PETA Global 2018 Issue 3
H orseback riding was my life. I spent every chance I could get at the barn. Riding filled my days, and horses filled my sketchbooks. I was in love. But if I had recognized then what I do now, I would have made different choices. By Janie Bresee WHY MY LOVE OF HORSES MADE ME GIVE UP HORSEBACK �IDING E Q U I N E E Q U A L I T Y E Q U I N E E Q U A L I T Y
Tammy’s Tale: AMother Who Died for Dairy No One’s Going to Call the Midwife
Vegan boots: © Lindsey Miller Photo
T ammy the cow desperately needed a a vet, she got an assault. Farmworkers restrained her with a metal vise clamped around her hips and forcibly dragged her calf out of her uterus with a huge mechanical “calf puller” – and no anesthetics for her or her baby . The calf died during birth, and Tammy died several days later, after receiving no veterinary care whatsoever. Another cow who had died in labor was dumped with her partially born calf’s head protruding from her birth canal. Those are just two of the many instances of abuse that PETA Asia documented on a dairy farm in New South Wales, Australia. Calves were bludgeoned to death with hammers, cows were shocked with electric prods, and sick and lame animals were left without veterinary treatment. The farm is a member of Norco, Australia’s oldest and second-largest dairy cooperative, whose products are sold in Australian supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths, and ALDI, sometimes as store-brand milk and ice cream. Norco products are also sold in China, Japan, New Zealand, and the Philippines. As this exposé and all the others that PETA and its affiliates have conducted on dairy farms around the world reveal, every sip of milk, slice of cheese, and scoop of ice cream spells suffering for cows. Cruelty is the dairy industry’s stock-in-trade – worldwide. Getting Hit ‘Again and Again and Again’ Births on dairy farms are not happy occasions. Calves on this particular farm were soon snatched away from their mothers, thrown onto trucks as if they were sacks of potatoes, and hauled away. Heartbreaking footage shows distraught mothers calling out to their babies and chasing after the trucks. veterinarian. She was struggling to give birth and crying out in pain. But instead of
seven times before dying, the blows raining down with sickening thuds. A worker commented, “Like, you can hit it again and again and again, bro.” Drop the Miserable Milk Sick and injured cows were also cruelly killed. Workers shot some of them in the head multiple times with captive-bolt guns. One was still moving her legs as a tractor dragged her away by the neck, leaving a trail of blood in the mud.
This was slavery, plain and simple. And that I could not support.
I took lessons at a stable that trained competitive riders, and I did well in competitions. I was told – and believed – that horses needed to be ridden for their own exercise and mental stimulation. Of course, they do need exercise and mental stimulation, but to get it through riding, they first have to be “broken” so that they’ll accept the tack, the bit in their mouth, and a human on their back. No horse is born that way. As prey animals, they naturally fear and avoid having anything on their back. Furthermore, horses are naturally wild, brilliant, strong, and strong-willed. To satisfy my desire to ride them and ensure my safety, trainers had to break their will, break their spirit, and essentially break down much of who they were as individuals. On top of the mental and emotional strain, lugging around humans and heavy equipment is uncomfortable to horses and can even be painful. Bridles yank their heads, metal bits pull and tear at their delicate mouths, saddles weighing at least 25 pounds (more than 11 kg) are cinched tightly around their torsos. Some riders use spurs and a whip to exert even more control. submissive acquired reputations for being “grumpy” or “moody.” They were assigned to riders who could take the “challenge.” I was an accomplished rider and unafraid of such animals. But as they determinedly pulled on the reins, they also started to pull off my blinders. Was this really an equal partnership? And if so, then why did I need to inflict pain in order to make them do what I wanted? Some strong-willed horses who resisted having their spirits broken and becoming completely
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Once this revelation sank in, I hung up my riding tack and haven’t ridden since. Now, I volunteer at horse sanctuaries and work with those who have been rescued from abusive industries. I spend time with them on their own terms, not perched on their backs. Many of them have been damaged, both psychologically and physically. But they learn to trust people who are gentle and patient. It’s an indescribable feeling watching these formerly subjugated animals relearn to be independent, to do what they enjoy without fear of a painful jerk on the reins. In the moments when they come to me because they want to and let me run my hand across their shiny coat even though they don’t have to, I finally feel a connection with them that is genuine.
Distraught mother cows called out to their babies and chased after the trucks.
Workers punched holes in cows’ ears without painkillers and repeatedly kicked downed cows. “Get up, f*cking f*ckhead c*nt,” one worker cursed as he kicked a cow who simply couldn’t stand up.
PETA Asia has reported these findings to authorities.
Take Action Now Cruelty in the dairy industry occurs worldwide. Don’t be an accessory to its crimes
against cows. From vegan cheese at Australian Domino’s Pizza locations to almond milk at Starbucks – nondairy butter, yogurt, ice cream, coffee creamer, and other products are available in grocery stores everywhere. Watch the video at PETA.org/Dairy , and share it with all your friends and family so that they can see for themselves the suffering that goes into every glass of milk and slice of cheese. Encourage them to go vegan.
Janie and friend
Calves deemed “unprofitable” were killed in agonizing ways. One was bashed over the head with a hammer
20 HORSE SENSE
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