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Our subjects cover: religion (Christian, Jewish and others); diet and lifestyle (vegan and vegetarian); and other miscellaneous subjects.

Horseback Riding and Animal Rights:
Can They Ever Be in Harmony?
Comments by: Anna Fuller - 25 Feb 2002

I have been pondering this question of "we have no right to control / enslave / own animals".  Carmel & Jim, I understand your feelings and Saba, I can see some of your points.....but it's NOT a perfect world.
Jesus has not yet returned.  I hope he will come soon!  Meanwhile, the earth is full of the suffering of all living things.  I can't change that or take responsibility for it all.  All I can do is what I am able to do and frankly, that consists mainly of trying to make right in my own tiny way, some of the cruelty and thoughtlessness of others towards animals.  Animals need our protection and care.
For example: I hear of horses that have been booked in for pick-up for slaughtering.  I buy them (for meat price) and bring them home.  Now, I'm not a movie-star or a millionaire and I don't have a vast ranch where I can let horses go to happily roam for the rest of their lives. (I know of no such facility in New Zealand).  I have little land and not much money.  I re-home these horses to homes where they will be well cared for and loved.  And ridden.  There is no such home where they won't be ridden.  That's what people do with horses, like it or not.  If I stipulated that the horse I am re-homing is not to be ridden, it would never get a home!   By re-homing horses to a place where they will be ridden, I am, of course, condoning riding, even if I should choose not to ride myself - and wouldn't that be just as bad?  Nobody is interested in taking horses that can't be "used" in one way or another.  Sad, but fact.

So, what do you suggest I do, Saba, don't take on the horses at all in the first place, thereby condemning them to slaughter?  Be such a purist that I don't get involved in such dilemmas in the first place, ie wash my hands of it and make animal rescue someone else's problem so I don't offend my vegan sensibilities? I didn't breed these animals (like Erin, I don't condone breeding), I'm not responsible for their predicament.  I can only do what I can do to help. 

I remember a man who, when his wife died, took her old caged canary outside and turned it loose.  He stated that in his opinion, birds don't belong in cages. Of course the canary turned up dead in the garden a couple of days later. 
I too hate the sight of birds in cages, goats and dogs on chains, horses whipped into racing or jumping, elephants and camels and donkeys forced to work entertaining the public.....etc and the whole myriad of exploitation and abuse the animals suffer from.  My vegan sensibilities are constantly being offended, but I can't just turn away from animals in need.  I want all animals to live free natural lives and I know that one day they will.  Meanwhile, I try to set a Christian vegan example in everything I do with the animals in my care.  Finally, Saba, please be assured that I and many others do not "violently" abuse our horses. 


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