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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

INCENTIVES FOR CRUELTY: ABUSE OF TENNESSEE WALKING HORSES

The horse is tortured by having its  front feet wounded in all sorts of invidiously creative ways to make them so painful that the horse will place its weight on the hindquarters to avoid as much of the pain as possible.
Please go here for an excruciating video and endless details you never wanted to know. 

INCENTIVES FOR CRUELTY: ABUSE OF TENNESSEE WALKING HORSES
Torture seems to be a very American thing. It also seems that it is mostly invisible to us. Here is an example made visible: The Tennessee Walking Horse.


Yesterday we covered the abuse of horses in horse racing; in this post we discuss a recent video released by the Humane Society. The video highlights an instance of a larger issue, which is how arbitrary human tastes can create incentives for cruelty.

The concern revolves around the Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH), a breed developed in the U.S. in the late 1800s and bred to have smooth gaits, including their distinctive “running walk,”  that are unusual in most breeds. Over time, a more exaggerated version became popular among show judges and spectators at TWH shows; called the “big lick,” it requires horses to shift their weight to their back legs and pick their front legs high off the ground. Fans enjoyed the flashy, unusual movements and horses that performed the gait began taking home more prizes. This created a powerful incentive to get horses to exhibit the unnaturally exaggerated gait. 
This is an example of The Inscription of the Body on an animal, the horse.
And the movie BUCK is an undoing of The Inscription of the Body. Or a natural and deliciously sensuous and loving one on another horse. "Your horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you will like what you see and sometimes you won't." - Buck Brannaman
So this is done so riders can experience that oh so cool smooooth gait; The rider gets the beautiful smooooth ride at the expense of the tortured horse.
It is also a Chinese thing. See:

Review: Snow Flower And The Secret Fan;The Inscription of the Body


This one is about the bound feet of little girls in China to make them more desirable. Pre Chairman Mao.