Friday, September 19, 2014

New York Carriage horses and their enemies

Like Joel Katz of Bedlam Farm Journal, I think that the case of these horses, well- kept but attracting the attention and money of --  I can't soften it,  deranged animal "Rights" activists,  possibly backed by the money of cynical real estate interests-- is emblematic of our "rather stupid time" (Ortega), and a preview of what every one of us who lives with ancient human- animal memes-- dog breeders, houndsmen, pigeon racers, falconers, sheep herders, ranchers, dog trainers-- faces. Name it-- there is some fanatic in a city near you who has never kept, never mind bred or worked with, any animal, and that person  is determined to take your animal away and "rescue" (or kill) it,  to at best, a puzzled life behind bars with no work.

Some recent Jon Katz; first from September 16

"Have you ever been absolutely hated by an animal rights activist? I mean HATED so much that they wish to obliterate your very existence. HATED so much that they vow to destroy you and your kind no matter what it costs, monetarily or in decency? HATED so much that your very humaneness and your families identity and legacy and traditions and whatever else you hold sacred and dear are threatened with a campaign to destroy any trace of your existence? What is it about this kind of activism done in the name of loving animals, that loathes humankind to the point of what appears to be utter insanity?"

And this, from yesterday

"The next thing that surprised was learn that the campaign against the carriage horses was not  a debate about the horses, or an argument about animal welfare or the future of animals in the urban world. It was an ideological assault – personal, brutal and relentlessly cruel – against the people who owned and drove the horse carriages. To understand this unnecessary controversy, it is first essential to understand that. It has always been about attacking and dehumanizing the drivers, who have been called thieves, torturers, abusers, immoral, callous, greedy, liars and inhuman or less than human beings.

"This is always the language of hate, the precursor to persecution, the ugly advance work necessary to demonize people to the point that their freedom and property can be taken away by the so-called moral community around them. Earlier this year, one of the gentlest and most beloved of the carriage drivers approached the mayor at a public event with his young son. He asked the mayor why he was do determined to ban the horses, and the mayor said "because your work is immoral." He said this right in front of his son, and then turned away. He did not speak of the horses, he spoke of the character of the people who drive them.

"There it was, from the mayor's mouth to our ears. It is about the people, not the animals. The story has never been about the welfare of animals, not one animal on the earth will lead a better or safer life if the carriage horses are banished to rescue farms and slaughterhouses."

This not young photographer, recovering from open heart surgery and for no reason but that he understands working and domestic animals and can see and think and feel, is the most eloquent defender of our Old Ways on the web. I check him every morning, and you should too. Thanks, Jon, and keep up the good fight.

UPDATE in progress. I am writing this out of saved material.  Libby informs me that Jon is apparently putting his farm up for sale, as his health is shaky. I hope he continues writing and making beautiful photos, but our hearts are with him whatever he does. His eloquent defense of working animals is something we can mine as long as deracinated urbanites try to deny us contact with (CS Lewis phrase) "other bloods".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a zookeeper, I encounter this crazed anti-interaction-in-any-way-with-animals attitude from radical humaniacs that accost me while at work to let me know they HATE all zoos and want them eradicated(always makes me wonder WHY they are patronizing one with their admission fee if they feel so strongly that way!...). I always SHOCK this sort by immediately agreeing with them, and adding that, "in the best of all possible worlds" there WOULD be no need for zoos! But then remind them it IS NOT the best-of-all-possible-worlds, and plunge into a harangue about WHY we DO need zoos now(and probably always will), and most feel very lucky to get away from me several hours lecture later, and likely think twice before bringing THAT up to a zookeeper again! What I have discovered is that this attitude stems from two things, mostly. One is EXTREME ignorance--and alas, it is getting so "politically correct" mainstream to have this non-interaction with other animals to the point where otherwise sensible and intelligent people blurt this knee-jerk stuff too. Sensible and intelligent about some things--just not animals! The other is that so many people nowadays, in urban environments especially, are just so unhappy and unsatisfied with their lives(perhaps from living so unnaturally in an artificial urban environment!), that they are trying to live vicariously through animals that are "wild and free" the way THEY subconsciously wish THEY could live. Since they can't, they try to at least create this "perfect life" for other animals--never realistically realizing there is NO SUCH THING as a "perfect life" for ANYTHING, in captivity, as domesticated, or as "wild and free"!....L.B.