Torment without end
Many instances of tremendous animal suffering are protected by established custom and reinforced by poverty. The solution sometimes may involve a struggle with both factors, not exactly easy in most parts of the world. Below some notes from Kim Bartlett’s personal diary, taken during a recent trip to the far east.
Dateline: 1/24/10 [print_link]
By Kim Bartlett, Publisher, Animal People
AFTER SPENDING THE EARLIER PART of the afternoon at the CARA clinic and a cat adoption event at a nice mall, I took a taxi to San Agustin church. On the way there, I got my first glimpse of a carriage horse. She was being galloped down the major highway leading to the road that goes along Manila Bay. The horse was being made to run so fast that she almost kept up with the speed of the cars. She was frothing with mouth wide open.After the mass, I walked to the fort, which was about 4 blocks from the church. I watched as many carriage ponies went by, most of them without paying passengers. They went slower on that road, which was cobblestone, but there were some who were frothing at the mouth.
It was almost dark when I got to the square of the fort. One of the drivers noticed me and turned his horse my way, asking if I wanted a ride along Manila Bay. I told him no and that he should be kind to his horse. He seemed either not to understand what I said or to think it was ridiculous, as he just smiled. I stood in the square for a few moments, close to two other carriages. One driver had left his carriage and the pony was twisting one way and another. The driver went back to the pony and slapped him on the back, which made him quiet down. The second driver was trying to get some Filipino people – about four of them – to take a ride. His horse was in the worst condition of all. THere were large sores and there seemed to be a draining wound; the coat of this pony was quite wet. The weather was cool, so things must be much worse for the ponies in summer.
Obviously the Manila ponies, just like the Jakarta ponies, are being brutally used until they break down completely, at which time they are no doubt butchered for meat.
It was dark by then and there seemed to be no police around and neither was there good lighting in the square. I thought it was probably stupid of me to remain there, hobbling around in the dim light, and I had seen enough of the carriage ponies to believe it was the almost the same situation as I saw in Jakarta after the AfA in Bali. Obviously the Manila ponies, just like the Jakarta ponies, are being brutally used until they break down completely, at which time they are no doubt butchered for meat.
Honestly, I would happily kill each of the horses so that they would suffer no further torment. I am sure they were all in severe pain.
The horses seem to be driven down the highway, from some distant place, for daily service in the old area of Manila, probably just as it was in Jakarta.
To begin with, I would say there needs to be an assessment: who owns the horses, where do they come from, how are they treated when they are not being driven, what happens to the horses after they are driven to death? Are there any regulations or laws that might call for better treatment of the ponies? The very public mistreatment of these ponies contributes to attitudes about what is proper treatment of animals in general, so there is a wider issue here that goes beyond the misery of these particular creatures.
KIM BARTLETT is a noted animal defense activist, and publisher of ANIMAL PEOPLE, the world’s leading independent publication dedicated entirely to animal issues. Through ANIMAL PEOPLE, she has also helped to establish many animal defense organizations across the Third World, some of which are directly supported by AP. She can be reached at email@example.com