I woke up this morning only to find an email in my inbox from a long-time member of the NYC Carriage Horse industry. This was in response to my blog post yesterday. The man who emailed me thought he would find a sympathetic ear in me, since I am a "reasonable person."
(Note to the man wrote to me: Yes, I do plan on emailing you back. And yes, I do like to think I am a reasonable person--thanks for noticing. Despite popular belief, there are, in fact, many reasonable people in the animal rights movement.)
The man who wrote to me--who was entirely polite and articulate--let me know that he had never abused an animal in his life. He has retired 3 horses to a sanctuary, he is a member of various animal and environmental organizations, and he strongly believes that there is no abuse in his industry. He said that the documentary, Blinders, was fluffed with dramatic music in an effort to make the horse-drawn-carriage industry appear worse than it is.
I actually thought that the film was extremely fair, and even mentioned that some of the drivers or "owners" occasionally retire a horse they are particularly fond of to a rescue (I'm not clear who pays for the horse's lifetime care in this situation). Though the man who emailed me insists that there is no cruelty in this industry, that the horses are well taken care-of, and there are few accidents compared to other equine industries (not sure that's a good standard), I simply don't see any reason to exploit these horses for "work"--it is completely against their natural behavior, and is speciesism at its finest. No matter how much you say you "love" them, they are crammed into spaces at night that are too small for them to stretch out, they are not given sufficient social activity, they are never turned-out and allowed to graze, they breathe fumes for a good part of their 10-hour working day, and incredibly easily-frightened, they are subjected to a constant barrage of noise and activity. Furthermore, unless they are one of the very few "lucky ones" who get to retire to a sanctuary, they are slaughtered for horse-meat. Basically, they live their lives between two pieces of wood--either their shaft or their stall. It's like a moving gestation crate--all of their movements are controlled by someone else.
Mr.Email-Guy said that he and I have different worldviews (no shit) and he is not trying to change mine. Unfortunately, the horses are forced to live in his world, not mine.
Let it be known that I am all for free-speech--and I am all for free horses!
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