Social media haters in full voice while PM in Paris


If one ever needed an example of the toxicity of social media then here it is. So far there do not seem to be any white supremacists involved but the hurt is very real regardless.

Someone rescues an old horse from the knacker’s yard and uses it to give free rides to kids at a family fun day. All good so far. Then some busybody takes a picture at an angle where the lighting highlights the horse’s ribs, posts it on Facebook and all hell breaks loose.

Business ruined, health affected but the site administrator was unrepentant about the harm caused to the horse owner and her business. “I hope her business collapses, I don’t give a f*** anymore.”

Hate speech anyone? Quote.

The owner of a pony trekking farm left distraught after a torrent of online abuse plans to close her business.

The ordeal began last Sunday evening, when a popular Nelson Facebook page with almost 35,000 followers posted a photo of a pony giving children rides at a fair, south of Nelson.

“Okay horsey people,” the anonymous comment on Nelson Snippets said. “Tell me about the body condition of this horse. To me it looks like a skeleton. Is this acceptable?”

The photo showed the pony’s ribs; in another photo taken on the same day the ribs are not pronounced. A vet who gave the pony the all-clear says it is not possible to tell a horse’s condition from a photograph.

But by Monday morning there were hundreds of comments on the page and the horse and its owner had been identified by someone posting a link to Tasman horse trekking business Wild Oats Farm.

“Here is the culprit,” the poster said.

On Monday, Wild Oats Farm owner Kirsty Lalich opened a message from a friend alerting her to the post. The day before Lalich had provided free pony rides for children at a family fun day in Wakefield.

“I looked on Nelson Snippets and there was my pony, Heine,” Lalich said.

Lalich posted on the thread, identifying herself as the owner. “I said `Yes she’s old and she’s light, but that photo is terrible’.

“Then I just got slammed.”

Replies to her comment came thick and fast. Lalich was accused of neglect, abuse and starvation of her animals. Hundreds commented on the “disgusting” state of the horse.”The horse looks miserable” one comment said. “The owner’s a sandwich short of a picnic,” said another.

Lalich was devastated. “I started crying and I’ve barely stopped since.”

“Monday was the worst day of my life and if my friend hadn’t turned up that night and held me, I don’t think I’d still be here.

I have been publicly crucified.” End quote.


She phoned her veterinarian and the SPCA, they have examined the horse and said it was in “remarkably good health”. After the recent drought all the horses in the area were lean but that “doesn’t indicate a lack of care”.

But haters are going to hate and the ignorant and ill informed are going to post, share, tweet and react.

I wonder if Louis Armstrong would still croon, “And I say to myself – what a wonderful world!”