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Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: James Hall - 26 Feb 2002

I don't mean to be offensive or to be condemning of anyone, but I must state the truth as I perceive it.

The argument that it is okay to ride horses because "they like it" really doesn't hold much water for me.

Ask the person who "trains" the Killer Whales at Sea World if it is morally right
to treat a great Ocean creature the way they treat them and the response is: "Oh, but he really enjoys doing all of the tricks."

Ask the Amish carriage driver at the tourist town about the horse that makes 20 trips around the town loaded with people:  "Oh, but he LIKES doing this."

Ask the circus guy at the county fair who uses mice to run into holes in the gambling device and his answer: "Nothing wrong with this...they seem to enjoy it."

Ask the organ grinder at the city's downtown festival who dresses a monkey up in a tight costume with a hat and makes it "do dances" upon command: "She really likes doing this," he says.

Did the horse "like it" when it was in the process of being "broken" or harassed into submission so it can be ridden the first time?  Did the horse "like" to have a metal bit pushed into its mouth the first time?  The saddle tossed on its back and secured tightly with leader straps?  The 200-pound human mounting it?  A lead tugged to force the direction of its movement?

Maybe the animal has gotten used to this treatment over time.  But to me that is a far cry from an animal "liking" treatment that goes against its will and its intrinsic nature.

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