On Horse Blogs and Bird Sites
I was going through footage for a documentary I’m working on and the editor wanted to use a clip of me saying: I work with a lot of non-profits, and all of them are close to my heart, but this is the one issue that we can resolve in my lifetime (the issue is the terrible prospects for emancipated foster youth). Meanwhile, I get that that’s powerful and it will make the audience feel hopeful, but it’s not true.
I think about Greyhound racing and horse-drawn carriages and say: those are two uses of nonhuman animals that we can abolish in my lifetime.
There are two new blogs, one called The Central Park Blogger, which makes me long for Manhattan. That is, until I think about the horses. The video posted, which is a trailer for Blinders, is of course disturbing, as are most videos about animal use. In the May 23 post, the blog’s author (John B. Moore) writes:
During the past few months I’ve been forced to confront the awful truth of the matter – that, no matter how quaint or traditional, there is no defense for making horses live in squalid cells and have to walk through traffic behind buses and trucks. That’s without even considering the accidents that occur.
Predictably, the first commenter (Sean Flaherty) insists the horses are happy and the tradition of the carriages is "lovely." Don’t think for a moment that I let that one go in my comment. There’s also the person (Liam McM.) who writes that it’s legal, and actually thinks: "If it is so bad why is it not against the law?" There is a desperate need for Critical Thinking 101 regarding this issue, and fortunately Mr. Moore is providing it.
Note that I did not miss the photo in the banner space of a polar bear at the zoo. Perhaps the bear’s captivity in a most unnatural environment might one day also be a topic of concern for The Central Park Blogger.
Next we have Horsewatch NYC, a blog focused on the carriage-horse industry, with a tagline that reads:
Time to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City! You can make a difference for NYC horses." It has photos, stories, interviews, links and things you can do.
Finally, I must admit that one thing I never thought of was bird mills. Check out Bird Mills: The Hidden Truth for footage of the kinds of operations that produce the birds sold in pet stores. There’s so much attention given to the canine and feline "pets" we create, and birds certainly suffer just as terribly. This site is also the site of Project Perry, which is a rescue and sanctuary operation in Virginia.
The horse-drawn carriage issue might not sound like a big deal if you don’t live in Manhattan or another city that has them (we have them here, where it is regularly 85+ degrees, and we might have the country’s worst and most dangerous drivers). But when you have to see them regularly they move into a space, not just in your heart, but in your stomach, and cause a low-grade, ever-present nausea. This might be a single issue, but for the horses it’s the only issue.