Re: horses ... if "breaking" is the word for domesticating a horse, then that's got a bad ring to it. I would hope that more modern ranchers have developed more humane ways of acclimatizing a horse to domestic life and duties, even if they still call it "breaking" for some odd reason.
Horse-riding is way down from one let alone two centuries ago. Cars, trucks, planes, and helicopters have replaced most of them. But bear in mind, cattle ranchers often use horses, while herding cows or sheep, to navigate terrain even a 4 by 4 jeep would balk at. In that case I think I can pardon horse-riding, at least until more advanced vehicles are invented. (And said vehicles should also run as quietly as a horse would, so as not to startle or spook the cow or sheep herd.)
All other horse-riding I can think of is pretty frivolous. It's a novelty to have a horse with bushy hooves pull an old-fashioned carriage. But it's hardly necessary beyond luring tourists in and whatnot. I guess I don't hate it as long as it's not depressing the horse with its repetitiveness and the horse is treated well in general.
My feelings are a hair more mixed about horse-riding skill competitions. While technically frivolous, I think they're more interesting for the horse and additionally form a significant bond between horse and rider.
Now out-and-out horse racing, I'm more skeptical about that. First of all I know the horses are essentially racing for the sake of gambling. If the horses knew that, I'd think they'd be depressed about it. Secondly, I think horse racing can be dangerous for horse and rider alike. Could end up with a horse with a badly broken leg and subsequently putting the horse down. But I do feel that horses like to run, and like to run fast. It's one of the biggest talents that Nature and evolution built into them. Humans race each other on racetracks at the Olympics; maybe horses should get to race each other too? I guess much depends on how much an individual horse seems to enjoy the sport.
What about rodeos? Do the bulls and horses like those events? They seem rather pissed ... not to mention the holy-hell danger to the cowboys riding them. Best make this popular Western sport a thing of the past?
I can see releasing at least quite a few horses out in the wild (and then keeping an eye on them to keep them safe). I'd also like to hear more about three things:
- which inhumane breaking practices some ranchers use;
- which humane breaking practices other ranchers use (unless the argument be that *no* horse is ever broken humanely);
- how we can help reduce "bad-breaking" techniques and encourage "good-breaking" techniques (unless the argument be that "good-breaking" techniques don't and can't exist).
Re: human reproductive laws ... something could be said about ensuring that any mother can bear no more than two children -- or one child in very overpopulated areas of the world. Main obstacles as I see it:
It's usually the poor and uneducated in countries that offer little hope for a better life, who bear far too many children. We need to make education and affordable (i.e. sometimes free) sterilization available to those people. Ironically, first-world countries are usually the countries that have population growth best under control, and yet third-world countries are the ones that most desperately need better birth control.
I'm thinking that if/when life extension is developed, the only people who should be allowed to adopt the technology should be people who've never procreated, and who (due to appropriate surgical tweaks) never will procreate. Getting a bit off-topic here but oh well, that's where my musings currently lie where life extension is concerned.
Re: consigning recalcitrant prisoners to the wilds ... in theory not a bad idea, the only drawback is finding the right wilderness to consign them to. Not like you'd want a bunch of dangerous criminals wandering around in a national park. Perhaps Australia would let us use some of its vast, very wild outback? I suppose we could bundle them up and send them to Antarctica, but then they might disturb/hurt the scientists at work on that continent. Bundle them up and send them to Greenland? Maybe. They probably wouldn't live long in those frigid environments, but maybe we don't care if Nature "executes" them for us.
Having had family members in prison, and hearing the horror stories about how bad it can get especially during the initial R&O stage, troubles me and makes me think, "Even the worst prisoner is a human being and do the rest of us really want to stoop to his level and treat him like he'd treat others?" I feel that we need to work harder on reconstructing them in preparation for a return to relatively free society.
My younger brother, who's probably going to be in prison a long time and has already been there for a year (two years?): he repeatedly observes in his letters that the inmates surrounding him don't seem like dangerous, out-of-control people at all. The vast majority seem to him to be humble, contrite souls who know they screwed up terribly and just want to fix it and become better people. So I suspect that those of us (like myself) who haven't tasted the "pleasures" of prison life, probably don't appreciate the wrongness of the whole approach to dealing with criminals. Warehousing them tends to be a poor, inefficient solution. Helping them change for the better doesn't always work, but would probably enable many of them to return to society and never hurt another soul again.
Yes, there are undoubtably criminals who can't be cured of their dysfunctional behaviors. But that's probably a lot smaller percentage than we've been led to believe. Note that the United States holds world records (and near-world-records) for things like most prisons, most prisoners, largest percentage of prisoners when counted with the nation's total population, etc.
Obviously we're doing something wrong -- something that many other countries are doing right.
"There really are more benefits for treating livestock as 'kindly' as possible: free-range 'kindly' treated livestock are said to be 'tastier' and 'healthier' too."
By the way, what about circus animals? Keep them in service? Retire them in a domestic environment? Free them into the wild?
Interesting votes and comments so far guys; keep 'em coming.
Respect and regards,