Like Joel Katz of Bedlam Farm Journal, I think that the case of these horses, well- kept but attracting the attention and money of — I can’t soften it, deranged animal “Rights” activists, possibly backed by the money of cynical real estate interests– is emblematic of our “rather stupid time” (Ortega), and a preview of what every one of us who lives with ancient human- animal memes– dog breeders, houndsmen, pigeon racers, falconers, sheep herders, ranchers, dog trainers– faces. Name it– there is some fanatic in a city near you who has never kept, never mind bred or worked with, any animal, and that person is determined to take your animal away and “rescue” (or kill) it, to at best, a puzzled life behind bars with no work.
Some recent Jon Katz; first from September 16
“Have you ever been absolutely hated by an animal rights
activist? I mean HATED so much that they wish to obliterate your very
existence. HATED so much that they vow to destroy you and your kind no
matter what it costs, monetarily or in decency? HATED so much that your
very humaneness and your families identity and legacy and traditions and
whatever else you hold sacred and dear are threatened with a campaign
to destroy any trace of your existence? What is it about this kind of
activism done in the name of loving animals, that loathes humankind to
the point of what appears to be utter insanity?”
And this, from yesterday
“The next thing that surprised was learn that the campaign against the
carriage horses was not a debate about the horses, or an argument
about animal welfare or the future of animals in the urban world. It was
an ideological assault – personal, brutal and relentlessly cruel –
against the people who owned and drove the horse carriages. To
understand this unnecessary controversy, it is first essential to
understand that. It has always been about attacking and dehumanizing the
drivers, who have been called thieves, torturers, abusers, immoral,
callous, greedy, liars and inhuman or less than human beings.
“This is always the language of hate, the precursor to persecution,
the ugly advance work necessary to demonize people to the point that
their freedom and property can be taken away by the so-called moral
community around them. Earlier this year, one of the gentlest and most
beloved of the carriage drivers approached the mayor at a public event
with his young son. He asked the mayor why he was do determined to ban
the horses, and the mayor said “because your work is immoral.” He said
this right in front of his son, and then turned away. He did not speak
of the horses, he spoke of the character of the people who drive them.
“There it was, from the mayor’s mouth to our ears. It is about the
people, not the animals. The story has never been about the welfare of
animals, not one animal on the earth will lead a better or safer life if
the carriage horses are banished to rescue farms and slaughterhouses.”
This not young photographer, recovering from open heart surgery and for no reason but that he understands working and domestic animals and can see and think and feel, is the most eloquent defender of our Old Ways on the web. I check him every morning, and you should too. Thanks, Jon, and keep up the good fight.
UPDATE in progress. I am writing this out of saved material. Libby informs me that Jon is apparently putting his farm up for sale, as his health is shaky. I hope he continues writing and making beautiful photos, but our hearts are with him whatever he does. His eloquent defense of working animals is something we can mine as long as deracinated urbanites try to deny us contact with (CS Lewis phrase) “other bloods”.