Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let me chuck this out there

There's been a lot of discussion in the last few years every time the Calgary Stampede runs.  The discussion has to do with the humane-ness of running events like the chuck wagon races.  The main reason we are discussing this is because there are accidents and horses are dying.

I wish there was a simple answer to this issue, but there isn't.  One of the biggest problems that we have in our society, is that once we have justified doing something, and especially if we turn it into a tradition, it's like trying to move mountains if anyone comes along and suggests that we need to change.

I can't exactly explain why, but I seem to have a problem when people say "but these animals were bred to run, so let them do what they were bred to do".  The question I have is why are we breeding animals to do our bidding?  It's just my opinion, but I have a problem with breeding animals for a specific purpose other than the practical things in life like doing work or the providing food.  Now I know that sounds hypocritical, but there you have it.  I don't have a problem with animals being bred for food or to perform work, but I do have a problem with them being bred just for our entertainment, especially if there's a chance it could result in their death.  I also have a problem intrinsically with pets being bred, especially when the breeding results in genetic anomalies that lead to high incidence of disease and early death.  Even if I could get my head around the idea of breeding horses to run, there are people who say that race horses can only run competitively for short while before they are no longer competitive. Once these horses have reached this stage, I'm told the only solution is to put them down (and get turned into food). There are people who would suggest that horses that are no longer suitable for thoroughbred racing are still suitable for sports like chuck wagon races.  These people say that all these horses want to do is run. I say fine, let them run. Let them run free. Is running around in a circle what they really want to do? I don't know.

Now I've heard some people say things like "there is a risk in living for all creatures".  Or things like "we don't take cars off the road even though thousands of people die in them". This is true, but the difference is that people who drive cars do so as part of a conscious choice.  Drivers and passengers of vehicles choose their fate.  Horses and other animals do not.  I think this is the important difference. Yes, animals may be bred for our entertainment and sport.  But they don't get lined up when their six months old and get asked "so - who wants to race and possibly a risk their life?" Animals are a slave to our whims and that's why I believe we have a responsibility to look out for their best interests.  Right now, it appears that we're only looking out for our own.

Granted, I'm operating from a very specific bias.  I don't own a horse. I don't race horses. I don't bet on race horses. I've never worked on a ranch. I've never even ridden a horse. So maybe, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.  Everything I am saying is just my perception of the situation.  It doesn't mean that I am right. By all means, chuck in your two cents.

1 comment:

Retro Blog said...

Then there is the bibilical version something about Adam being put in charge of all the animals, so that is a green light. And to balance that there is also the biblical aspect regarding man being a good caretaker. It is a toss up for sure.

I very much dislike over breeding for specific short legs or long ears etc. Pointless and vanity thy name is human.