I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me yesterday regarding my deceased mare Picante.
Your credentials are very impressive
and I would certainly feel confident if you were handling Picante’s case.
Axens North America
|Title of Article: "Sales Code of Ethics"
Author: Jihan Murad, Esq.
Many of us who have been involved in the equine industry
have heard the horror stories of a horse being represented
to a potential buyer at a price double or triple the amount
that is paid to the seller due to either multiple commissions
or undisclosed interested parties in the transaction. Perhaps
this has even happened to you.
Such a lack of ethics tends to leave a bitter taste in the
consumer's mouth and is an eyesore to this industry.
By no means am I suggesting that all trainers or agents
are seduced by the ease of which they can make a quick buck
from unsuspecting or green buyers; quite the contrary, there
are many honest hard working trainers and agents that disclose
their fees and related costs upfront. It is the trainers
who fail to disclose their interest in the transaction that
tarnish the industry and plant seeds of mistrust in both
the consumers and sellers.
In many disciplines, equine sales standards do no exist
nor are there governing body regulations of such sales;
however, this is beginning to change and the industry is
realizing a shift. For example, the United States Hunter
Jumper Association has developed an Owner's Resource
Guide that outlines among other things, a horse welfare
code of conduct, the process for selecting a trainer, factors
to consider when purchasing a horse, and a sales code of
ethics. USHJA Owner's Resource Guide, 2007.
The sales code of ethics outlined by the USHJA Owner's
Resource guide is modeled on the Thoroughbred Owners and
Breeders Association's (TOBA) Sales Integrity Program,
and is a positive step in laying the foundation for ethical
standards relating to equine sales in the hunter/jumper
However, it is important for the consumer to keep in mind
that the standards set forth are guidelines and not mandated
therefore, it is the consumer who is charged with encouraging
their trainers and agents to adhere to such guidelines.
So, how do we as consumers encourage our trainers and agents
to follow the suggested guidelines in a sales transaction?
A good beginning is to have a written agency agreement.
An agency agreement can outline the respective duties and
obligations of each party. For example, an agency agreement
can establish that an agent is to act as the buyer's
fiduciary and impose fiduciary duties such as the duty of
care and the duty of loyalty. Additionally, agency agreements
can help protect both parties should a dispute arise. Although
the use of agency agreements in horse sales transactions
is in its infancy, standardization will come with the demand
from consumers which ultimately will benefit the industry
as a whole.
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