Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ignorance is bliss

Here's a summary of the Toronto Humane Society annual general meeting held yesterday:
Ignore, deny, repeat

I think I recognize that meeting strategy from the CIA school of media management (or some such thing).

As expected, all five of Trow's candidates got in since he had over 700 proxy votes under his control - which just goes to show that an uninformed, thoughtless membership is just as dangerous as any autocrat.

A big part of the problem with the THS is a membership that continues to donate money to and support an organization without knowing what that money or authority is being used for, without demanding improvements, without even bothering to ask any questions. It's easy enough to drop a few dollars into an envelope to help oneself feel good but that doesn't mean it's helping any animals.

Articles about what's been happening at the THS have been published in all four of Toronto's papers. There's also something called Google where if someone types in the words Toronto Humane Society, there will be about 100,000 hits with some of the most prominent links leading to stories detailing the problems at the institution. Or, if the internet is unavailable or unfamiliar then a member can always pay a visit to the THS, walk around, look, ask questions.

Ignorance on this issue is no excuse especially if that ignorance leads to harm. It's like buying blood diamonds from Africa. Ignorance at this point in time is no longer an excuse.

Voting members at the THS should be required to be active participants in the organization even if that means just stepping into the facility once a year to check it out to see if it's doing what it's supposed to be doing. That would be the first step towards an informed membership and not just one that buys feel good credits.

For people who just want to donate money, no strings attached - fine, but no voting priviledges for them. And you know what? I bet they wouldn't even care. Seriously, if they don't care enough to stay informed, why would they care who's running the place? I know this verges on being politically incorrect and that it may seem like some kind of radical departure from some people's ideas of the way a charity should be run but as it is right now, the management at the THS could turn the place into a pet store or a mini-putt course or a parking lot and the majority of the voting membership would still likely support them.

The only time a democracy works well is when the populace has access to the truth otherwise the government could just make up all sorts of lies to keep people from acting up. That's why a strong, independent media is so important. That's why a fact based, secular education is so important. The only time an ignorant populace is desirable is when the governing body wants to stay unchallenged in power.

It's the same for the THS. An uninformed, complacent membership may be good for the people at the top to stay at the top, regardless of who that may be, now or in the future, but that's not a good thing for the creatures under their roof. Generally, board members who want to maintain power just to bolster their egos or their resumes are looking out for themselves first and the animals second, if at all. These power for power's sake personality types may be happy with a see no evil, hear no evil membership but that works against the prime function of a humane society which is to look after the welfare of animals. A directorship should not be used for the sole purpose of giving someone bragging rights.

Voting members need to stay informed. They should be required to stay informed. Do-gooders who do no good are no help to the animals in need.

The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star both have articles covering the AGM, here and here. The THS Protest Group has its summary here and there is also a write up at Social Mange.


Joanne said...

And I guess the membership will remain as is since the link to apply for membership seems to have been disabled......hahahahhahahha...that is too funneeeee!! Guess I will have to call their donations line (the only one answered by a real live person) and ask for a membership form..hahahahahahha. What a pile of bozos, boobs and bimbos....

Social Mange said...

Really good post.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of diagreement over the validity of Tim's proxies. For one, as is evident from rejections of critics, he has had years to whittle away critics. There is no way to verify that proxy-holders are legitimate or hwether or not there is fraud involved - the returning officer (Singer) has only to verify that they are on the list PROVIDED BY TROW. Finally, the THS conceals material facts, provides questionable financial statements and materials.
With that said, the members would vote for whoever solicited them for a proxy, for Tim's new Unicorn Sanctuary ("because endangered mythical creatures deperately need our help") if asked. Half of them don't ever give their proxy at all, and don't ever come to meetings.
Non-share capital corporations are especially susceptible to people like Trow and once they are in, it's hard to get them out.
Hey, start your own charity - pay yourself and your friends, issue tax-deductible receipts, bill the charity for reasonable expenses like a fact-finding mission to the whorehouses of Cancun. Lie, cheat and steal, do whatever the hell you like to as many people and animals as you want, get caught and get a slap on the wrist because you're a white collar criminal.

THS_Protest said...

We've just posted Part One of our thoughts about the AGM on our blog.

If you care about the fiasco known as the THS please apply to become a member. Get your friends and family to apply as well. We need a strong, educated membership to make any changes at the THS.

Filling out the online form on the THS website (the link is currently disabled) is not applying for membership. It is simply a request for a membership application and more information.

Please apply. You can email the protest group at and we will email you a membership application.

We are doing a HUGE membership drive and need all the help we can get.