|taken a few years ago at our local fair|
So this is a topic that has been percolating in my head for a long time. Today I heard a news story that caused me to put my thoughts into words. You can read the story here: Time to pull in the reins on horse-and-buggy trade, says advocate. This town is about 20 minutes from me. Ed and I go there all the time. Lunenburg is a Unesco World Heritage site with a rich history of fishing. Many of the homes are over 100 years old.
|you should totally visit if you haven't been.|
This is not a new topic. I've been following stories on this for New York and Montreal carriage horses. (on a side note, are these same people agitating to stop the Amish from driving carriages?).
I honestly believe that people are well meaning.
I also believe that they are misinformed and probably naive.
The truth is that I have zero issues with horses (or dogs) working. The idea that these animals are abused because they are working animals is poor logic. In this case it was triggered because of an accident that happened with the horses. It's the third time in 20 years. There are far more car accidents in Lunenburg (honestly, parking and driving there is a bit tricky in the summer. I think they'd be better off banning vehicles).
|horse logging is a still a thing in my area. |
It is a very environmental practice
To mean the lack of choice means that it's up to us to make sure that the animals are well cared for and not subjected to unfair work conditions.
Of course that's the rub, isn't it? To me, seeing a horse pull a carriage through a town seems like a wonderful way to see things and to remember the history. Others may see the horses standing in the sun and believe that they are suffering.
It's a slippery slope. I am sure that the activists believe that the horses could be gamboling joyufully in fields. The truth is that some of them might be. Most will not. They will end up in situations where they are working elsewhere or to slaughter. Lots of lovely horses end up in slaughter, it's a reality.
I also know that a horse that is not being exercised can age a lot more quickly then those in some work. Where are we in society that 'working' seems to be a bad thing? It's seems a very 'first world problem.'
|in Cuba the people and the horses work very hard|
I have seen work horses up close my whole life. They seem to be like horses everywhere: some are happy, some are grumpy, most are quiet. None of them seem to be miserable.
|horses pulling a sleigh on a heritage farm|
|this guy seemed happy with his job and his owner was very good|
Is this work?
How about this:
I think that our thoughts of horses running free and wild is a lovely, romantic and impractical ideal. Wild horses (like most wild animals) do not die kind, easy deaths. They starve, are injured or brought down by predators.
It is our responsibility to take care of them. And I am being 100% honest when I say that I believe very few people would or could keep horses are pets. Yes it happens and I think that in many cases those horses are very very lucky. Irish is basically retired and will be with me for the rest of his life, even when no one can ride him. And when the time comes I will do my best to make his death as painless and stress-free as possible.
It is a slippery slope and we need to be careful. I wish that the people agitating to stop horse carriages would put their energies into stopping true abuse: like soring of Tennessee Walking horses.
So that's my 2 cents (and probably worth less than that). What do you think of horses 'working'?