A Horse is a Horse, but a Human is Human

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Shamefully, opening arguments were heard this week by the Connecticut Supreme Court about an Appellate Court’s decision to rule horses “a species naturally inclined to do mischief or be vicious.” The ruling stems from an incident in 2006 when a young boy was bit in the face by a horse at a Connecticut Farm while trying to pet it.

It was an isolated incident, no different than my cat biting me when I try to do something she doesn’t want. Anyone who has animals understands this dynamic — it’s not mischief or vicious. It’s communication.

I found myself more and more incensed this week, as the headlines developed on local media. Horses vicious? Let’s put this in perspective, shall we?

  • HUMAN BEINGS are responsible for more than a million deaths every year due do intentional violence. One million.
  • Their list of vicious behavior includes murder, rape, domestic violence, suicide, war, genocide, terrorism, and torture.
  • HUMAN violence is among the leading causes of death for people aged 15-44 years worldwide.

Yet Connecticut’s court system is wasting precious resources to debate the danger inherent in horses? Horses.

I can’t help but be reminded of Gulliver’s Travels, and his visit to the country of the Houyhnhms where he lives among the majestic horse-creatures and the “Yahoos” or humans. Upon his return home he remarks…

“I must freely confess the sight of them (humans) filled me only with hatred, and the more by reflecting on the near alliance I had to them. For although since my unfortunate exile from the Houyhnhm country, I had compelled my self to tolerate the sight of Yahoos… my memory and imagination were perpetually filled with the virtues and idea of those exalted Houyhnhm.”

• • •

Statistics courtesy of writer and philosopher Filip Spagnoli’s blog on human rights.

IMAGE: Horses in West Texas, ©2013, Jen Payne

16 thoughts on “A Horse is a Horse, but a Human is Human

  1. Excellent point.
    Here in NL the various media have been making a big deal about a lawyer from Maine who was mauled by a polar bear in the Torngats earlier and stirring up feeling of how visitors need armed guards when they venture there because polar bears can be dengerous.
    Me–I think they are all idiots. Go to google maps and locate the Torngat mountains in Labrador. Notice how they are totally unspoiled and beautiful.

    Jenn–who is the interloper in the Torngats Who, really is the dangerous, vicious creature?

    Not a lot of people agree with my answer…
    But I feel we have common ground regarding bears and horses.
    Cheers :-)

    1. I agree completely! There is this pervasive opinion (among some) that animals are here to serve us, that we are somehow more worthwhile, more intelligent, than other creatures on this earth. Given the statistics, I would beg (and beg again) to disagree.

  2. This whole court case is ridiculous in my opinion. I raise horses. When horses do behave aggressively toward humans, almost always it is because some human mistreated the horse and because they are large animals, they can accidentally hurt someone. Obviously, I do not hold the view that all animals were put here to serve humans. What about large cats, rare species in the Amazon that no one even sees–such a notion is illogical. All humans are in much greater danger of being hurt or killed by another human than by any animal.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. In many ways, I feel animals have a better understanding of respecting life than humans do. There is a difference between causing injury as a means of communication, rather than a conscious act meant to inflict pain or death, (something humans have been able to do with expert precision, unfortunately).

  4. Unfortunately, most people do not think, instead they go through life like simple sheep in the fields, ripping up the grass and creating poo, but not offering much. (Not as much as real sheep) This is another example of people who should not be allowed out of the home. Horses are not usually aggressive, so I wonder what the whole story was?

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