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: Veronica - 18 Jan 2006

Coincidentally (as if there are any), this is an issue I too have recently grappled with. There is a women in the town I live in, who is trying desperately to hold on to the two hundred acres she lives on and shares with many animal companions, and her severely, physically handicapped daughter. Last year, she raised a gift barn on the property and offers retreats, children's parties, special horse riding days for physically handicapped children and many other wonderful events and programs. (In November she had a chocolate festival and I convinced her to have many vegan chocolate offerings...mmmmmm, Rose City Chocolatier vegan chocolates!)

Developers approach this newly single woman regularly, offering her literally millions of dollars for her property as it is not only pastoral, and untouched but also in a highly desirable town located just 32 miles west of Boston.

The horses, as well as the other animals companions she lives on the land with, were all rescued from the MSPCA through out the years. In fact the farm was named after the very first horse she rescued, William.

My environmental group supports and promotes this farm, and have assisted in her getting federal and state grants.

As a vegan, environmentalist, and home owner with special interest in that I too want to keep the town as undeveloped and rural as possible, here is my rational in regard to the horse riding that takes place. William lives a wonderful life in an incredibly beautiful setting. He has plenty of food, friends, space to roam and he is very well loved. In exchange, William has a part time job, one which I'm sure if he protested against in the least, he would be relieved of. He is, by my accounts and along with the other two horses that live on the property, helping his human and non human family keep their land and the life they've all grown accustomed to. Not to mention the wildlife this piece of property supports.

I am comfortable in supporting and promoting this place, and the horse riding which takes place occasionally, though I do have vegan friends who disagree with me.

This experience has helped me to recognize that each animal companion situation is unique, and deserves individual scrutiny as opposed to generalized and unwavering opinions.


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