After having their ridiculous plan to sell off land to developers (who planned to build more than a hundred high-end houses on the site) turned down by BANES council, in February HorseWorld’s bosses threw a hissy fit and shuttered the charity’s visitor centre.
Managing Director Mark ‘Not That One’ Owen and his team also started doling out redundancy notices to long-suffering staff – as well as setting the legal rottweilers onto The BRISTOLIAN for publishing the truth.
Yes, just as Pinocchiowen and his clique were getting down to making some of the strangest business decisions ever – such as closing down a vital revenue stream and the charity’s strongest connection to the wider public – they also decided to try and impose a media blackout. To achieve this they hired tinpot law firm Burges Salmon to try and put the frighteners on local news sources, threatening all sorts of badness to anyone who dared to report on Owen’s crazy antics.
But whilst this might have worked on the student hacks of Bristol University’s Epigram paper, it did not on your super soaraway ‘Smiter’. We called their bluff and pointed out that in ten months of highly accurate, detailed reporting on HorseWorld we had heard not a peep from them claiming anything we printed was wrong.
Since then the legal threats have dried up, and a number of other outlets, including the Nazi Post, BBC Bristol, ITV West, The Week In and the Western Daily Press have all since published critical pieces. Funny, that!
Meanwhile, the situation for those who actually look after animals is looking increasingly rocky. Twenty-four workers face the boot, for no reason other than their bosses made a balls-up of the management of the charity. On a positive note, despite Owen & Co trying to keep all of this under wraps, staff are fighting back, with around half those under threat now represented by the GMB union.
Owen might yet lose that prized Audi…