Animal welfare and animal rights are not the same; neither are the people who support each cause. Animal welfare means horse people making sure horses are kept and utilized in a humane and safe manner, with consideration given to the animals’ health and well-being, both mentally and physically. Animal rights, on the other hand, means that horses have the same rights as you and me. Sorry, but I can’t take that road.
Animal rights activists say they want horses to live a “natural” life. Okay, show me a “natural” situation where there is not a hierarchy. Point out any animal in the wild that doesn’t have a predator/prey community with which to contend. There are “laws” in Nature, and there are “laws” in urban settings to make sure people control, contain, and manage the animals they keep for the good of the “urban” community.
We all should be working to see to the welfare of our own horses, and the horses within the scope of our influence (which is broader than you might imagine). When the topics of PMU mares, transporting horses to slaughter, use/abuse of horses in competition, or catastrophic injuries in athletic horses are raised, we should point with pride to the advances being made in helping horses be healthier, and happier, in their jobs.
With this in mind, it excites me to tell you that next month we will have new information in a breaking article on use of anesthesia in horses which are injured at the peak of athletic competition.
This is a breakthrough because as many of you know, an excited or injured horse is a difficult animal to control. If the injured animal has been competing, and is down and needs to be moved to a different location for more intensive medical care, then the problem is compounded.
How can you anesthetize the horse so it is not in pain from injury, can be moved without causing further harm, and be recovere