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On Helping Animals Then Using Them

Did you catch the story of Molly the pony, who was left behind in her barn during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana? She was found by a rescue group two weeks after the hurricane and subsequently attacked by dogs who badly injured one of her front legs. The leg was amputated, which is unusual for a horse. The surgery was done at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and she was fitted with a prosthetic leg.

That’s enough to make you cry.

But then there’s the end of the story, which is that Molly is trucked around from hospital to hospital, as sort of a therapy pony. She goes to places where there are sick children, who apparently learn about survival from Molly and that being different or having a prosthetic limb isn’t a big deal. The journalist in this particular story says: "It’s about what you do with your life . . . And Molly is giving back . . . giving hope where it’s sometimes hard to find. A little pony with a higher purpose."

I kept thinking: After all she’s been through, can’t you just leave her alone? Can’t she live at the sanctuary and have (as many as possible of) her decisions be her own? Does she have to have a job? Of course, as far as "jobs" go, hers probably isn’t so bad. But that’s not the point. She’s not really "giving back" so much as humans are finding another way to take from her. And for me, at the end of the story, that was the point.

18 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bea Elliott #

    Within moments of Molly's recovery – I saw where this was going: yet another way for an animal to "pay their way"….. BUT – at least she was "saved" and recognized as a being with (some), (non-monetary) value…… And I hear a little voice in my head: "small increments"… "small increments"…

    July 28, 2008
  2. I agree with you – why do animals need to be assigned roles to have any value or to even make their right to life even justifiable? Work is a human invention and should not be foisted upon non-humans.

    July 30, 2008
  3. Raina Spaziani #

    Thank You! I totally agree, just because some idiot left that poor horse behind like garbage, then she is religated to being tortured by other animals, now she has to "give back"????????? Are you kidding me? We owe her, not the other way around. Do we always have to bend every creature to our will?????

    August 1, 2008
  4. Kaye Harris #

    You know, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I respect yours. I am glad that you obviously really care for animals. I do see where you are coming from. I hope that means that you respect mine enough to post this. I am Molly's owner (or as I usually tell
    people "Molly owns me") . I'd like to respond to some of the comments.

    Whether anyone likes it or not the world RUNS on the principle of exchange. NO EXCHANGE is welfare. WORK is NOT a human invention but the idea that it is something BAD is!!!!! Let's go back many years. Caveman hunted, wife bore young, everyone had to help defend against the saber tooth tiger. Everyone had to pitch in for survival. Right now, if we ALL stopped working, then we would ALL have to immediately start again! To do everything for ourselves, that right now we have divided into specialties and we exchange via money.

    Ok, my dog exchanges with me. She licks my legs, wags her tail, "helps" to get the ponies in (on her own, not because she is "Made to") My cat hunts and proudly brings them to show me. My cat licks me. I pet her and my dog-exchange. I feed them, vaccinate them. My dog barks at strangers-exchange.

    I do pony rides. OH, I can hear you now. So let me tell you this. My husband and I work around 80 hours a week taking care of and making sure there is enough money to continue to take care of all 30+ of our animals.
    Each pony or horse works an average of 2-5 hours a week, very occasionally 8. For that each of them has a LIFETIME home.

    My first pony fell in the trailer and was paralyzed. I was told to put her down. I rehabbed her, what for? Just so she could immediately retire and have her retirement. I was giving back to her-exchange.

    Molly – Molly is the type of pony who LIKES having something to do. When we don't go visiting, she gets bored. If someone comes in the yard and pets her pony friend, she gets mad and pushed her way past Flossie to get her share. You ASSUME that in this Molly gets nothing. Sorry, not so. Molly gets attention she loves, and thru the non profit helps raise money so I CAN continue to care for her and the other retirees.

    When Molly first got attacked-by another rescue-what thanks, huh?- I did not predetermine she was going to "pay her way". I was concerned with her survival. I had to go thru a lot (despite the way the stories are written) to get agreement to get the surgery done. I HAD TO RAISE money to get it done and I paid all her vets bills out of my (post Katrina victim) pocket, to keep her going. Now she helps others.

    Is helping others, animal or human, really such a bad thing? Is exchanging and everyone pitching in to help each other survive, such a bad thing?
    I hope not, because without help and exchange this would be one sad society. Come to think of it, if EVERYONE, (yes, even our animals) helped and exchanged a little more, what a great place the world would be!

    Have a great day!!!!! I'm off with Molly to get her new leg fitted, and then we are going to visit some kids – exchange!

    August 5, 2008
  5. Kaye,
    Thanks for stopping by and presenting your thoughts for us in a kind and clear way.

    Here's the point that I, as an animal rights advocate, object to: You have decided for Molly that she must participate in an "exchange" program. I don't think nonhuman animals are in any way obligated to work for us or provide us with anything. They owe us nothing. We owe them respect and we owe them their freedom. That's the basis of animal rights, and I understand you disagree.

    There can be a pact between people to help each other because we can confirm that. But a pact we make with another animal is really us deciding we want something and then finding a way to say that the animal agrees.

    That's how I see it.

    August 5, 2008
  6. Kaye Harris #

    Dear Mary,

    I really want to commend you for putting up the reply. Many sites will not pubish something that goes against their opinion.

    To some degree, I see what you are saying and agree with you. Then again, to some degree, I don't.

    A wise man once said there are no absolutes, just greater degrees of right or wrong, meaning things are greater or lesser survival. Also, for any of us, there is NEVER only 1 area or factor to consider when making decisions, there are several or many. So it brings up some interesting points. Please bear with me, because perhaps I DONT really know where you are coming from.

    If you are saying that we OWE (by the way, in exploring the word OWE, most of the meanings imply debt or to be obligated, meaning the person or animal you owe did something FOR you first, one does go into feeling the need to do or give) them respect and their freedom, does that mean that ultimately, were you able to wave that wand and change the world, you would see animals separate and doing their own thing? In other words, freedom, they would live their own life, good or bad, alive or dead?
    No man would have the right to approach an animal, interfere with an animal,hurt an animal, help an animal, bond with an animal? It seems that if we owe them respect and freedom then of course ergo, we also DO NOT owe them feed or shelter, a helping hand when sick or injured or anything else or interference of any kind. (not that I think this, obviously)

    I think I understand that part of the answer to that would be that in todays world we have already made animals dependant on man. But seriously, if you went back and changed the time line, is that what you would do? Not allow any animal/man contact? Because that would be the only way to GUARANTEE no animal accidentally or on purpose was doing anything "against their will" or "to man's will". Please note that in nature, animals STILL have to do things against their will! Other animals eat them, nature drowns them, burns them, their own herd mates punish them.

    Do you, personally have any animals of your own? If no, did you in the past?

    When I was younger (13), I had a German Shepard I had saved from euthanization from the RSPCA is Singapore. I loved that dog. She was my only safe haven sometimes. One day I was climbing over a fence and fell into a monsoon drain and was knocked out. My first recollection is hearing her nails scrape the side and her tugging on my collar to pull me above water. Then dropping me and barking, pulling me up again, until my Mom came outside to investigate. She had jumped the fence to save my life. No one forced her to do that, SHE did it. I highly doubt an animal that did not feel loved and cared for, and loved me would have done that.

    Several years ago, a racoon fell out of a tree. I didn't know better then to bring her to a rehab (do now!) so I raised her in the house, then eventually she was put outside. Mostly she eventually lived in a tree next door, came when she wanted, left when she wanted. But interestingly enough, whenever she was hurt, she ALWAYS came to me and let me tend her.
    At the end, she died of distemper. She had been gone a while, but CHOSE to come back and die with us.

    When Molly did her first visit to Children's Hospital, and it was time to leave, as we were walking her away, she turned around and pulled us all the way back to the spot where she had visited the kids, looking around for them.
    The point of these is that these animals made choices based on an earlier interaction and care. One choice benefitted me, I kept my life thanks to Rosie. The other benefitted Caramel, the raccoon, as I made her comfortable in her last hours and loved her til she died. Molly looking for the kids was her choice, for whose benefit? You tell me!

    So I am really interested in what the theorectical idea is "in a perfect world", how you would like to see the animal/human interaction or lack of it, how you see that working or would like to see it work.

    Also, please define what you mean by respect (what exact actions or non action would demonstrate that) and what you mean by freedom as well.

    Sincerely, Kaye Harris

    August 5, 2008
  7. Bea Elliott #

    It's critical when something is "freely given" that there is accord. Because a non-human animal cannot make their wishes known – Man proceeds to "assume" this is what the being wants or doesn't want. It is in our nature to read things to our favor – and animals have no voice through any of it…. Years ago I had a friend who found teaching animals- (dogs) to do tricks "offensive"….. I've recently come to see that his criticism was more in line than not.

    August 6, 2008
  8. Thanks for returning, Kaye. I have no problem publishing people who disagree with me (as that's most of the world). What I don't publish are offensive rants or comments expressing the joy some people experience in abusing animals. Some people troll the Internet just to harass those they disagree with, and I don't want to waste the time of the readers kind enough to visit, so I don't publish those comments.

    Here's the way I see it: Because of what we've done to them since the day they were unfortunate enough to meet our acquaintance, we owe them freedom and respect. I too have stories of animals making choices for me, but that's different from deciding that someone now has a job and will be paying their way.

    My perfect world involves humans not interacting with nonhumans, except perhaps to help them, but not to own them. Then of course there are matters of encroachment and development and how to deal with wildlife. The dealings animals have with each other, whether illustrative of compassion or revenge, aren't our business. We (vegans) don't want to "manage" other species, although I've yet to meet someone who has every detail worked out for their perfect world.

    One issue vegans and animal rights activists might differ on is "pets." I believe that after we've created their dependence on us, and we've continued to bring them into the world, we have an obligation to remedy that situation. In my perfect world, breeding of any and all animals would stop today, and after a decade or so (several if you include horses, as you well know), the numbers of sentient nonhumans would dwindle (except for those in the wild), and until then we'd care for those we created, either in our homes or at sanctuaries.

    And though I appreciate the theorizing about perfect worlds, you and I know that in our lifetimes we won't come close. So in the meantime, choosing to not use animals, and certainly not kill them unless it's necessary, is the least we can do (according to animal rights and veganism).

    In animal rights we consider ALL use as abuse because you're taking away someone's freedom and choices and basically making them live the life you want from them. You'll decide when they will die and how.

    Animal welfare, on the other hand, deals with the regulation of the use of animals. Animal welfarists don't think we shouldn't be using animals, but they do think we should be decreasing their suffering when we use them. As a welfare issue, there would be no objection to Molly's job or treatment at all.

    As an exercise, I suggest substituting a child for the animal in a story. Assuming the animal is sentient, she is similar to the child in a very important way: they both have the capacity to experience pleasure, pain, boredom and frustration. What would you think of the story of a child who was rescued and then given a job he must do thereafter?

    With all that said, I do hear you about absolutes. If you forced Molly to race or carry kids on her back all day, that would indeed be a different story.

    Does any of that help?

    August 6, 2008
  9. Kaye Harris #

    Dear Mary,

    I'm afraid if you did publish someone expressing joy on abusing animals I perhaps WOULD be the one with the offensive rant – towards that person!

    Thanks for taking the time to clarify. I appreciate it. It has given me food for thought. I would say you are probably right in many cases about assuming what an animal wants. But that is NOT real to me but I would agree that is a majority of people with animals. Once upon a time it might have been. Mostly because I feel I have learned to listen to my animals. It seems I have a greater belief that they are more capable of making their needs and wants known if you actually listen.

    In those "degrees" I probably many times lean towards what you are espousing. But we DO live in the current situation with the current economics. And my animals, in my view, have a good life. I certainly put in more work hours by about 15X each week than any animal I have.

    In the child example. Well you see I think that is part of the problem. What are you defining as a "job"? You see man has vilified the idea of "work" or "job". The point is that every living creature has to "work" to survive, EVERY ONE OF US. It goes back to what I said earlier. Exchange is how the world goes round. ANY child or adult has a "job", their part in the family. And in our modern world what that is has changed. In earlier days even small children may have had to "work" tending the baby, watching the fire, picking the berries. So if a child was taken out of a bad situation, into a better one and was asked to contribute towards the group so all could survive, no I don't think that is bad. It can be, if you really want to make it out that way. When my kids were younger, they had chores when many others didn't. They have always had to help with the animals and contribute as part of this family. My kids are drug free, productive citizens today. That viewpoint must not be too bad.

    When you have individuals who think they do not have to contribute towards their own survival and the survival of the group (surely almost everyone has experienced that lackabout at work who didn't pull their own weight, then everyone else STILL had to get the work done!) it lowers the survival ability of the group. Whether it is a group of 2, 10 or the entire world.

    The welfare idea has created a nasty society, one which feels that certain beings are "OWED" a living. Well, if everyone felt that way, who would see to food, basic living. No, we ALL have to work, in some way. I guess for me, I personally feel that if I were disabled, I would want to find a way to produce, be in exchange, and give back to people who had to care for me.

    I will lay myself open and admit that I can't see myself without my animals. I feel it is a partnership, not an ownership. I get that you think even that is not ok. I think if you could wave a wand and have that separation, sooner or later man and animals would team up again.

    Personally, I feel that unless you handle man's inhumanity towards man, you have little chance of even improving the plight of animals. I do what I can within the framework of what we have. (with that being said, a sad point would be animal rights activists who destroy, bomb, their fellows supposedly to make a point or make others fear enough to cow and change) Same for pro lifers who engage in that behavior. One thing is for sure. Things DO need some changing in this world.

    You did not answer my earlier question. Do you have any animals now or did you before? What is or was your relationship with them?

    Oh, and by the way (smile) to the earlier poster who said "we" owe her – since you feel "we" owe her (and that "owing" has a mighty big vet bill attached) feel free to go to her website and donate!

    With respect for your views, Kaye

    August 7, 2008
  10. Hi again.

    I'm not sure what you're talking about regarding publishing people who express joy about abusing animals, but let me say that my policy at first (over 2 years ago) was to publish ALL comments. And that turned out to be a bad idea for me and brought all kinds of hateful, mean-spirited, and usually anonymous commenters. So I changed my policy and now comments are moderated and have been for quite some time.

    Regarding jobs, I don't find it ethical to give a job to someone who cannot consent to it. Mushers, carriage horse drivers, greyhound trainers, and every other animal abuser will say that you can't "make" a horse or dog run (or whatever) and that they love it. And they may indeed love to run or haul–when they choose to. But for us to decide that they owe us and must repay us in a way that we choose and when we choose is what vegans object to. That's indentured servitude.

    In my mind, this has nothing to do with the economy or what any person chooses to do as a job. Or exchange between people. Or exchange between nonhumans.

    My first "pet" was a rescue I named Brady. Someone was giving her away. She lived for nearly 20 years and I adored her and she taught me how similar humans and nonhumans can be. I currently have 2 rescued racing greyounds, one of whom is diabetic and half blind, and an FIP kitty.

    I do struggle with the "pet" issue and I'm one of the people who thinks we are obligated to alleviate the situation by giving homes to homeless cats and dogs. I adore the animals but, as I've written about here for two years, I feel terrible each time I put a hound on a leash or put their collar on, and it breaks my heart that Emily (the cat) can't go outside (she's an FIP carrier and contagious). I don't know if their lives would be better without me (for the short time they'd survive without their medication) and I wish they could be free.

    They owe me nothing. I love them unconditionally and never expect anything in exchange for what I do for them.

    But that's me.


    August 7, 2008
  11. Dan #

    I agree with Mary here, but I’d like to add that there is an enormous difference between 1) bringing kids into the world and raising them to take care of themselves (which is an *acquired duty* of a parent or guardian), assuming they are capable (i.e. not mentally or physically disabled) versus 2) bringing nonhumans into the world and expecting them to “pay their way” because you’ve done them the “favor” of bringing them into an existence they *did not request* and is not necessarily in their best interest.

    Just like in the case of bringing a disabled human into the world, you have *acquired* a duty to care for them for their entire lives, so it is with a nonhuman who *you* have bred into existence or purchased: you have *acquired* the duty to care for them for their entire lives. If you don’t want the responsibility of providing for them, then DO NOT breed them or purchase them.

    This idea that domesticated nonhuman beings who did not choose to be bred into existence must somehow “contribute to society” or “pay their way” is complete nonsense since they are no more moral and rational agents than 4 year old children or mentally disabled adult humans. It is the exact equivalent to forced labor for the mentally disabled.

    In fact, a good way to think of what our relationship toward domesticated nonhumans should look like is to imagine how we would treat someone who lived with us as a seriously disabled person who might contribute in trivial ways to the household, but who we wouldn’t force to work or make their lives difficult because “it’s tough in the jungle”.

    August 7, 2008
  12. Kaye Harris #


    What I was referring to was your own comment earlier about not posting replies from people who express joy in abusing animals (scroll back) That is overtly a destructive act and I simply was agreeing and jokingly or not so jokingly saying then I would have to post an offensive rant AGAINST that abuser!
    To Dan, I was replying to the child comparison Mary had made in her earlier post. I get your point in that you are saying that you think their mental competence and ability is of that level. I simply disagree, I believe they are smarter than they are given credit for.
    Dan, I agree with you in that you should not breed or purchase if you are not going to take on the responsibility of them. I do not breed and most, not all, are rescues from others irresponsibility.

    Mary, maybe economics are not an issue for you, but they are for me. I have no other way of caring for these guys than the way I do. Not doing what I would do would result in immediate loss, to who knows what future for them and me.

    I have a Thoroughbred off the track who was headed for slaughter, several Katrina abandonments, another "difficult" pony who was also headed for slaughter, a dog who was found in the garbage, a pony I was not in the market to buy until the owner threw a rock at her, at which point I promptly offered to buy her also. I have a cat no one else wanted because it bit, it was a blood donor at the vet and simply just didn't want to be picked up anymore. He has a home here now, we don't pick him up! I have a cat found as a kitten on the roadside with multiple injuries, that we put out money to save at a time we could poorly afford it.(the SPCA said they would have to put her to sleep due to her injuries) My ponies and animals have a lifetime home and they do contribute to me being able to offer that. My ponies don't have to worry about being resold when they are outgrown by some child to be passed on again and again, they retire here. I carefully consider when I do take on an animal because I consider it is "forever". Let me put it this way, I wouldn't mind being one of my animals!

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I take it from the comments you consider all users as abusers. Does this mean you would lump me into the same category as those I recovered the above animals from? That the better part of valor would have been to let them be killed, abandoned, abused in the full meaning of the word, rather than them have to do some light labor to contribute to the general welfare? Yes, I know, the better part would be to rescue and not expect anything. Wish I was that rich!

    If economics have nothing to do with it, here is my challenge. If any one of you has the wherewithal and would like to offer to put up the money in order to care for all 29 of my animals for the rest of their lives (I would still do the work it entails), then I will cease and desist immediately. I will find another job to care for the humans in my family.
    Offers anyone? A word of caution, 21 are equines and mine tend to live a long time. My first pony and other retirees are 35, 38 and 40+. I WILL NOT let them go, as in the few earlier in this life instances that I had to let go of animals, some of those "good homes" turned into bad or those people passed them on to who knows what. That is why I do NOT sell even when asked or offered much money for my valuable wonderful ponies. I figure if you donate half a million, and of course I then could not add any more animals, no matter their plight, then we should be covered. But honestly, don't you think that half a mil would be better spent on real true abuse? But if you feel that strongly and want to contribute it, then I will put them ALL into the retirement foundation. Your donation to the non profit I have set up for the cripples/retirees would be tax deductible. (I don't have my own retirement planned but theirs is!)

    And I can only guess that I will get a bunch of "but they are YOUR responsibility". Yes, and I took them on with the idea that they would contribute to their own care. If YOU disagree, you are FREE to give us the half a million and have your way. I really wouldn't mind. You know, my 13 working ponies ALL rotate working, whereas my husband and I don't get those breaks! The rest are rescued cripples or retirees.

    Careful, because in being so extreme, you may wind up hurting those of us who care enough to try to do something about the real abusers and who do, in fact, care for and take care of and responsibility for their animals. I too, disagee with many standard practices in the animal world.

    There are always disagreements with humans. In that, I admire our animal friends more than humans! Much simpler! There are those of course who say I did the wrong thing by "saving" Molly. How inhumane I am. Then like you, saving was fine, just don't "use" her. The general agreement is that it is great and her job is wonderful. Then I get why did you save her if she can't be bred or ridden?!!! Degrees, people, degrees. As Bea said, small increments (as we know the magic wand seems to be AWOL!)
    Thanks once again for dicussing this! Kaye

    August 8, 2008
  13. Kaye,
    We must agree to disagree on this. A favorite place some of us have to contribute to is called Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary ( ). Michele and Chris, who run the sanctuary, rescue and care for hens from "cage-free" facilities (as well as those from factory farms), donkeys, llamas, cows and other animals. PPS has a great model and none of their animals are made to work. Perhaps a fundraising expert can help you become financially sustainable so you feel the animals you rescue don't have to pay their way. Your local nonprofit resource institute or community foundation probably has pro bono strategic planning and fundraising experts to help you. Perhaps there are grants you can apply for.

    Kaye, there are so many animals in the world who need help. Right now. Today. I choose to do what I can by being vegan, as that prevents suffering and killing. And I choose to rescue. But I choose not to rescue more animals than I can care for (financially), as I have not chosen to create an animal sanctuary and accept donations for their care. I must say the way you are going about your "ask" is most unappealing, as its tone is sarcastic and insulting. I've worked with nonprofits for about half my time (and much of that work is pro bono) for over a decade, and I can safely say I've never had an ask like that.

    Again, we disagree. My ethics don't include making animals work, and yours do.

    Finally, I don't consider taking beliefs to their logical conclusions, and avoiding hypocrisy as extremism.

    August 8, 2008
  14. Dan #


    You said: “I get your point in that you are saying that you think their mental competence and ability is of that level. I simply disagree, I believe they are smarter than they are given credit for.”
    My point was NOT to compare the intelligences of disabled humans with nonhumans, but to compare the *vulnerability* to abuse of disabled humans with nonhumans.

    Nonhumans are indeed much more intelligent than most humans give them credit for, and in many ways, nonhumans can be far more intelligent than normal adult humans, much less disabled humans so we might agree on that point. Where normal adult humans are more intelligent is in language, abstract concepts, and abstract logical relationships, but that’s about it. *Most importantly, intelligence is completely irrelevant to the right not to be exploited.*

    Other than what you’ve written here, Kaye, I have no idea of any specifics of how you treat or use your animals or how much I would or would not object to it. I do think it is possible to have mutually beneficial relationships with nonhumans, but I think we ought to leave them alone as much as possible. Once we domesticate them, it is often required that we have a relationship with them, but that relationship ought to be a fiduciary relationship where we are the animals’ guardians and benefactors, not their owners and exploiters.

    I suppose there could be a gray area where one person would assess a relationship as a “benefactor relationship” and another person would call the same relationship an “exploitive relationship”, but if there is no use, then that gray area doesn’t exist. I don’t know enough about your relationship with your animals to make a judgment on it generally, and I do not make any judgments in that regard, except that I don’t think it is beneficial to Molly to be transported from hospital to hospital. I think it would be acceptable for people to come see Molly, but I don’t agree with taking Molly to see others, at least on any regular basis.

    I’m curious: Are you a vegan? Although I believe non-vegans can treat animals wonderfully (my non-vegan mother and her dog is a good example), I also believe most vegans (with the moral reasons built into the word vegan) literally transform their whole way of viewing animals.

    The best way to help animals – and you certainly don’t have to be a millionaire to do it – is to go vegan and encourage others to go vegan. Avoiding the exploitation of animals entirely is not extremism; it is consistency.

    August 8, 2008
  15. Bea Elliott #

    Kaye….. I hope you don't think that when I referenced "small increments" that I "supported" such – It's that I know in reality, "increments" is the situation I must "accept". "It's what is" – and it could be a worse…..

    However, given a choice – as in which charity (philosophy) I would support- I would seek the organization(s) that deviated least from my "ideal". Because I "accept" that there are "increments", does not mean that I approve or support them. I was merely conceding that "degrees" exist….. There was no "hooray" intended that it does.

    August 8, 2008
  16. Kaye Harris #


    I apologize if it seemed to you my comments were sarcastic and insulting. They were not intended to be so. Try reading it with sincerity in mind. You are right in that we agree to disagree. I can only say that I applaud your viewpoint and sticking by your guns.

    I got into my business many years ago, it was not and is not a "rescue" or sanctuary. I have always picked up rescues as my "pets", better I think than "buying" or breeding or leaving to be euthanized. I rescued after Katrina because animals were dying by the thousands and there were only a few of us (compared to the job) to do what we could. The organization I worked for pulled over 3000 out of New Orleans. My own personal foundation is meant to help animals that have worked and keep them from being discarded when their "useful" days are done. It is separate from my business.

    Dan, I am not vegan. You did acknowledge what I was trying to say, which is that it CAN be an opinion, where one person decides a relationship is exploitative rather than benefactor and someone else may not. For example, if I charged to teach kids how to groom a pony, which helps the ponies, and makes money for the foundation, is that "exploitative" or "benefactor"? I am not claiming to be either or neither, but your viewpoint would probably label me both, depending on which animals we are talking about. I am not going to defend it or argue against yours. I applaud you also.

    Bea, I did not take what you said as complimentary or hooray. I guess again, my point has been made for me. There are degrees whether we like it or no. I do not believe, and I would HOPE that even in your(collective) books and your beliefs that you would not lump "abuse" with "use" in all situations. An example (in my book) would be those 300+ animals living in horrible conditions that was just in the news.

    No Dan, I am not vegan. And your comment acknowledged what I was actually trying to get across, which is that no individual and their deeds should be judged by someone who doesn't know them, so thank you for not judging without giving up your own beliefs. I was told by someone else that Molly SHOULD be put down because she MUST be in pain. My point to her was if she wasn't here, looking Molly in the face, how could she judge.

    I do think we have a basic point of agreement, in general (I hope!) and that is we all believe that the world sure could be a better place for animals. Thank you all for caring about that.

    Interesting, but no one commented upon my reflections about man's inhumanity to man. Until you handle his problems with his own species, it will remain difficult to handle problems with others. I am not saying don't keep trying, bravo for it, just that as a basic problem, it is probably the key to the rest.


    August 13, 2008
  17. Dan #


    Thank you for your considerate tone and words. Even if we disagree in the end, it is far more productive to discuss these issues *without* hostility as you are doing now.

    Humans certainly have a serious violence, cruelty, and exploitation problem among ourselves as is evidenced by past and current atrocities like ethnic cleansing, exploitive labor practices (both wage and chattel slavery), and subjugation of women and minorities, to name a few.

    A very large part of the animal rights, vegan, and abolitionist ethic put forth by the current abolitionist movement (which is very different and separate from groups like e.g. PeTA) is that we ought to oppose all of these forms of prejudice, exploitation, and violence, regardless of toward whom it is directed or what their sex, race, nationality, or species happens to be.

    Sexism, racism, and speciesism are all the same basic wrong: treating similar cases differently. Some examples are as follows: Denying an intelligent woman or person of a minority ethnic group an education or the right to vote because she is not a man or he is not of, say, Northern European ancestry. Denying a fully, conscious and sentient animal his or her life or subjecting him or her to a difficult life because he or she is not human.

    So you are correct, it is all interconnected. Treating humans inhumanely or unjustly contributes to the idea and tendency of treating nonhumans inhumanely and unjustly, and the reverse is true: treating nonhumans inhumanely or unjustly contributes to the idea and tendency of treating humans inhumanely or unjustly. Thank you for repeating your point about human violence and exploitation inflicted on other humans, and let’s all do what we can to make the world a more peaceful place for all its inhabitants, regardless of how or in what form they came into the world.

    August 15, 2008
  18. Kaye Harris #


    I had gotten into hurricane issues and did not check this blog back. I do really appreciate your words also. I think that it is important to continue any dialog in a considerate manner.

    Al-Qieda and others like it is trying to make its point in violence. They will only be happy (maybe) when all others are forced to agree with them.

    As you said lets all try to make the world a better place. And communicate our viewpoints with kindness is a good first step. And again thanks to all who try to make a better world for animals.

    Thanks again, Kaye

    September 29, 2008

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