Posts Tagged ‘animal cruelty’
I am all for exploring every angle of a situation, and since the comment links are somewhat small, I thought I’d re-post this passionate reply from a fellow blogger to LiivToday’s earlier blog about a carriage ride through Central Park that left us feeling quite guilty for letting a workhorse do his “job.”
On Nov. 30 at 3:10 p.m., MICHALEEN SAYS:
“What a lot of rot.
Obviously you know nothing about horses – or about our business.
Walking through the park pulling a carriage with even 5 adults works no hardship on a horse. (And it just so happens that our carriages are modern and lightweight, and have brakes that make it even easier for the horse when going downhill) You apparently have not an inkling of what horses do and are capable of. But that is schooling I’m not wasting my time on – you should be mature, honest, and responsible enough to research before you talk. But I will tell you about MY industry.
The welfare of the horses is what the decent-minded, casual observer is truly interested in, and for good reason. The horse-drawn carriages are a New York City icon; they are ambassadors to our visitors, and the horses themselves are working animals that are entitled to proper care and good handling.
Fortunately, our record reflects exactly that. Our horses lead exceedingly reasonable and content lives. They each receive a superior, formulated diet, occupy roomy box stalls, receive vet & farrier care, and are groomed and bathed regularly. This amounts to food, shelter, and medical care – which many CHILDREN in this city do not have.
Beyond these basics, they are loved by their owners/drivers; they receive affection, treats, and human interaction everyday.
Every stable has a sprinkler system in case of fire, and every stable has 24/7 stablemen. We are overseen by 5 city agencies, and not one WEEK goes by (and sometimes, day) that our horses are not checked by the ASPCA or the Dept of Health. (Let’s see Child Protective Services match that record)
The horses receive rotation turnout several times a year on farms in both Upstate NY and PA.
When the time comes, we retire them to loving, forever homes; some of the owners retire them themselves on privately owned land. I personally have retired 3 horses, one of which is still living the life of Riley after being retired 6 years ago in South Jersey at a bank president’s home.
Unfortunately for us and our horses here in NYC, we are one of the humaniacs’ primo targets, as we fit the bill perfectly: a small, high-profile industry with very limited resources. You can see what an excellent opportunity our industry not only for misguided people, but for targeted fundraising by large AR groups like PETA.
Many of the AR people would rather see a horse dead than have a job. To them, a carriage horse doing what it was bred to do, and living a comfortable, content existence alongside his driver, is no different from Michael Vick and a pile of mutilated fighting dogs or undercover horror videos revealing grotesque cruelties at factory farms.
Indeed, humaniacs have made public statements comparing the carriage horse trade to the enslavement of people of African descent, and the Holocaust of the Jewish people during WWII.
Can any of you imagine what it is like for someone like me – a lifelong horse person, dedicated to my horses in every way – to be maligned and vilified like this? Even if you are only a pet owner – imagine someone constantly lying and distorting how you treat your pet, and then going public with it.
There are no horse-torturing monsters in our business, no matter what any of them say.
And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to their own facts.
Our safety record is STELLAR – 68 carriages operating approx 300 days a year /25 years = over 2 MILLION trips in traffic back and forth to the stables. (this does not even include all of the actual rides done!)
We have had THREE equine fatalities due to traffic accidents in those 25 years.
NO equine pursuit can claim a similar ratio (500 horses died onracetracks just since the Kentucky Derby last year – hell, 100 HUMANS were hit by cars and killed in 2008 in NYC alone)
While each of the three horse deaths was a tragedy (I knew each one – Chester ‘85, Tony ‘90, and Spotty ‘07), there is nothing in life with no risk, & certainly not in human/horse activities. Many, many more horses are injured or killed in eventing, jumping, racing, polo, etc. The humaniacs would eradicate all horses in order to eradicate all risk – something I do believe they could live with, & indeed, it’s something that many of them actively seek. They drag out the same ghoulish pics from these accidents on every website & at every demonstration, sometimes even using pictures of dead or injured horses from other parts of the country and saying they were in NYC!
Anybody hell-bent on putting carriages out of business should hop on down to the auction & buy a slaughter-bound horse and care for it for the rest of its natural life. That would actually be doing something to help the horses, not hurt them.
The epidemic of abandoned horses across the country is due to what is being called a “perfect storm” of a slow economy, highfeed prices, &recent national outlawing of slaughterhouses. This is a mammoth crisis – 1000s of horses being left to waste away in fields &paddocks, or surrendered to over-crowded rescues. Closing down a business where horses lead content & exceedingly reasonable existences will only ADD to this problem.
A well-loved, cared-for horse with a job is a lucky horse.
Now go back to your fetal position – you should be ashamed of yourself, but not for taking a ride.”
The response following my review of the “Earthlings” documentary has been so enlightening. There are so many passionate people on this little planet of ours, and also so many realists to play devil’s advocate. As long as there is suffering, there will be debate. But there will also be hope.
Thanks so much to those of you who have brought to light for me the questionable regulations behind organic farming. The Sunday after I watched Earthlings, I spent three hours between three grocery stores — Costco, Publix and Whole Foods — and found that the organic meat offerings were few and far between anyway. The butcher cases are full of antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed meats, but none certified organic that I could see. None of the meats in the Greenwise section of Publix are actually organic, nor are they free of all chemicals. The words classifying these meats are a dance around reality. A warm blanket to help us feel better about what is still likely a poor choice.
What difference would the USDA organic certification make in any case? Doesn’t a free-range chicken still have its beak burnt off to prevent it from pecking its cellmates? How much “free range” do they get? Are the birds still starved to promote molting? And doesn’t a fat and happy organic cow still have to die at some point before it’s carved up and delivered to our plates? What does that process look like?
And then there is the food chain. The natural order of life. Animals eat animals. Man created tools to improve this process. Does that make man more or less violent than the mother lioness who takes down a gazelle with her teeth to feed her cubs? Or even the geckos who tongue-lashes the moths that buzz around our porch lights?
It is in our nature to hunt. To gather. To thrive. But it is also in our nature to know better.
For me, the jury is still out.
I am not the kind of girl who goes vegetarian every time she hears a PETA horror story. I’ve always known where meat, leather and fur comes from, and I’ve still consumed, even craved, all of the above. I’ve read about slaughterhouses, animal testing and tanneries but — color me insensitive — none of it was enough to change my way of life.
Released in 2005 by writer/producer/director Shaun Monson and narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, this award-winning documentary film explores the concept of speciesism as it relates to racism and sexism, comparing the mass murder of animals to the Holocaust.
“Here we go again,” I thought, settling in for another vegan sob story about veal and foie gras. Yes, I know, chinchillas have feelings too – blah blah blah.
Then, in short clips illustrating the validity, frequency and severity of these claims, carnage filled the screen. Real-life and in high definition. Death. Ninety minutes of merciless, filthy, reprehensible, gut-wrenching death. Dogs, cats, cows, pigs, dolphins, whales, monkeys, tigers, foxes, elephants. All those big brown eyes screaming where their voices could not.
Shot over six years from animal shelters, factory farms, slaughterhouses, the leather and fur trades, sporting events, circuses and research labs, “Earthlings” is the reality animal equivalent to the worst bone-saw thriller movie ever made.
I know a few people who haven’t been able to make it past the first 10 minutes of this film, crying uncle when little piglets have their teeth cut, their ears clipped and their tails docked with the same pair of rusty bolt cutters and no anesthesia (this keeps them from chewing on each other in extremely confined spaces). Wincing while the Turkish handle their stray dog population by tossing street muts into the trash compactor. Holding their breath as cows who were supposed to be “humanely” executed by a quick bolt to the brain (but who has time to aim properly and make sure they’re really dead?) twist and contort, dangling inverted from one leg as they head to the slice-and-dice department to become ground chuck, ribeye and tender filet — all while fully conscious and writhing in pain.
Even workers at so-called kosher facilites, which are supposed to treat cows with the utmost sanctity and respect while processing, ignore all protocol, slitting throats and ripping out trachea while the living, breathing cow aspirates to death on its own blood. All in a day’s work! Can’t cut down on productivity, after all…
When I began my foray into eco-friendly living, I wondered whether it was OK to fudge on the whole organic meat thing from time to time, particularly on routine purchases like chicken, because who in this economy has room to double their grocery budget? The answer is no. If you don’t have the balls to burn that chicken’s beak off yourself and shove it into a place where it will likely go insane and start eating the other chickens, then no. If you aren’t bored enough beat a sow to death with a cinderblock for fun on the farm, then no. If you aren’t into slitting a bull’s neck and watching it choke on its own blood until it dies, in plain view of all the other cows, then no. Big-box meat of any kind is no longer an option. It is cheap for a reason — because a knife to the throat is cheap, too.
And if you think I’ve become a whiny vegan preacher, let’s see if you can make it through this film without wanting to slit the throats of a few farmers, fishermen or dog catchers. If you can watch the whole thing without thinking differently about the agony that permeates that fast-food burger, I’m not sure I want to know you.