Yay, We Won!!

Yay, We Won!!
Now Where's My Carrot??

Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Our Brethren Carriage Horses Down in Charleston

I happily stumbled upon a delightful article this morning, written by a Dr. Edward M. Gilbreth of Charleston, South Carolina.

In the piece published by The Post and Courier, Dr. Gilbreth lays out a cogent, comprehensive, and fact-filled argument in favor of protecting Charleston's carriage industry from the humaniacs at PETA. Dr. Gilbreth's flair for writing is a bonus; the article is both entertaining and colorful, giving us glimpses of the history and character of Charleston itself.

Because I am unsure of the copyright situation, I will not reprint the article here on my blog, but you can read it here.

But I will take the liberty of posting, what is to my mind, the most delicious line:

"It's the skewed ideology negatively impacting humanity while providing no net benefit to animals that I protest."

This is the crux of all that is wrong with the humaniac 'movement'; it needs to be understood and repeated often.

I'd like to thank Dr. Gilbreth for making my day.

Long live the Charleston carriage industry!


Anonymous said...

The issue of inhumane treatment of animals is becoming more important, to more people, every day. The editorialist misses the mark by seeking to marginalize this as a "PETA" issue. Criticizing a group's ideology while perpetrating unnecessary and inhumane treatment of animals is misguided and represents perverse logic. Or maybe it is cognitive dissonance. At any rate, the Charleston carriage horses have it bad, by many objective measures. They haul up to a dozen people, and in the last year there have been some scary accidents involving spooked horses pulling these carriages. These horses work in extreme heat and humidity, as numerous tourists and residents have complained. Charleston has many lovely aspects--its stately homes, wrought iron scrollwork, gardens, the Battery, and more. Why ruin it with unnecessary mistreatment of animals?

MichaleenFlynn said...

Dear "Anonymous" (or should I say Mary Alice? lol)-

I can't speak for the rest of humanity as you can, but the inhumane treatment of animals has always been important to me.

As a child I was fascinated - maybe even obsessed - with animals. All week I would look forward to watching Wild Kingdom on Sunday nights with my grandfather; all of my toys and books were animal-themed; I would rather go to a zoo than just about anywhere else on earth.

As a child I brought home every stray cat, dog, and wounded butterfly that I came across. I fed the squirrels peanut butter bread from my hand on my front porch; I saved pieces of bread from my lunch to feed to the sparrows.

I got into fights with Billy Vanchiro up the street because he used to think it was fun to mush down ant hills in the sidewalk cracks. After a hard rain, I would take a piece of cardboard and scoop up worms dying in puddles to throw them back in the dirt.

As an adult, I have stopped my car numerous times to corral loose dogs, and helped to find their owners; I have personally caught/spayed/released 3 feral cats, and donate to a local effort that continues to do this vital service. Animal shows are still my favorite TV fare. My favorite books are the All Things Bright and Beautiful trilogy by James Herriott. I currently have 2 rescue cats, one that came out of sewer on 9th Ave & 47th Street when it was 4 weeks old. He is now 19 years old.

And I still feed the squirrels by hand and make sure the bird feeders are full.

And I own two NYC carriage horses.

My horses, like all of the horses in NYC, get everything they need to lead comfortable, pleasant, and content lives - and more.

There are tens of thousands of neglected, abused, and abandoned horses across this country which, if it were possible for them to have their druthers, would eagerly change places with one of my horses.

Hell, I'm sure there are many well-kept private riding horses who would enjoy the personal and daily attention and exercise that my horses get, as many thousands of horse owners board their horses in nice stalls in suburbs and rural areas, but rarely ever go to see them or ride them, leaving them more to an existence rather than a life.

As Mr. Gilbreth rightly points out, the Charleston carriage industry is tightly regulated with regard to temperature; routes, carriage design, etc are all until a watchful eye; violations are strictly dealt with.

Most importantly, Mr. Gilbreth points out that nothing in life is without risk. This brings me to the most philosophical aspect of the topic of the urban carriage horse:

In the 21st century, horses are no longer needed as a mode of transportation, or for draft purposes in industries. This means that any horse alive today falls into one of three categories:

1) a pet/hobby horse
2) a working animal
3) an unwanted animal

Carriage horses fall into the 2nd category. Like all horses with jobs, they would cease to exist - first falling into the 3rd category - if the jobs disappeared.

In England, there has been much talk lately about the demise of the Suffolk Punch breed, an incredible draft animal with a long and fascinating history. The Suffolk Punch is almost extinct. Why? Because there is little WORK for them, and because of their size, they are not suitable for riding and cost a small fortune to keep.

This would be the fate of hundreds of thousands of horses and perhaps even whole breeds here in the US, if the animal 'rights' people have their way. Because you and I both know that the strident calls for the end of the carriage business are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg - what the ARs call 'cruel' extends far beyond urban carriage rides, and their agenda has been exposed time and again, leaving a whole host of horse-related activities they don't approve of to be ticked off a long list.

I find it highly ironic that you brought up 'cognitive dissonance', because nowhere is this concept better demonstrated than amongst the ranks of the humaniacs.

Most 'animal rights' people take little if any personal steps to align their own behavior and lifestyle with their alleged 'beliefs'; for instance, they may sign a petition against carriage horses, but then go home and eat a steak. When this hypocrisy is pointed out to them, they cannot reconcile the two, with the end result being the guilt, anxiety, and confusion that defines cognitive dissonance.

This I am sure is partially responsible for the foul, rageful attacks that we endure, both in print and in real life, as this dichotomy translates into spluttering rage.

But enough of all of that - the bottom line is that you don't KNOW our horses, or Charleston's horses, or the any of the good people who have the good fortune to work with these fabulous animals everyday.

And sadly, you don't want to know, because the truth would upset your tidy, self-righteous, and errant crusade.

And that would mean that you are wrong.

Amber said...

Michaleen, that was a totally awesome and correct in every way response. Bravo!

And my goodness that's so sad about the Suffolk Punch. They are my favorite breed of draft horse, I just love how they look. But, true to what you said, I can't have one because I don't have work for it to do and can't afford the feed bill for such a big horse. My 900 pound Arab costs enough to feed!

That was a really great article, thank you for posting it.

We, and our animals, can either hide in our bedrooms and barns in fear of injuring ourselves, or we can go out and live life to the fullest. I know my horse is far happier and healthier when we are riding a lot as opposed to standing around all day, and I'm sure yours are too!

BTW have you seen my blog? It's linked on my profile...

MichaleenFlynn said...

Hi Amber - I couldn't agree more, well said!

I will definitely check out your blog, thanx for the heads up!

Slave Driver said...

A pleasant article and well crafted response, Michaleen. I was astonished to read a piece in the Sunday Money section of the SL Trib about the BLM horses. But it comes down to in this economy at least our horses are being well cared for because they have jobs and are not simply "Hobby" animals or pets.

Keep up the good work.

MichaleenFlynn said...

Hey, Slave, thanx for popping in, and for the kind words!

And yup, you are dead-on about working horses - luckiest ones around, these days.

Hope all is well with you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Haha, I love that you use the fact that your cat is 19 to help justify your point.