Question of ethics : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

A reporter from the Boston Globe called about the convoy we're planning in reaction to the two horses shot down. He gave me a question to ponder overnight: Maine is a rural state with many livestock farms and hunters. Why would those who kill animals regularly be so outraged at the killing of the two horses? My answer would be that raising livestock for meat and hunting fulfills a need for food. These animals were killed needlessly. Even for those who hunt for the sport of it would agree that there is no sport in killing two animals that would walk right up to you, at least deer have a sporting chance. Anyone else who raises livestock for meat that would be outraged at the senseless slaughter of two of your animals?

-- Epona (, December 05, 2000


The horse killers were on the news here in MS.Am happy something is being done about the killings,hope they get the max.In our county we have an old law protecting beast of burden. It takes a vet or police officer to put down a horse even if it has a broken leg.

-- Bettie (, December 05, 2000.

Not to mention that they BELONGED to an individual. I don't know about your state laws -- in WI, horses are 'livestock' and not liable for the (somewhat) umbrella of protection that 'companion' animals have (little as it is). We are trying to change that designation, since the few folks I know that are still using their horses for draft are making most their money off the team giving hay/sleigh rides, and only do some light seasonal work at sugaring time, logging, etc. They take good care of their teams -- horses you wouldn't be embarrassed to have seen in your pasture. The ones who use their teams for pulling competitions and DON'T care for them need someone to kick them in the posterior to take care of them.

We had a well-publicized case in Wisconsin where the son of the U football coach broke into the room of another student, stole the pet parrot belonging to that student, and then microwaved it to death. Of course, the local bird club and other animal lovers were up in arms over that one -- they knew it would be dismissed due to his 'youth' (remember, he's over voting age) and who his father was -- lawyers even came up with resounding recommendations from 'name' people about what a fine young man he was and how it couldn't be proved that he did it (altho he had already admitted it and said he was 'sorry' --- NOT!) Also about how this should not go onto his fine 'record' to put a blot on his 'bright future'. After all, it was 'only' a bird...and what follows? 'Only a cat'? 'Only a dog'? Only a horse'? 'Only a child'?

If I were closer to you, I'd join you.

-- Julie Froelich (, December 05, 2000.

I too was upset at the needless waste of to good animals. It reminds me of the time that a farmer wrote COW onthe side of his cows in blaze orange and still somebody felt the need to shoot atleast one of them. It's sicking to see and hear of such needless waste. I am glad that the police did catch the boys who were at fault. I think that far too many kids these days have far too much freedom. They really need more parental guidence. It is really a shame that there isn't any sure fire way to stop these killings.

-- michelle (, December 05, 2000.

Just my opinion, I think that was a really dumb question for the reporter to ask! ( and I mean nothing personal against you by saying that). Shouldn't it be self evident that someone paid good money to buy and feed these horses, not to mention any personal attachment to them? I guess he must think that anyone who kills their own meat is heartless enough to kill any animal just for the fun of it, even it if belongs to someone else. As for punishment, how about making these teenagers work at a horse ranch until they have paid off the value of the animals they killed. Maybe it would give them some kind of work ethic and give them some time to think about it, as well as learning how wonderful the animals they killed can be.

-- Rebekah (, December 05, 2000.

cases of animal killing in two states I lived in were not teenagers.They were adults using this as a means of getting some sort of revenge.Not all are misguided youth having some "fun". Our farmer and two neighbors had three cattle killed,three barns burned down and the night the last barn burned, the headstart bus was torched as well.Info I had indicated the bus burning has something to do with a coming investigation of local government.A Woman's house was also burnt down, for same reason.

So, oftentimes these kinds of events are tied to some nasty business and vindictiveness,not just a little high spirits.That is one good reason why incidents like this should be taken seriously.Not to mention the pure meaness of killing a domesticated,dependent,creature for no purpose than pure meanness.I too thought the reporter's question a little odd.The difference btwn taking another creatures life for sustenance vs hatefulness,is pretty distinct for me. But then I have a reverence for life, especially one that I take to feed me.When I hunt, I give thanks to the animal for offering me it's life.I never "enjoy" the killing,and never will.

-- sharon wt (, December 05, 2000.

I agree, a pretty dumb question on the part of the reporter!!! My horse is my PET, she is not livestock raised for meat, and even so, livestock raised for meat would still be mine, and I should be the one who decides when it is to be slaughtered.We live among the Amish and teams and buggy horses are all over the neighborhood. They are loved and well cared for and most are special to their owners. Weird logic. diane

-- Diane Green (, December 05, 2000.

The reporter was an idiot, there is a huge difference between a horse, which is a pet, or companion animal, and farm animals raised for food, not to mention the fact that they were not theirs to shoot!

I was raised that whatever I shot, I had to eat, that took care of hunting for me, and put a face on every other "meat" product out there, now I'm mostly vegetarian, and, yes, I feel incredibly guilty (and hypocritical) when I do eat meat, which isn't often! Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 05, 2000.

Epona it would be interesting to see your response to the reporter. Also to hear how he/she uses that response. I suspect you may be surprised. Please keep us up to date.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, December 05, 2000.

Definately sounded like a stupid question to me. I will remember to post a link to the article if it gets online.

-- Epona (, December 05, 2000.

People ask me how I can kill animals if I love them so much. I tell them that I love them enough to see that the ones I eat have a good life and are treated very well. When their time comes to die, they are killed as quickly and humanely as I can possibly manage, and I usually wind up crying when I have to do it. I hate to do it, but I do it myself, whenever possible, to see that the job is done right. That is my own sacrifice, a tiny sacrifice in comparison to that of the animals, admittedly.

In my experience, most people who raise livestock, especially in the small numbers that homesteaders usually deal with, love and respect all animals infinitely more than do clods like that reporter who can come up with such questions.

-- Laura Jensen (, December 06, 2000.

Sorry about your horses. Horse meat however is very good and a lot of people eat them.sweet kinda like moose.

-- hillbilly (, December 07, 2000.

The reporter's question was not "dumb," as some of you have stated here. The reporter's was just seeking to get the person's answer...he or she probably already has feelings on while farmers, who regularly kill and eat livestock, were upset about two horses being killed, but he or she wanted those in the protest to give THEIR reasons....They way their reasons could be quoted in the article...

I've been an investigative reporter for nearly 21 years and sometimes I've had to ask what may seem like "dumb" questions, but it's to get the response of the person I'm reporter's we're not supposed to have opinions!

-- Suzy in'Bama (, December 07, 2000.

Suzy's right. It seemed like a pretty nobrainer thing to us, but to someone who doesn't raise animals, it wouldn't be so obvious.So odd question to us, but probably not to others.

-- sharon wt (, December 07, 2000.

I would be just as outraged had they killed and mutilated a steer in my neighbor's field, too. Or shot an elk and only took the antlers. Killing for fun displays less morals than a coyote. At least the coyote will try to come back to eat his kill.

Our family has the "you kill it, you clean it, you eat it" policy. Those boys aren't as tough as they thought when they have to wade through and clean out a gut shot carcass, then eat some of it the same day. That experience stays fresh for a long, long time.

Even if we were just shooting varmints, ground squirrels and such, we had to skin them out and bury the carcass.

-- Laura (, December 07, 2000.

I'm surprised that the reporter was so easy on you. It's a wonder he didn't ask questions like:

Have you ever noticed these horses sitting around the local tavern?Was that gelding over there trying to get a little attention from that mare? How long has it been going on?

I mean he must have been a rookie. If he had done his job right, Then it would be front page news today, and all the tv crews would have left Florida. I can see the headlines now.

Missing Chads on way to Novia Scotia,Looks like foul play,Horses hauling chads executed.

-- hillbilly (, December 09, 2000.

My sincere empathy to you who have loved and lost horses. I just last week sustained a heartache I have a hard time even relating...

My daughter went out to do morning chores to find one of our beloved Norwegian Fjords dead...... We had left a halter on her, as we occassionally do, and she had freakishly caught the dang thing on the feeder,and strangled herself!! I dont even wanna think about the investment we had in her.......we wailed for days in I understand the pain people go through when losin their sweet horses....

Since I sell organic meat for a good part of my living, (by choice, not because I know nothing else!), I am very passionate, and I hope, knowledgeable......although always open and willing to learning!......about this subject......this is an additional point I perhaps can bring to the meat issue. NOt only do I believe it is ACCEPTABLE to eat meat (very certainly providing it is organically and sustainably raised, cuz doing my bit for MOther Earth a primo priority), I absolutely believe it is ESSENTIAL TO TO CONTINUANCE OF THE PLANET!!!

I have these discussions continually, especially with young people, because I have two teenagers, who, because they intermingle most intimately with societal outsiders, happen to be disproportionately vegetarian. I frequently encounter many excitingly profound teenagers, some of whom like to discuss this subject with me, (although most of them bow out soon after the subject commences), and not one time has one of them responded to my basic problem with the promotion of widescale vegetarianism. Umm.......I just decided, perhaps because this could possibly be a big and prolific thing, I should start a new I will.......(to be continued....)

-- Earthmama (, December 09, 2000.

We're just down the road in Buxton, Epona. I've been following this, too, and I don't believe it has anything to do with animals at all. It has to do with the liberal socialist state we are becoming. The Utopia of Algore if you will. Nothing is anybody's fault. "Children" only go wrong because of a bad life, or because they are misunderstood. Nobody is accountable for what they do, it is always the fault of 'society"! Bull Puckey!! They should take those little pieces of excrement and hang them by their *****. Notice that they haven't identified either of the lovely young "children"! And please, everyone, do not label these little *******s as "hunters"! Yes they used guns. But they are no more hunters than someone who microwaves a hamster is a chef. It's the brain that is defective, not the hardware! Merry Christmas and good luck to all! And may we expunge the unworthy among us! (OK, I know, turn the other cheek. Sorry! Not Old Weird Brad!)

-- Brad (, December 11, 2000.

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