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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe this seems like a stupid question. (In my defense, I'm new to veganism).

I'm planning a vacation to Hawaii in August for my best friends birthday, one of the items on the iterary is to go horseback riding as he has always wanted to go.
Since I have been researching veganism, I have become increasingly aware of the ethical issues of using animals for human entertainment. I watched Earthlings. I am wondering how more experienced vegan deal with these issues...Do you ever go to zoos? Own pets? Go horseback riding?

Should I not go, period? Can I go as long as I contact them and do my research to ensure they are treating the horse in an ethicial manner? If so, what questions should I be asking?
 

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I think having animal companions is fine (I'm uncomfortable with the idea of "owning pets"), but would never buy an animal from a breeder or pet shop -- only adopt/rescue.

In my opinion zoos and horseback riding are not vegan.
 

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I think a person draws their own lines at what they're comfortable doing. follow what you feel is ok. opinions on here are just that.
 

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If some vegans say yes and some say no and it comes down to your own reasoning for being vegan, perhaps the welfare of the horses is the issue.
I hate to see Donkeys(for example) trailing up and down hot sun parched beaches with fat kids kicking them..that is so unacceptable...however if the horses are treat with respect and given excellent lives, just as any other companion animal I suppose those would be more acceprable circumstances to a vegan?
Ive never really thought about it...horses terrify me anyway lol.
 

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I used to ride my aunt's horse, and she was well looked after and cared for and was never hurt from riding. I don't see a problem with that, and I'd go again if I had a similar opportunity. But things like the donkeys Goth-Alice described, I'm not ok with.

I'm not ok with zoos, either, but I've visited wildlife reserves where the organisation doesn't profit and the animals have space and specialist care. I'm fine with those.

I have pets, all have been rescues, but I dislike breeders and pet stores.

It boils down to what you're comfortable with. Maybe research the conditions the horses are kept under if you can. It's not anyone's job here to tell you if you can or can't go. That's down to you.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by unovegan View Post

I think a person draws their own lines at what they're comfortable doing. follow what you feel is ok. opinions on here are just that.
I agree with this too, despite my personal opinion. It's not a matter of a bunch of vegans on the internet telling you what you can or can't do; it should be down to your own vegan ethics.
 

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Agreed with everyone! Don't try to mould yourself or create concerns you're not all that concerned about to fit a certain role, better to have your concerns, act on them and stuff the titles. The idea of coming onto a website and asking if a certain activity or practice is "vegan" or not baffles me a bit, you know what your ethical concerns are, so you can work it out yourself. People are going to spout their own reactions based on their own concerns/motivations and ideas of what veganism is anyway, so why is a random, anonymous person on the internet's reasoning going to be any better than yours?
 

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I don't go to zoos, I don't like them one bit. If there was a soley non-profit zoo devoted to conservation work and rescuing animals I'd be okay with that - I don't know if one exists mind you! I think it's disgusting to breed animals in captivity just so that we can gawp at them and people can make money from them, even before I was vegetarian I didn't like them.

I think it's brilliant to have rescue pets, or adopted pets, but wrong to breed them or buy them.

As for horse back riding, I'm not sure. It doesn't benefit the horse at all (as far as I know, I could be wrong as I don't know muich about horses, I'm not a horse person!) so I figured if people wanted to rescue a horse to look after it, riding it would be completely self-serving. That said it doesn't (as far as I know again) harm the horse in anyway either, so if it's just a person, with a rescue horse, who enjoys riding, I wouldn't have a problem with it - I just don't think I'd be comfortable doing it myself. It's certainly a lesser issue in the grand scheme of things, if it's an issue at all.

BUT I wouldn't pay to go horseback riding with a company that breeds horses and sells them out for horse riding, in my oppinion that wouldn't be vegan.

Anyway you can do what you want, mull it over, decide for yourself. But I understand asking, I like knowing what like-minded people think about issues I'm unsure of.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mungbean View Post

Agreed with everyone! Don't try to mould yourself or create concerns you're not all that concerned about to fit a certain role, better to have your concerns, act on them and stuff the titles. The idea of coming onto a website and asking if a certain activity or practice is "vegan" or not baffles me a bit, you know what your ethical concerns are, so you can work it out yourself. People are going to spout their own reactions based on their own concerns/motivations and ideas of what veganism is anyway, so why is a random, anonymous person on the internet's reasoning going to be any better than yours?
This makes sense. Follow your own conscience.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Identity_thief View Post

I don't go to zoos, I don't like them one bit. If there was a soley non-profit zoo devoted to conservation work and rescuing animals I'd be okay with that - I don't know if one exists mind you! I think it's disgusting to breed animals in captivity just so that we can gawp at them and people can make money from them, even before I was vegetarian I didn't like them.
http://www.marwell.org.uk/
 

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I'm absolutely okay with horse-riding, but only if the people riding them CAN ride and know how to respect horses. I used to ride and when I was a kid I went to riding schools where they have all manner of kids ride their ponies and it hardens them up because the kids pull on the reins and hurt their mouths, kick them in the sides, etc. Personally I love riding and the feel of being "one" with a horse, but I haven't ridden for years and not since I became vegan so I'm not sure whether I would now or not. I'd probably have to see how I felt if the opportunity arose. Another issue is that most horse-riding equipment is leather (saddles, bridles), which could be a problem for a lot of vegans. Anyway, there are MUCH worse things happening to horses than leisure riding! Horse-drawn carriages and the racing industry, for example. At least people who own and ride horses generally treat them well. Donkeys are another matter. :-(
 

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It's my opinion that most of the training methods used to make horses controllable enough for humans to be able to ride them are cruel. The riding equipment is pretty awful too. Saddles, bits, whips etc, are all pretty awful things for horses to have to put up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mungbean View Post

The idea of coming onto a website and asking if a certain activity or practice is "vegan" or not baffles me a bit, you know what your ethical concerns are, so you can work it out yourself. People are going to spout their own reactions based on their own concerns/motivations and ideas of what veganism is anyway, so why is a random, anonymous person on the internet's reasoning going to be any better than yours?
Agreed, but I am eager to see if other people have thought about these issues and have any expertise or unique viewpoints that they can share. Like I said, I'm very new to veganism (and have no local vegan friends to commiserate with) so its very valuable to me to hear the opinions of others who might have wrestled with these issues longer than I have, no matter what I chose to do in the end.

Coming into veganism can be difficult, especially when you have been raised in a lifestyle where the ethics of animal treatment were never, ever addressed or even considered. Then, when you start to progressively become aware of the injustices, you want to do right but you are still at a point where you don't even know what all the relevant issues are, let alone how to grapple with them! I can't say at this point that i have solidified "my" idea of veganism. That's why i appreciate this forum and the opportunity to hear people's unique approaches to veganism. Thanks all!
 

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I think it depends on how the animals are treated. For example, I have no problems with the horses drawing carriages at Disneyland, because I've personally seen the horses backstage and I know they're cared for and trained completely humanely. Also, they only work about two to four hours a day, depending on weather conditions and things like that, and they're typically not out in the rain. If the horses at the horseback riding place are treated humanely and not over worked, then I'd personally be okay with it.

As to zoos, it really depends on the place. If it's a zoo that has cramped cages and does nothing for the animals, I wouldn't go. But I might go to the Wild Animal Park/Safari Park or Disney's Animal Kingdom, because I know the animals are taken care of and have a lot of space to roam, and the companies support wildlife, rescue animals, and use the money to help animals. I think "zoos" like those are great because they can also educate people about animals and help them appreciate animals, especially for kids being exposed to animals in good habitats.

I'd say just think it over yourself and see how you personally feel about it. Go with your feeling of right and wrong to determine whether or not you think it's wrong.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by offthahook View Post

It's my opinion that most of the training methods used to make horses controllable enough for humans to be able to ride them are cruel. The riding equipment is pretty awful too. Saddles, bits, whips etc, are all pretty awful things for horses to have to put up with.
Yeah, they call it "breaking" the horse for a reason.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by unovegan View Post

I think a person draws their own lines at what they're comfortable doing. follow what you feel is ok. opinions on here are just that.
agreed. I dont nessecarily think its un-vegan to go horse riding but it depends on your own personal views. Dont think of it as "am I allowed to do this as a vegan?" more "does this fit in line with my vegan morals". Like a lot of veg*ns here, I do not like the idea of keeping an an animal for entertainment or profit purposes, no matter how well it's treated. I personally wouldn't go horse riding as I'd just feel wrong doing it. HOWEVER, if you personally would be ok with it as long as the horses are well looked after, so be it (although at a holiday resort thats unlikely). I guess its a case of rights vs welfare.

you could always go but not take part in that specific activity. such as taking photos of everyone on their horses if thats possible.
 

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I very much agree with offthahook's post.

A few questions you might ask:

1. When not being ridden are the horses kept in stables most of the time?
2. What happens to a horse when they are retired?
3. Are all horses routinely tethered whilst stabled?
4. Are whips used to "chastise" horses?
 

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I'm not vegan so I hope it's okay that I'm posting in here


Quote:
Originally Posted by LoopyVegan View Post

I'm absolutely okay with horse-riding, but only if the people riding them CAN ride and know how to respect horses. I used to ride and when I was a kid I went to riding schools where they have all manner of kids ride their ponies and it hardens them up because the kids pull on the reins and hurt their mouths, kick them in the sides, etc. Personally I love riding and the feel of being "one" with a horse, but I haven't ridden for years and not since I became vegan so I'm not sure whether I would now or not. I'd probably have to see how I felt if the opportunity arose. Another issue is that most horse-riding equipment is leather (saddles, bridles), which could be a problem for a lot of vegans. Anyway, there are MUCH worse things happening to horses than leisure riding! Horse-drawn carriages and the racing industry, for example. At least people who own and ride horses generally treat them well. Donkeys are another matter. :-(
I think this is really what's to consider and I agree that donkeys have it so bad!
I competed in equestrian for 9 years (I started when I was only 5) but as time went on I moved to smaller and smaller riding schools because I didn't like the way the horses were treated at the bigger ones and I didn't want to use a whip. I think some horses really enjoy it and it's a bonding experience for them - just like walking a dog. The other issue to consider is how the horses have been broken in or trained - they do some pretty HORRENDOUS stuff which I think it slowly being phased out, luckily. I know a lot of places now break horses in through really lovely, humane bonding methods. They make efforts to ensure the horse isn't scared and isn't doing anything it doesn't want to. I don't think tourist-y places usually have the horses best interest at heart though. So many of those horses are so docile you know something odd has happened along the line - whether that be cruel training methods or being overworked or the horse just being plain bored.

I don't really see the problem with open range zoos and wildlife parks. I H-A-T-E regular zoos. They are so painful to visit. I think people generally enjoy open range zoos more but I think it's also a good way to raise awareness about what is happening to those animals outside of the zoo. A lot of people won't take an interest unless they see the animal that's being treated badly. For example, someone is far more likely to consider the plight of gorillas if they see a gorilla up close and see it engaging with other gorillas. Humans are pretty dumb like that - so many find it hard to care about what's happening outside of their little bubble of existence.
 

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riding a horse is not vegan IMO.

anytime we use animals for work, monetary gain, or pleasure w/o consent it is not vegan. animals cannot consent for themselves there fore it is wrong to use them for our own purposes.

would you be paying to ride the horse? the people that get the money are profitting from using the horses, not vegan.
would you bring your own non-leather saddle and riding accessories? many are made of leather, not vegan.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvourmother View Post

riding a horse is not vegan IMO.

anytime we use animals for work, monetary gain, or pleasure w/o consent it is not vegan. animals cannot consent for themselves there fore it is wrong to use them for our own purposes.

would you be paying to ride the horse? the people that get the money are profitting from using the horses, not vegan.
would you bring your own non-leather saddle and riding accessories? many are made of leather, not vegan.
I disagree with that last part, about leather. If a family member gives me a ride in a car that has leather seats, am I not vegan? Should I carry around a non-leather car seat with me everywhere? What about if I go to someone's house and sit on their leather sofa. Do I need to carry around a non-leather sofa with me everywhere, too?
 
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