Back in 2014, I asked the question, “is it ever right to passively witness horse abuse?” in response to a video that shows Monty Roberts attending an event which included horrific and prolonged abuse of a horse. This article is related to that article, I recommend you read it for context (even if you choose to skip watching the graphic video): Monty Roberts Watches Horrific Abuse in the Breaking of a Horse
I was contacted today by Debbie Loucks on behalf of Monty Roberts. She asked:
May I send you an update about the progress on this video from Brazil? You can chose to post or not but it is up to date as of today, November 6, 2017. I can also send you a full narrative from a Brazilian who has helped changed the landscape in Brazil from brutal traditional to compassion for the horse and better performance too. He is the first person to bring Monty Roberts to Brazil years ago.
Washington is a beautiful state and good horse country. We lived in Redmond for 13 years and Veradale for 7. Hope you enjoy it!
Naturally, I said yes! Send me some additional details and I can update my article to include it.
I was really confused when what I received was pertaining to a lawsuit that Monty Roberts had filed against an individual in Brazil for the video being made to intentionally defame him.
That would be relevant if the article I wrote was actually saying that Monty was actively participating in the abuse, but that wasn’t the case at all. I guess I was expecting more backstory, but instead, the bulk of what I was sent was about this lawsuit.
With little context, this is what I was sent from Debbie on behalf of Monty Roberts:
Hi Debbie, hope you´re well!
The lawsuit in Brazil is in the probation phase and we intend to hear some witnesses to prove everything we have said so far.
We have already presented the technical report of Mauro Ricart demonstrating that the videos were edited to harm Monty and if the judge understands that this is enough no new judicial expertise will be necessary. This will allow the hearing to hear witnesses possibly occur in the first quarter of 2018, with the final judgment in the second half.
Attached is a statement for you to disclose. We believe this will aid in clarifying the facts.
Eduardo issued a note when we filed the lawsuit. Maybe you should republish if he agrees.
Debbie also attached a legal statement:
São Paulo, November 6, 2017.
We declare, for the right purposes and to whomsoever may concern, that we represent Mr. Monty Roberts in a lawsuit filed by him in Brazil against R. Tuani Editores-EPP (Horse Magazine); Marcelo Mastrobuono; Juliana Machado; Rádio e Televisão Record S/A.; Heleine Heringer; Associação Brasileira dos Criadores do Cavalo Mangalarga Marchador; e, José Mateus de Castro Ribeiro.
The lawsuit, filed at the 9th Civil Court of the Central Forum of São Paulo, under No. 1035929-49.2015.8.26.0100, has the purpose of condemning the defendants to the payment of compensation for material and moral damages due to the disclosure of slanderous information on Mr. Monty Roberts, that he had participated in a horse abuse session at the 30th Mangalarga Marchador National Exhibition in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 2011.
The statement of claim for the aforementioned legal action, awaiting final judgment, is instructed by expert opinion indicating that there has been editing and manipulation of the video footage in order to convey the false message that Mr. Monty Roberts would have ordered the tamers to mistreat the animal.
Being what we had to inform, we subscribe.
CARLOS IBANEZ CASTRO
Attorney at Law
Debbie also pointed me towards this commentary posted on Monty Robert’s official Facebook page, defending him, despite the individual not actually being there to witness the event:
From Eduardo Moreira, Brazil:
About a year ago I witnessed one of the greatest cowardice committed to someone that I have ever heard of. A video, posted by an anonymous profile on the internet, showed some men in a pen working with a wild horse using extreme violence, without giving the horse any chance to react or defend himself. The cowardice with no limits imposed on the horse was shocking and sad but, in my opinion, it was smaller than the one directed to the person to whom the post of the video sought to accuse and reach. Monty Roberts, who was watching the demonstration, and the one responsible for asking for the video recordings to be made, was accused by the anonymous YouTube user, by Horse magazine and by TV Record of being the creator, coordinator and promoter of the show, with the objective of promoting his name and his method. At 80 years old and after a lifetime devoted to the protection of these animals and to change people habits in dealing with them, Monty Roberts found himself as the victim of one of the largest wave of threats and aggressions which anyone ever had news, putting in jeopardy all his personal credibility and net worth built in an entire life.
Today, it is with joy that I inform you that after a year of careful investigations, evidence collection – with the caution that lacked the accusers – a civil lawsuit was filed having as defendants Mr. Marcelo Mastrobuono (Horse Magazine chief editor) the reporter responsible for the magazine article, TV Record, the reporter from TV Record, Mr. Mateus (who dealt with the horse on the video) and the ABCCMM (the horse association responsible for the event where the demonstration happened). Now, they will all have to answer in court and before numerous and undeniable evidence, for the injustice committed that caused damage not only to Monty person, but for thousands of people and animals around the world who have lost the chance to change their lives due to all who have abandoned interest in Monty and his technique after the slanderous materials.
I met Monty Roberts in 2010 after a serious accident I suffered falling from a horse. Since then I plunged deep into the study of his method, and was with him at least a dozen times in various places around the world. All I know about him is the result of my personal experience and testimony. I can say that in all my life had never before met someone who has done so much for a cause as Monty did for horses. At 80 years old, and literally after tens of thousands of horses worked in his life, Monty was perhaps the most photographed and filmed people around the world dealing with these animals. And there is not even a single video that shows Monty being aggressive or minimally unfair to even one of them (something that, in my opinion, would be normal in a work as dangerous and tiring as this, afterall Monty is human).
I was not present during the demonstration of the video used to accuse Monty. I arrived in Belo Horizonte one or two days later. I knew, just by conviction, that Monty could not have done or planned any harm to that horse. Unfortunately, personal convictions in cases like this are not enough, therefore since the day the video was posted I went in search of all the evidence that could prove unquestionably what happened that day. We finally had access to the full video, 40 minutes of recording, where the scenes that make up the four minutes of the broadcasted video were taken. So we sent this video for the expert with higher reputation of the country, Mr. Mauro Ricart, not for a superficial view, but for a study and report on all the questions that rose up against Monty Roberts. The result is striking.
The official expert report based on the full video, shows that all the material in the short video was edited to irresponsibly blame Monty. It shows that the same violent demonstration was made the day before Monty watched it, by the man who said he never made if before in his life. It shows that images have been edited to simulate that Monty asks to tighten the halter of the horse immediately before the horse falls to the ground, whereas the scenes take place in absolutely different times (when Monty warns to adjust the halter the horse was still outside the pen) . And it shows that Monty did not participate at all in the coordination or direction of was executed that day.
The evidences do not stop there. The filming was assigned to Monty’s team, but Monty never traveled with a filming crew to Brazil. The ABCCMM said it never knew about the event but the demonstration was made within the exhibition park and filmed by a team contracted by the Association. They said Monty directed the people who carry out the demonstration, but forgot that Monty does not speak Portuguese, that the interpreter was not present during the demonstration and that Monty was outside the pen, in the opposite side of where the demonstration was performed. Interestingly enough, the statements of the men who dealt with the horse to the administrative process of ABCCMM (who supposedly investigated the case) uses the same phrases and words, conveniently being exactly the same. People forget to say that dozens of horses were confined in the official exhibition area in tiny paddocks, with sharp stones making the ground. This can be seen in all the videos.
Its curious to notice that the articles of Horse magazine, were initially all praising and admiring Monty Roberts work. I was the one who introduced Monty’s work for Horse’s chief editor almost five years ago. Interestingly, after I stopped writing stories for the magazine and stop paying for publicity, materials against Monty Roberts and against me began to emerge. Luckily I keep the aggressive emails I received from the magazine about the ads, and these are also in the evidences of the lawsuit. It’s amazing how someone who was until recently a musician and knew nothing about horses, due to a career failure decides to change his profession, buys a horse magazine and chooses one of the world’s biggest names with more years with these animals than he has of age, to attack the career. And what is more curious, is that some people give the benefit of the doubt to a person like this and do not give Monty, of whom they always watched and heard only positive things with regard to dealing with horses.
Monty never needed Brazil to promote himself. I know because I was the first person to bring him to the country after a lot of persuasion and planning. The work he did in Brazil has always been based on the seriousness and commitment to the welfare of horses, and never to self-promotion, something for someone who already won everything he could win, personally and professionally. Monty never went to the Queen of England to extol his achievements as the accusers want people to believe. It was Her Majesty who invited Monty in 1989 to her castle and asked him to show her his method. Monty was awarded by the Queen much before coming to Brazil. Monty’s book was the best-selling book in the United States for dozens of weeks. Also before ever coming to Brazil. Monty doesn’t have a single lawsuit against him in United States, although the TV program said he has many. An official document from US justice proving that was issued and is also in the evidences of this case. It’s amazing the ability of people to attack and to judge just on impulse. And they go with such anger and impetus to criticise, that they pass the point where they can go back on their opinions, even if they learn that they were wrong. Their pride doesn’t let them do it. It would be curious to put in a balance what they do or have done for animals and compare to what Monty has done in his life.
I am immensely happy to know that justice will be done. Monty will be entitled to compensation for what was done against him. That the guilty will pay for it. I understand little of law, but the Brazilian Constitution, in its first article, says “It’s allowed the free expression of thought, and anonymity is forbidden.” All these accusations were made upon a video criminally edited by an anonymous agent. He lacked the courage that Monty’s showed in his entire life. I see all this as an opportunity for Monty to restart. I’m sure Monty will realize that, in his case, life begins at 80. Dear Monty, I admire and congratulate you for your incredible courage and tenacity. They are the responsible for getting you to where you are. And it is the lack of them that reserve to those poor-soul accusing people, only oblivion and anonymity. Time always takes it all to the right price.
Why Monty Roberts’ Lawsuit Confuses Me
I’m all for setting the record straight and providing context to situations. But, what bothers me about this is it has a distinct marketing bent to it.
The response I received from Debbie really didn’t touch on what the article itself was, so I’m inclined to think she’s mass-contacting any individual who wrote about the video without doing further research.
Great, so Monty Roberts won a lawsuit against individuals who edited the video to give it the wrong context. Who cares?
The question still remains, is it ever right to passively witness horse abuse?