LETTER: Horses’ well-being should guide decision on carriages

I’ve seen letters talking about economy and business in regards to horse carriage tours, if they are hazardous or loved. But what about the interest of the horses themselves. Not our interest – their interest. Who speaks for the horses?

The businesses who own the carriage companies? That doesn’t seem like an impartial voice. The locals who don’t want things to change? Perhaps the horse carriages represent some kind of security: “This is what I’ve always known and it makes me uncomfortable to imagine something different.” Maybe even bringing up a sadness for the fact that the places we live always change.

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There are people who may think that asking such a question as who speaks for the horses is for bleeding hearts, perhaps even ridiculous, rolling their eyes to cover up their feelings of hostility towards those who challenge them with the idea that animals have a right to autonomy.

I don’t believe these horses are mistreated. And I don’t believe this particular issue is life or death. But the view behind this issue is. And we have to be shaken free of it for ecological, moral and emotional balance to return planet wide.

READ ALSO: Thousands sign petitions following proposal to phase out horse-drawn carriages in Victoria

There is a much larger belief that most people don’t bother to think about. A prejudice so deep and so unconscious for many, that it is taken as truth. That human beings are superior to non-human animals, that we are at the top of a delusional hierarchy, and therefore have the right to decide what levels of freedom other beings possess and what happens to their bodies.

That model is sounding a little familiar in the human-to-human world too, isn’t it?

Science itself, in the past responsible for promoting and adopting speciesism, is now endlessly finding evidence of previously unknown and mind-blowing levels of intelligence, cognition, feelings, organization and awareness of pretty much the entire natural world.

So who speaks for the horses? What do they want? I don’t know. I propose a view of harm-reduction at minimum. If we don’t have to use them, don’t.

READ ALSO: Victoria city staff tasked to determine work involved to phase out horse-drawn carriages

I for one have never felt comfortable watching their enforced service. And I definitely would want to know from council, what is going to happen to the horses if the carts are retired and that they would live a life of well-being.

Satya Pal

Victoria

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