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On Glorifying the Usage of Horses

Check out Horse Matters: Rags to Riches, Ruffian, Phar Lap, and Hidalgo, by Suki Falconberg, Ph.D. for my  favorite phrase of sentence (next to Sam Harris‘ "The idea that any one of our religions represents the infallible word of the One True God requires an encyclopedic ignorance of history, mythology, and art even to be entertained–as the beliefs, rituals, and iconography of each of our religions attest to centuries of cross-pollination among them" p. 3 of The End of Faith):

We have built an industry around an illusion: we pretend that the horses like to exhaust themselves in these quick, unnatural spurts, calling it a tribute to their ‘competitive spirit,’ when it is really a construct of our own egos.

That’s not the only great sentence. Enjoy some more . . .

On Ruffian ("This fearless fully tried her guts out everytime she raced," according to Ruffian’s website). She eventually broke a leg and was killed/euthanized and millions mourned:

There [was] much sorrow and wrenching of hearts, as if the filly mattered in her own right, not just as a racing machine.

On Phar Lap, whom I’d never heard of, and who actually died of exhaustion because he was pushed so hard:

He is an animal hero in [Australia], as if there were glory in his being raced to death. Does the horse have a choice? Any sane horse would choose to peacefully munch grass rather than dealing with a painful piece of iron in her mouth, and a rider on her back whipping and goading her to run around a circle of track toward no goal.

On Hidalgo, forced to race across the deserts of Syria and Iraq:

What was valorous about pushing this poor animal to such an extent that he almost died–to ‘win.’ To win what? The horse doesn’t care if he ‘wins.’ It’s human stupidity that elevates the winning of a useless race over the life of an animal.

On the slaughtering of horses for food:

Visit the slaughterhouses where the ‘discards’ of the racing industry go—those who are not fast enough, those who have no worth since they have not fulfilled their role as ‘racing machines.’ There are plants in Illinois and Texas and when the kill line goes so fast that the stun guns can’t do their job, the horses are sometimes dismembered while still alive.

And finally, on man, who deludes himself about his loving, compassionate, virtuous bond with horses:

That legendary bond between man and horse is a relationship of dominance. There is nothing glorious about it.

Thank you Suki Falconberg, Ph.D., for telling it like it is about our relationship with horses.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Wow! I could have written this myself. I spend a lot of time trying to stop the anthropomorphism of horses in the ridiculous ways which are particularly employed by the racing industry. See the horse slaughter article on my site.

    November 9, 2007

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