farm a half-dozen times and attended each of his court hearings. I can speak from the heart and tell you he has never abused an animal and would not.  While billions of animals languish and are ignored living in horrific conditions on giant industrial factory farms, Joshua’s animals range freely, have fresh water, shade and shelter on a beautiful farm.

His animals are healthy, well-cared for, live free-range on pasture, feed on grass and high quality feed. Before the police raids, two veterinarians inspected his animals and found them healthy and hydrated.

Joshua was caught in the deepening conflict between some elements of the animal rights movement and many farmers and animal lovers and good people who work with animals. The increasingly extreme, angry and disconnected goals of the animal rights so-called activists threaten to radically and ignorantly redefine the very nature and definition of abuse. In recent years, the animal rights movement more closely resembles a hate group or rogue militia than a movement to promote animal welfare.
If they weren’t so wealthy, and didn’t have so much money to shower on lawmakers and politicians, they would be a joke.

If Joshua was accused of murder, he could face his accusers. In the inverted moral world of animal rights, his accusers will never be known to him, they will never have to take responsibility for the damage they have wrought on a good and innocent man.

They are not a joke. They are making it more and more fraught to get animals and keep them among us.  They operate outside of the law, of science, or any sense of truth and justice. They do not believe animals should be owned by us or work with us. If you love animals, or are a farmer,  you have a compelling reason to help Joshua. If they can do it to him, they can do it to you.

Joshua’s horses were not abused any more than the New York Carriage Horses or most of the elephants in the circus. You can help him restore some rationality and justice by donating here.

Joshua’s case is important.

Our emotionalizing of animals and ignorance about them, and our growing disconnection with the natural world has caused us to lose our understanding of the real lives of animals and their needs. We are abusing people in the name of protecting animals. People like Joshua.  In the name of protecting their rights, animals are being taken from us in awful and growing numbers – just consider Joshua’s horses. In America, stealing horses used to be a serious crime.

In standing up for himself, Joshua is standing up for all of us, for every farmer, horse or dog owner, carriage driver or animal lover who wishes to work with animals or keep them in our lives.

Joshua has stood his lonely and difficult ground all year for us as well as for himself. His wish is that what happened to him – he is accused of having frozen water tanks in – 27 temperatures and not having a heated barn  – not happen to anyone else. His horses should never have been taken from him. It is outrageous that he has to pay thousands of dollars to get them back, it could have been much more. But that is the world we live in, and if we band together, we can help him get through it.

Joshua’s family needs healing as well. His children have heard that their father is a criminal, his face splashed all over TV, his wife Stephanie is afraid to let his sons play alone outside for fear one of the photo-snapping informers who prowl by their house and farm will call the police and try to take their children away. And the family has suffered enough, they lost a young daughter to an awful chronic disease just a few years ago.

I hope you can join with me and many good farmers in helping Joshua get his horses back. He needs $9,000 soon, by the end of the week if he is to conclude his negotiations for his own farm and liberty, and for his horses to return to his farm and family, where they belong. Joshua’s case has awakened the farming community to the power of social media, because of him the next farmer to be targeted in this cruel and thoughtless way will know how to ask for help. And get some.

What happened to Joshua Rockwood was wrong, in almost every respect. He is open and ethical, a diligent farmer, a loving husband and father. Let’s help put his life back together again, we are so very close. On the gofund me page, you will see that farmers and good people from everywhere have donated more than $61,000 this year to help him in this fight. That money is gone, spent wisely and in ways that were necessary. If not for you, Joshua would have lost his farm and  much more.

Joshua hates to ask for help or money, but i know he needs more than $9,000 to ultimately be whole again, to rebuild  his business, to get his horses back, clear his name and get on with  his life. Thanks. We are very close. You can help here.

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