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Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: James Hall - 24 Feb 2002

I agree with Carmel's point that riding horses seems to be, in a way, taking advantage of them.  Nobody ever asks the horse if it WANTS to carry 200 pounds of weight on its back.  And, like she pointed out, there are all of
the bridles and saddle and the bit they shove in a horse's mouth.  Maybe the horse doesn't like that metal stuck in its mouth; I certainly wouldn't.

What really goes on when they "break" a horse to make it carry a person.  Isn't that really a form of psychological abuse to the animal?  These are definitely some things worth pondering.  As I am writing this I am feeling guilty because last summer I rode in a carriage pulled by draft horses through a tourist area.  Nobody asked the horses if they wanted to pull the carriage and how many trips did those horses have to make that day?  No more carriage rides for me!

I think having dogs and cats is different because if you are kind to those domestic animals they really want to interact with you and be your friend.  But I sometimes wonder if some of the "training" of dogs is really a form of abuse - trying to make them act and think like humans instead of dogs.

We had a problem with one of our dachshunds being too aggressive and our veterinarian told my wife that if it was his dog he would "beat him with a belt" until he quit being aggressive.  My wife just gave him a dirty look, picked up our dog and walked out of the office.

Anyway, Carmel, these are definitely some issues worth pondering, discussing and possibly debating.  I would find it very enlightening to hear the opinions of others on these questions.

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