The Unquestionable Right To Be
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Missy Painter, Carriage Horses - NYC
February 2014

What about the controversy concerning NYCís carriage horses? I don't think the issue is that the horses are not loved or cared for -- well at least some of them, anyway -- but it's more that horses do not belong in a city environment working for The Man. These horses are not able to choose. They are herd animals and belong with other horses, not pulling carriages. It's arrogance that takes them from their proper and natural environment to be used for human greed. It's wrong. The very nature of putting blinders on a horse, depriving him of his ability to see well Ö. a sensory perception we all have and are all entitled to use -- or should be! ... then it's probably a very bad idea to do this.

When exploring the issue of animal rights, the first major obstacle we often encounter is our own deeply ingrained conditioning. It's daunting to examine what we've always done and known - to challenge and question the ways in which we all, often blindly, justify our existence through thoughtless patterns and familiar behaviors and choices. But in order to move forward consciously when it comes to animal rights this is exactly what we need to do.

We have been using animals for food, entertainment and labor for millennia. It's not new. It's tradition, in fact. And, as with most traditions, it is widely accepted. But what if animals are on the planet for their own reasons? What if, like humans, animals have their own communities and deep connections with their own kind for their own purposes and reasons? What if animals are not here for us? This may seem rudimentary, but is in fact a fairly foreign idea to most people.

We are so accustomed to using animals in almost every facet of our lives that we have forgotten a simple truth: that we all exist for our own purposes.

But don't animals "need" us? Aren't they "bred for human use"? Yes and no. Humans and non-humans are essential to one another in that together we all create a balance of ecology, an essential web of life. 

carriage horse right to be utilitarian
NYC - working in the snow

But for one species to manipulate another into an unfair and unbalanced partnership at the expense of the other's freedom? No Ö that is called slavery. We shudder now at the thought of the torture and devastation caused to humans enslaved years ago and all agree this was an atrocity beyond belief. But in our relationships with animals we are still very much in owner/slave mentality. We mostly never question the act of taking an animal from his natural environment and exploiting him for our purposes.

What about the controversy concerning NYCís carriage horses? I don't think the issue is that the horses are not loved or cared for -- well at least some of them, anyway -- but it's more that horses do not belong in a city environment working for The Man. These horses are not able to choose. They are herd animals and belong with other horses, not pulling carriages. It's arrogance that takes them from their proper and natural environment to be used for human greed. It's wrong. The very nature of putting blinders on a horse, depriving him of his ability to see well Ö. a sensory perception we all have and are all entitled to use -- or should be! ... then it's probably a very bad idea to do this.

carriage horse right to be utilitarian
Salt Lake City

Recent research in animal sentience is showing, overwhelmingly, that animals do think, feel, care, and experience joy and sadness very much like humans do. In fact, we are learning that animals grieve over the loss of their companions and form very strong bonds with one another. In light of this we have an obligation now to allow them the right to their own lives, and to begin the process of making that happen by releasing them from these existences we have forced upon them and allow them to return to where they came from... to their respective herds and pods and colonies and flocks.

Humanity is waking up. We are evolving in our capacity for compassion. And as this unfolds we need to face the fact that we have done a great disservice to other beings on earth. What was once the unchallenged and traditional use of animals is up for discussion and debate... and in many cases it's up for abolition.

But this is not a message about persecution or judgment. This is about awakening and awareness and right action, and an obligation to extend living rights to those who exist with us on the planet... those very same rights we demand for ourselves.

carriage horse right to be utilitarian

The right to exist and live a life free of exploitation and slavery.

The unquestionable right to be.

carriage horse right to be utilitarian
Enjoying the good life at Central New England Equine Rescue


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Read more at Campaign to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages