As we all know, Naughty Tobiano aka Mendy is one of the louder blog voices for the aspiring horse eater faction. Despite dodgy research and questionable logic, she continues to post up blogs featuring all the reasons we should give her and her PSA buddies our blessings to torture and eat horses. Facts be damned, she will tirelessly search the internet looking for some obscure study to twist around in order to back up her lunacy and then post it all up as fact. One of the things NT likes to accuse Anti slaughter people of is anthropomorphism, which is where one assigns human characteristics to other animals, living things etc. etc.
My problem with the concept of anthropomorphism is that it is not clear what traits are or should be exclusively human. I think for most purposes, the human trait in question, as it pertains to horses is emotions. Dr. Temple Grandin feels that most animals do have simple emotions such as fear, rage, discovery, confusion, gain, loss, happiness and depression. She does not think that animals are capable of complex emotions such as shame, guilt, embarrassment, greed, respect and contempt. Clearly, Dr. Grandin has never met my dog. Seriously, I have to disagree with some of that. I do believe animals are capable of many of these complex emotions. I’ve read Dr. Grandin’s books, I’ve attended a lecture of hers. She’s quite brilliant at many things. However, I think her understanding of emotion is hampered by her own autism in some cases. Before you start hollering that I am anti-disability, please understand that on the autism spectrum most often times, emotions are not processed the same as other people. The one base emotion that is almost always lacking is empathy. This is also an emotion that animals are not capable of. It’s too abstract. I’m not sure that horses feel love like we do, but rather develop a trust and dependency whether that is on a favorite pasture buddy or a person. I do know that horses are very `in the moment’ with any of their feelings. They don’t spend a lot of time worrying about tomorrow or rehashing what happened yesterday, yet they will have a long memory when it comes to self preservation.
One of my current horses was severely abused in a former home. Despite the fact I never carry a crop or wear spurs, he remains traumatized by the mere sight or sound of a whip snapping. It can be quite interesting riding in the arena with somebody else using a crop. He doesn’t associate me with a whip or any other kind of pain or trauma, so he rides and handles beautifully for me. He always comes when he’s called and has never so much as lifted a foot in my direction. With anybody else, he is nervous and reactive. Does that mean he loves me more than anybody else? Probably not, although it would be nice to think that. What I really think is that his self preservation instinct has allowed him to trust me and feel safe with me. Time and consistency has taught him that I am not a threat to him. Because he doesn’t have to `worry’ about harm with me, he can focus on what I ask him and be a wonderful partner. It took a very long time to get there with him. I imagine had I tried to force the issue with him, he would have ended up one of those `bad’ or `unsuitable’ horses that need to go to slaughter. In fact, he was labelled that way when I bought him and was actually one day away from getting on a truck bound for a slaughter house in Canada. Six years later and many happy rides, I still shudder to think what might have been for him. For me, he is the face of slaughter.
Now, getting back to our horse eating buddy, Naughty Tobiano. She likes to accuse us all of riding glitter farting unicorns and shitting rainbows only because we feel real empathy for the plight of horses that are shipped to slaughter. She makes this argument all about eating the meat, when in fact for me and most people I talk to, our problem with slaughter is the suffering that horses have to go through for it. The horse does not care what is done with it’s remains, they do care a whole bunch about pain and suffering though. NT has ridiculed us in her blog for thinking horses think like humans. I’ve never said that they do, nor have I seen other anti-slaughter people do that, but if she says it, it must be true. So, tell me what this ridiculous prose that she uses on her `about me’ page on her blog is, if not anthropomorphism?
“He was a bad horse. He bit. He kicked. He struck. He trotted to a rhythm in his head that only he could hear. And, he loved her dearly, fiercely. He once galloped into a field where she was trying to get her mare with another horse kicking and acting like an ass. He galloped in, protecting her from a kick, taking a full mule style kick to his side and then driving the other horse to the ground in a fashion the likes of which I have never seen. He would challenge her every day but you better run if you went after her. This horse, the real naughty tobiano, loved his owner with all his heart and soul. As she loved him. It didn’t matter how bad he was (and she never made excused for him or didn’t discipline—but she did accept this “bad” attitude as who he was), she never gave up on this horse. Three years before his death, a change began to come over the NT. He was mellowing and it was a joy to watch him nicker in delight upon seeing his owner. It was shocking to watch her gallop him through a field with nothing on—no halter, no bridle, no reins. Magic that only a few witnessed and was never paraded around on youtube or training videos. No advertising from that planet so many of today’s horsemen find themselves from—you know the one: “Planet Look At ME!!” I wanted the NT trip and fall in a field once with her on his back. He ripped his shoulder making sure he did not land on her. And, when she did not get up, he charged those of us wanting to help her and laid down gingerly next to her. Had I not witnessed it, I would not have believed it.
If people and horses can be soulmates—-which I think there is that possibility—-the NT and his owner were as close to it as possible. The NT’s farrier once said, “I have heard tales of the one owner horse and having been thrown by the NT 15 times, he is one of them. Pray he dies before she does.”
She retired her use of his name when he died and I watched her nearly die from the loss. I hope she will share a dream that she had that pulled her out of the dark place she was going—it is inspiring and reflects that even in death, he continued to be a naughty horse. For it’s his spirit that lives in his former owner and his spirit that drives the actions of this blog now.”
Yes dear readers, this is hypocrisy at its finest. If this was to be believed, this horse was the Black Stallion, Trigger, and Mr. Ed all rolled into one. Talk about gilding the lily! If you ask me, this is just one great big load of unicorn crap!