I think I can safely classify myself as an animal lover. We’ve got three horses-two of which were rescued, four cats-two or which arrived on our doorstep as tiny kittens; probably dumped; a Springer who came from the Springer Rescue society after being rescued by the RSPCA. He’d spent the first six months of his life locked in a shed in terrible conditions. On top of that I’ve created wildlife zones and a pond, built and erected owl and small bird boxes around the place. We support The World Horse Welfare, the horse charity where our cob ‘Bill’ came from, and last year planted a small patch with saplings and daffodils which will also be a pet cemetery. Our poor old cat, Bella who died a few months ago is the first client!
On the social media, quite naturally I have a lot of animal loving friends; from people like myself to total zealots. These ‘ultras’ are usually harmless enough if lacking any perceivable sense of humour. An example of this occurred today when someone posted a picture of The Green Party using two horses to pull flat-bed carts which provoked a sadly predictable explosion of ignorant, hysterical outrage at this outrageous act of animal cruelty.
Sadly, the animal rights people who take issue with this know nothing about horses or the real welfare issues which have arisen in recent years since the economic crisis of 2008. Ten of thousands of horses are being dumped, abandoned or starved because their owners simply cannot afford to keep them. Horse welfare charities like WHF simply cannot cope anymore as they just don’t have the facilities, funds or staff to save every horse. Given the terrible condition of horses and ponies who come into their care, the charity would find the suggestion that two obviously healthy,cared for horses pulling empty carts are being mistreated, quite risible in the circumstances.
Horses are incredibly strong and sociable beasts who would not be phased in the slightest by being pressed into service like this. Old and sick horses excepted-they would also appreciate the exercise as quite often, if they are based in an urban setting, they will inevitably be restricted to a yard or stable. I can only guess that these two horses probably enjoyed the day out and the attention.
Zealotry in any form is a pretty dangerous thing; especially allied to ignorance and hysteria. Supporting animal rights is to be commended but being outraged and offended by something which is not even close to being an act of animal cruelty goes to show that the dumbest animals usually just have two legs and an incredibly tiny brain!