Is there any other form of animal torture more horrifying than that which horses experience? We are going to present evidence that the answer is no. For example, research by several international organisations suggests that “cruelty to animals” may not be a meaningful concept in the context of the modern horse.
This article draws on research by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of South Carolina and the Institute of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan (Italy).
Many people think that when they say “cruelty to animals”, they are referring to the physical torture and suffering of humans, such as burning alive, but more importantly also to the psychological harm to the animal, that can arise from a cruelty-free approach. Yet, there are many other ways to cause harm to animals and the horses suffer a variety of ways that might even be more extreme.
For example, a recent University of British Columbia study found that the horse’s tail is among the most sensitive parts of its body, often at the back bone and often in the region of the vertebra on the horse’s spine, making the experience of horse tail being pulled can be very painful. In addition, researchers have documented that horse tail has a very low resistance, meaning that even if its legs were removed some would be lost. Therefore, the horse may need to be pushed and pulled a considerable amount prior to being killed.
The University of California study found that there have been no deaths in the United States, the most humane means of execution, in the past 2,000 years.
A more comprehensive investigation, carried out in Sweden in 2008, documented that horse deaths had increased by approximately 70 percent since 1970 under a new law which is a result of animal cruelty awareness campaigns.
An American-based organisation called Humane Society International has made its stance clear when it comes to the issue of animal cruelty: “The abuse of animals is cruel, plain and simple. I’d like to see Americans recognize this, and stop supporting horse slaughter. I’m sick of seeing an animal brutally murdered in the name of a business that pays the tax and gives its animals our tax dollars so they can eat, sleep and reproduce. We also need to stop punishing the animal that died for the pleasure of a commercial horse business that is doing nothing to contribute to the welfare of the horse.”
Despite this, the industry continues to engage in practices that many argue are cruel and cruel to the horse itself – some examples of which include: not providing
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