Owners vs Lovers

Okay, so after talking to someone today about “rehoming”– let’s be frank, a great deal of the time that’s just a euphemism for “getting rid of” – pets, I feel the need to rant a little bit.  This particular conversation was about a horse, but it could easily have been about a dog, a cat, or any other animal.

If you were to ask a horse owner what they think of their horse, you will probably get a response like, “Oh, I love my horse!”

That might be true, or it might not.

There is a difference between horse owners and horse lovers, and a lot of people who say they are horse lovers – or even think they are horse lovers – really aren’t.

Loving a horse – or any pet, frankly – means providing for it fully and unconditionally. If there is a food shortage, lovers will make sure their pet was fed first, before they eat themselves. They ensure that all of the animal’s needs are accounted for…in a financial pinch, a horse lover would make sure his or her horse is taken care of before spending anything on themselves.

Ah…now there’s the rub. Who these days, in this economy, is not feeling a bit of a financial pinch? And pets can be expensive to care for.

People who can no longer afford to take care of their horse, or other pet, have no choice but to “rehome it,” and here I’m not using the word “rehome” in a judgmental or derogatory sense. If someone absolutely can’t feed their companion animal, or afford to take it to the vet on a regular basis, a good home where the pet can be taken care of must be found. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Now… a horse lover would take the time to do profile checks and screen any and all potential buyers. A horse owner, at least in my experience, just sells to the highest bidder – not really seeing or caring what might be in that horse’s future.

Now I’m not sure whether you are aware or not, but there are specific auctions just for horses. I’m not talking high-class auctions. I’m talking loose horse auctions where horses are sold by the pound. To a horse lover most of these “events” are an abomination. Abomination is the appropriate word. A horse lover would never subject their beloved horses to the degradation and horror of such things.

A horse owner, well they just see it as a way to squeeze every last penny out of their property. Or they just think it’s easier and quicker than selling/rehoming the horse on their own and just want rid of it as quickly as possible for whatever reason.

These folks will exclaim that there’s nothing wrong with these auctions! It’s a good place for the horse to have a second chance or find a new home!  And as they ship their horse off to these meat auctions, they will swear up and down that they just looove horses. Yeah, right.

This isn’t just something that can be applied to horses. Dogs, cats, gerbils, any animal under a person’s care falls into the same lot. There’s a difference between owning something (and loving it as an investment or “thing”) and truly loving it (as the feeling, sentient being that it is). The line gets a bit blurred sometimes what with all the debate that rages on regarding animal welfare and animal rights, but it’s there and always will be.


12 thoughts on “Owners vs Lovers

  1. My first thought was, “Would people treat their children as horribly as they do these animals?” Of course, the second thought was the sad realization that some people do.

    One of the differences is that as a society we’re far more likely to step in and take over at least some form of responsibility when parents fail to be responsible for their kids. When an adult decides they have to get rid of an animal or pet there is far less accountability for the person who chooses the fast, easy, and immoral way out.

    • You’re right of course. Some people treat their children horribly. The majority of the time agencies catch the behavior though sometimes they do not. I like to think that more often than not those behaviors are caught and punished and the children taken care of. With animals it is the exception to the rule for people to be held accountable for their actions when it is outright abuse let alone when it is just irresponsible behavior.

      ** I’m not sure why but when I first posted this reply, it ended up somewhere completely different. I’m sorry if you thought I was ignoring you. I wouldn’t do that! 🙂

  2. Just hearing “where the horses are sold by the pound” is enough to turn me off, Wendy, and I’m in the category of Triple Crown horse race watcher.

    But I am an animal lover in general, so what the hey?!

    A horse owner consigning an animal to one of these auctions is akin to a vintage car collector assigning a classic to a Pick and Pull yard.

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