Horseback Riding and Animal Rights: Can They Ever Be in Harmony?


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Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: Erin - 18 Jan 2006

Thanks for bringing up this topic.

I just wanted to add that the animals we have on our family "farm" are making a life-long positive impact on our children, and also on their decision to remain vegetarian/vegan, because it is so hard for them to comprehend why people would want to kill and eat these animals, which are an integral part of our family.

We also strive to share this impact with all the friends and family who visit our farm.

We do have a horse, and also a pony. God made horses to enjoy a leadership relationship, which they are also capable of experiencing with a human. They need a leader (whether human or horse), because they are prey animals, and having a leader makes them feel secure. Our equine friends are not work horses, just lovingly spoiled companions. They are occasionally ridden by our children, but only as long as the horse is enjoying the experience, too. So, no cruelty here.

We also have 5 pet cashmere goats, and 2 pet llamas. I bring this up, because I want to point out that there is a different way of collecting fiber from an animal than what would occur on a factory farm. The only fiber we collect from our animals is through the brushing, and trimming of their hair through a bonding experience with us (similar to how you might comb your dog). They absolutely LOVE the experience, and second to eating, I think it is the highlight of their lives!

We also have some very happy, free-range, chickens (and a few pet ducks), who truly have everything they could ever want. In fact, they are the reason we cannot call ourselves completely vegan, because we do eat the eggs that they give us (we see it as a gift, in return for the care we give them). In fact, I would feel guilty if we were to throw the eggs away (if you've ever watched a chicken lay an egg, you can really appreciate the effort and pride they put into the experience).

We actually moved to the country, two years ago, specifically so that we could have pet farm animals, and so that our children could grow-up with the experience of knowing animals on a different level. And we believe God answered our prayers by giving us all our animals. Each animal came to us with a story, and some animals have also had to be saved by us (either rescued or revived).

It is also worth noting, that since we live in a more traditional farming (and hunting) area, we are constantly getting grief from well meaning individuals (including many Christians), who just can't comprehend why we would put so much money into our animals without a return profit. They think we're wasting our money by turning "livestock" into pets.

But all our animals are named, and truly valued. They all have different personalities, and real feelings--which is why it just breaks my heart so bad to see what actually happens in factory farming.

Thank you,

(vegetarian for 13 years, wife to a vegetarian, and mother to four vegetarian kids)

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