Anonymous: im not sure if you've answered a question like this but do you agree with horse back riding (not racing) and showing?

I actually used to compete in eventing and jumpers, and I have a degree in equine science.

Horses may enjoy many of the the jobs they are given, but they are also not able to realize how dangerous some of the things we make them do actually are. This is really where my issue with it is, not to mention the use of bits, spurs and crops. Their lives are not worth risking, just because you like to jump (and I loved to jump).

While I appreciate equestrians who do away with unnatural aids, adopt and focus on a human-equine bond more than winning ribbons, I still do not agree with it anymore. I do think that more ethical equestrians are really important (like my best friend). I hope that with their help more people can see the error in using horses in dangerous ways. And hopefully we will eventually realize that we shouldn’t be “using” horses period.

IVE BEEN PLAYING SKYRIM FOREVER ANDBI DIDNT KNOW MY KIDS COULD ADOPT ANIMALS HOLY FUCK

It’s a rabbit and I have dead rabbits around the house and now I feel awful and gross and whaaaaat.

Anonymous: When my father expressed an interest in bringing my brother and I to a racehorse track one day soon, I immediately denied him. Alas, offering my opinion didn't lead him to believe the horses are exploited or mistreated in any way, shape, or form, and he still plans on searching for tickets. Due to this, I'm wondering if you know of any articles or studies done on said horses and their living conditions that could aid in steering my family away from the racetrack.

fightingforanimals:

Most people regard horse racing as a harmless sport in which the animals are willing participants who thoroughly enjoy the thrill. The truth is that, behind the scenes, lies a story of immense suffering.

Pain and Fear

Forcing babies to work hard and be ridden, jumped, etc at such young ages causes a lot of stress, pain and weakness to their fragile bodies, particularly their legs and joints. Not only that, but horses are ‘played on’ with the fear response - in fact the loud shattering noise at the start of each race when the doors swing open has all been designed to frighten the horse and simulate danger, such as gunfire, which is why even untrained/green racers who have never ever raced before usually go shooting out of the box blindly, not because they ‘want to race’ or were trained, but because of this fear response. Horses have to be trained to enter the starting box safely before they can even race, as many are reluctant to enter this cramped space, particularly because they and their rider are usually heavily padded out with safety equipment - it’s all a bit claustrophobic. Getting in calmly, however, in no way suggests that the horse is not afraid, and when the gates fly open instantly accompanied by loud noises, of course it is going to set off the flight instincts of these sensitive prey animals. Obviously as the horses get more used to it, it’s more habit than anything, but I still find this fear-inducing to be cruel. 

Jiggers represent an example of the extreme lengths that trainers and owners will go to in order to give their horse the best possible chance of winning. The jigger is an (illegal) device sometimes used in training, often in conjunction with a legal device like blinkers. The jigger delivers an electrical shock to the horse and on race day the horse will associates the blinkers with electric shocks and run faster out of fear. 

Statistics - Injuries, accidents, and death

Racehorses typically don’t live long - they either die during the industry, or are killed if they do not win or become too old/retired. They are often killed for meat, or for pet food, but sometimes also used for things like making glue. While it is true that some racehorses get rescued, the vast majority do not, and thus are made to die for this entertainment. Approximately 18,000 foals are born into the closely-related British and Irish racing industries each year, yet only around 40% go on to become racersMany of the spent horses end up as pet food, are fed to hunting hounds or are exported or sold from owner to owner in a downward spiral of neglect. Because of their personal histories and temperament, retired racehorses make difficult ‘pets’, hence the tendency for them to be taken on and then quickly offloaded.. Of those horses who do go on to race, around 400 are raced to death every year.

Racehorses suffer so much from this industry that it is almost impossible to find a truly sound, healthy horse. It is extremely common for horses to develop serious racing-related illnesses such as bleeding lungs and gastric ulcers.

  • Between 90% to 100% of horses have bleeding lungs, with 56% having the blood pushed up through in their windpipe and in severe cases, out their nose (exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhaging) after racing. A Jockey Club-approved ‘remedy’ for exercise-induced lung bleeding is to dose the victim with rattlesnake venom. The logic behind the alleged cure … exposed by Kareena Grey - is that, because a bite by a rattlesnake causes massive internal haemorrhaging, a small amount of venom can help build immunity to bleeding. (‘Trainers feed horses with snake poison’, News of the World, February 18, 2001.)

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  • Approximately 86% suffer from stomach ulcers, due to not being given the opportunity to naturally graze and level out their hydrochloric acid secretion which is produced throughout the day in grazing animals. 
  • The legs of race horses are already in a vulnerable state due to breeders having systematically traded bone for speed. Those bones contain a spongy, honeycomb section inside, which acts as a shock absorber. The structure is necessary, notes welfare expert Dr O’Brien, ‘because, when galloping at speed, the force on the lead foreleg as it hits the ground is over one and a half times the total bodyweight of the horse. Dr Thomas Tobin, of the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Kentucky, has shown that horses’ bones actually become weaker during the course of a race, sometimes by over 40%. The results can be appalling.’

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  • Tongue ties are strips of material passed through a horse’s mouth over the tongue and tied under the jaw. They are used on racehorses primarily to stop the horse from putting its tongue over the bit to avoid being controlled by the rider. Ultimately, the tongue tie is largely used as another form of control over the horse. If this much control is required to make the horse perform, it suggests the horse is only complying under duress.

Whilst performing, they are whipped in an attempt to spur them on, which is painful and makes them fearful and distracted. Some people argue that it ‘doesn’t hurt them because they have thick skin/can’t feel it’, but this is a downright lie and shocking that it is even used.

In fact, the more a horse is whipped, the less likely he or she is to win the race. The survivors are denied their freedom and pushed to their limits to serve the financial interests of trainers, owners and bookies. Because they are bred for speed, not strength, many sustain limb and other injuries and are shot. Others are sent to auctions and if they are not bought, they go to the knackeries, which are violentally cruel places where animals suffer horrifically before death.

Breeding and genetics

The way these horses have been bred is also a serious issue of animal welfare. Weighing in at around 1000+ pounds, but supported on tiny ankles no bigger than a human’s, and forced to run around dirt tracks at speeds of more than 30 miles per hour while carrying people on their backs, these graceful yet fragile animals are an accident waiting to happen. A New York Daily News reporter remarked, “The thoroughbred race horse is a genetic mistake. It runs too fast, its frame is too large, and its legs are far too small. As long as mankind demands that it run at high speeds under stressful conditions, horses will die at racetracks.” Horses begin training or are already racing when their skeletal systems are still growing and are unprepared to handle the pressures of running on a hard track at high speeds. Improved medical treatment and technological advancements have done little to remedy the plight of the racehorse. Between 700 and 800 racehorses are injured and die every year, with a national average of about two breakdowns for every 1,000 starts. Strained tendons or hairline fractures can be tough for veterinarians to diagnose, and the damage may go from minor to irreversible at the next race or workout. Horses do not handle surgery well, as they tend to be disoriented when coming out of anesthesia, and they may fight casts or slings, possibly causing further injury. Many are euthanized in order to save the owners further veterinary fees and other expenses for horses who will never race again.

Twenty years ago, Shergar, the most desired stallion of his generation, had a ‘book’ of around 40 mares. Today, successful sires are required to impregnate hundreds of mares every year. Supreme Leader and Pistolet Bleu covered, respectively, 325 and 335 mares in 2001. Both died from what leading racing commentator Alistair Down, surmised was exhaustion. ('Ireland's NH production line running out of control', Tony Morris, Racing Post, November 12, 2002; 'Heroic workloads making maniacs of super-sires', Alastair Down, Racing Post, November 6, 2002.)

Left to their own devices, mares in the wild have one foal once every two years, or perhaps twice every three years. They deliver in the spring, after a pregnancy lasting 11 months. The racing industry forces mares to produce a foal every year and as soon after January 1 as possible. ('Liberator' (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection journal), Jan/Feb 1988.)

To achieve the earlier birth, breeders bring forward the mare’s oestrus cycle - the period when she is receptive - from May, when it would naturally occur, to February or March. This is done by exposing her to months of artificial lighting lasting, not uncommonly, 16 hours a day.  (Moira F Gunn, vet with commercial breeding organisation, Armstrong Bros of Inglewood, Ontario - in her article, ‘Preparing the Mare for Breeding’.)

'First, if you have a young maiden mare who's frightened of the stallion… you've seen it in the covering yards. Well, she has to be screwed down and doped and raped.' (Interview with ‘Twink’ Allen, Racing Post, February 18, 2003.)

'Ownership' and money, money, money

Racehorses can cost millions of dollars and are often purchased by syndicates, which may be composed of thousands of members. There are also trainers, handlers, veterinarians, and jockeys involved, so a horse is rarely able to develop any kind of bond with one person or with other horses. Racehorses travel from country to country, state to state, and racetrack to racetrack, so few horses are able to call one place “home.” Most do not end up in the well-publicized races but are instead trucked, shipped, or flown to the thousands of other races that take place all across the country every year.

An equine veterinarian told The Wall Street Journal that the exercises can be “dangerous because they are market driven.” The veterinarian added, “You have a large number of participants in the horse industry … that essentially invest in [racehorses] like stocks.”

Given the huge investment that owning a horse requires, reported one Kentucky newspaper, “simply sending one to pasture, injured or not, is not an option all owners are willing to consider.” Care for a single horse can cost as much as $50,000 per year. When popular racehorse Barbaro suffered a shattered ankle at the beginning of the 2006 Preakness, his owners spared no expense for his medical needs, but as The New York Times reported, “[M]any in the business have noted that had Barbaro not been the winner of the Kentucky Derby, he might have been destroyed after being injured.” Compare Barbaro’s story to that of Magic Man, who stepped into an uneven section of a track and broke both front legs during a race at Saratoga Race Course. His owner had bought him for $900,000, yet the horse hadn’t earned any money yet and—unproven on the track—wasn’t worth much as a stud, so he was euthanized. Eight Belles suffered a similar fate when she broke both her front ankles after crossing the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.

Drugs and lies

Many racehorses become addicted to drugs when their trainers and even veterinarians give them drugs to keep them on the track when they shouldn’t be racing. “Finding an American racehorse trained on the traditional hay, oats, and water probably would be impossible,” commented one reporter. “There are trainers pumping horses full of illegal drugs every day,” says a former Churchill Downs public relations director. “With so much money on the line, people will do anything to make their horses run faster.” Which drugs are legal varies from state to state, with Kentucky holding the reputation as the most lenient state.The New York Sun explained that because “thoroughbreds are bred for flashy speed and to look good in the sales ring … the animal itself has become more fragile” and that “to keep the horses going,” they’re all given Lasix (which controls bleeding in the lungs), phenylbutazone (an anti-inflammatory), and cortiscosteroids (for pain and inflammation). Those drugs, although legal, can also mask pain or make a horse run faster. Labs cannot detect all the illegal drugs out there, of which there “could be thousands,” says the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. (Ted Miller, “Six Recent Horse Deaths at Emerald Downs Spark Concern,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer 8 May 2001; Bill Finley, “Sadly, No Way to Stop Deaths,” New York Daily News 10 Jun. 1993; Glenn Robertson Smith, “Why Racehorses Are Cracking Up,” The Age (Australia) 15 Nov. 2002; Bill Toland, “Horse Racing Has Grim Underside,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10 Jun. 2006; Rich Hofmann, “Racing Brings Up the Rear in Safety,” Philadelphia Daily News 23 May 2006.)

Then there is sodium bicarbonate, given two to three hours before a race, via a stomach tube, to delay muscle tiring. Known as a milkshake, it works by increasing blood CO2(23). (Dr Steven Barker, chemist with Louisiana State Commission and a professor at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, testifying in a Louisiana Court of Appeals case heard Sept 25 2002.)

Slaughter and Experimentation

  • This video highlights some of the darker sides of racing.
  • Nature’s Child, a 12 year old mare, ran only 10 races before she was sent into breeding. When she could no longer produce foals, she was deemed worthless and discarded. She was brutally slaughtered right in front of her friend, and did not die immediately either. The video also shows a horse being dragged half-dead across the yard and dismembered whilst still breathing and struggling. He took 4 minutes to die.
  • Racehorse deathwatch1141 deaths have occurred in just 2704 days.
  • To study cartilage damage caused by strenuous exercise, 12 young female Thoroughbreds were exercised on treadmills - gently or hard - for 19 weeks, during which time they were kept indoors. All 12 were then killed and their lower legs sawn off for analysis. (Equine carpal articular cartilage fibronectin distribution associated with training, joint location and cartilage deterioration. Murray RC, Janicke HC, Henson FM, Goodship A. Equine Vet J 2000 Jan;32(1):47-51.)

Animal Aid’s report, A Hiding to Nothing, is extremely informative on the cruelty of whipping horses and how it ironically makes horses less likely to win. Here are some of the points covered:

  • It is based on a meticulous investigation of 161 races that were run during October and November 2003, involving 285 jockeys and 1500 horses. It has produced nearly 200 tables setting out how often and when in a race a whip was used. The whip rate of individual jockeys is tabulated and it also gives data showing which branch of racing (All Weather, the Flat, National Hunt) resorts most often to the whip. Crucially, it assesses the impact whip use has on the outcome of a race.
  •  The pro-whip lobby has always argued that whips are useful for ‘guiding, encouraging and correcting’ horses. In other words, the whip allegedly assists horses to perform better and run more safely, while also providing helpful chastisement for when they behave ‘badly’. In reality, the visual recordings of races show that whipping horses is more likely to drive them off a true line and even cause them to fall. The same evidence shows that whipping horses is less likely to produce an ‘improvement’ in behaviour. Animals frequently became ‘soured’ by the whip. They become fearful, hesitant and less likely to perform to their potential. But the aspect of our survey most devastating for the industry itself is that whip use is shown clearly to be counter-productive in terms of producing winners.
  • Some people argue that the whip doesn’t hurt a horse, it just makes them ‘listen’. The reality is best exemplified by the testimony of Jasmine Chesters, the Braunton-based owner of a young Thoroughbred filly. In a Winter 2002 letter to the Racing Post, Ms Chesters wrote: ‘When she came out for her first race this year, the only words I can use are that she was thrashed. Not by other horses but by her jockey. She was hit at least 12 times inside the last furlong and a half and finished third. Her rider was suspended for two days but the harm he did to my horse is incalculable. She has never run the same since. She breaks well but on reaching about the four-furlong pole, when she is nearly always in the first four or five, as soon as she is smacked to push her on, she drops herself out. Her emotions must be in turmoil. She must be expecting to be thrashed again. We have nursed her all season but to no avail. Now I have to make the decision as to what to do with her.’ 
  • The survey details the whip being used on young horses during their first ever race. Horses in a state of total exhaustion, their tongues hanging from their mouths, were also beaten. Animals out of contention were whipped - apparently due to frustration or for punishment. The guilty riders included apprentices as well as champion jockeys. Animal Aid recorded them with their hands off the reins and beating down on neck and shoulders. Horses were commonly whipped ten times as they approached the finish line. And horses being whipped 20, even 30, times during a race was observed.

Key research by Kareena Grey of Discover Racing Death, Dr Tim O’Brien, independent animal welfare researcher, Dene Stansall, and Kathy Archibald, Animal Aid science researcher.

If there’s anything else I can help with, please do let me know.

Soooo there is the blind/deaf senior terrier mix at a no-kill near me and I am sort of freaking out cause I want to bring him home and give him cuddles and love for the rest of his life even if he only has a few months or a year left. LOOK AT HIM

I don’t want him stuck in a shelter. Oh my god. If my boyfriend wasn’t already allergic to the cat…

Vegetarian 7 years. Vegan 5 months

allcatsaregreyinthedark:

Looking back, I’m so proud of ten year old me for making the best decision of my life, to refrain from eating animals. At such a young age I can’t believe I made such a mature decision especially living in a house where all my family ate meat, just shows how will-power and love can go an extremly long way.

When veggie I never thought I could hack veganism as it seemed asthough I would live on lettuce alone for the rest of my life, but back in April I found a whole new lifestyle and although it’s crazy where you find animal derivatives (make-up etc) I will never look back, people say that one person not eating meat won’t do a thing, but I feel that every little helps and encourage everyone to try it! 

Animals are friends not food!!

Yes yes yes. You’re awesome. :)

trees-andteas:

So I’m trying out raw till 4 and I have looked into it and read bad and good reviews/opinions.
If I find by next week it isn’t working out, i’ll stop.

*****If anyone has any thoughts/opinions/experiences about raw till 4 that they’d like to share, please shoot me a message! :)

I haven’t done this but I know a lot of my followers have. So guys if you have some advice, do it up! :)

Anonymous: I'm 14 and have recently gone vegetarian. My parents aren't very supportive. The only meals they give me are salad and maybe an apple. they don't bother to do research, like I have, and every time I make food they make fun of me. My mom says that I'm going to get too skinny and look like i have an eating disorder, and no matter how many times i try to explain that vegetarians eat more than salad, she won't listen.

Congrats on going vegetarian! That is wonderful and the perfect first step. 

I am awfully sorry that your parents are giving you such a hard time. Not only are they being douches, they really aren’t helping you take care of yourself properly. Eating fruits and salad is great, but you probably aren’t getting enough nutrition. I am happy that you are motivated to cook for yourself though, and that you do your own research. That is really important. It’s pretty sick that they are making fun of you honestly, that is not an ok thing to do to a child of any age. I wish I could help you more with that in particular, because that is rough. Do you have another adult in your life that you can talk to?

Will you parents buy you veggie products at all? Or can you buy some yourself? If so you can check some out here. Can you get them to look at cookbooks, or websites or watch a film? 

If you are loosing weight at all it’s probably because they aren’t being supportive and helping you feed yourself. Of course if you do have something bigger going on please let me know. Can you speak to your doctor about it privately? Or maybe the school nurse? 

I would like to speak to you off anon, if you are comfortable with that. Truthfully I find your parents’ actions really upsetting and I hope that they don’t do these types of things to you beyond the vegetarian issue. Please let me know, I would love to hear back from you. I am always here if you need help, or just want to rant. <3 Good luck. 

Anonymous: ive been stuck in a cycle for so long with this vegan thing. like, ill be super motivated woohoo lets do this. then ill go back to eating not vegan and being not motivated. HOW DO I STOP THIS ITS SO ANNOYING?

I just got an ask from someone who is also having trouble keeping motivated. 

I linked them to a bunch of sources, so you might want to check out that post here. Remember that the products you are eating come from abused animals. You are literally paying someone to abuse animals for you. If you love animals, you will cut these things out.

Try some vegan cooking to keep you motivated food wise. Watch some documentaries about farming and animals to remind you that these beings deserve more. And if you can, go meet some of these animals for yourself, or ever volunteer. 

Let me know if you have any specific questions, I am always happy to help. :)