Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pet or Livestock?



OK, I'm going to stir things up a bit here and ask all of you out there whether you consider your horse a pet or livestock? I used these pics of people riding cattle because cattle are considered livestock. This question depending on how it answered poses more questions which I will not start here as it is so controversial. I think you know where this can lead, but as that question has been asked so many times during other discussions and yet has not been answered. Should we let the government decide? I have to say for me it's split a bit. My horses are treated more like pets as I don't do a lot of riding and I don't use them for ranching or competitions, however, I am not opposed to riding your horse or competing or using them the way they have always been used. So does that make them livestock and open to the same rules of other livestock? The reason I used these pictures as I had once argued the "livestock" issue on another forum and someone came back to me saying that cattle aren't ridden. So I thought I would put that to rest right away. So weigh in here folks and let's see what the general consensus is!

21 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

Pets of course! The guy who sold me Erik was of the opinion that horses were livestock and should be treated accordingly, I disagreed and got a lecture. When I was offered a sizable amount of money for him after a few years of training and competing he couldn't believe I wouldn't sell him and just get another horse and keep turning them over for profit. I think if you form a bond with an animal it is a pet and can never be considered livestock. This is my opinion and I'm sticking with it, whoever doesn't agree with me, well then that's their opinion and they're entitled to it.

Callie said...

Very good point, Arlene. The difference being the bond. So those riding their cattle have bonded with them and they are considered pets. I can totally see that.

Mrs Mom said...

I have had cattle. Bottle raised a few over the years. Took care of them as I would take care of my horses, dogs, cats, or ... kids.

I never really got into the "livestock" versus "pets" classification. Animals are... well, animals to me. But they are all treated very well, and we have bonds with our horses, and the dogs that rule the roost right now.

Never really could bond with the cattle. Or chickens, sheep, or goats. Not saying that they cant form a bond, but *I* did not with ours.... The horses are a whole nother story as far as a bond though.

Tough one Callie, and good job bringing it up! It will be interesting to see what other folks have to say...

jesterjigger said...

Definitely a pet! I expect discipline when we're working on something, but I recognize that she is a living being that can have a bad day or get stressed out, and do my best to soothe her or avoid putting her in situations where she has no choice but to react badly. But I love on her and pet her and groom her and give her treats and take her out to graze in the shade during the day. But, I also expect my pets (mainly the cats) to obey and do as they're told as well (within reason, lol).

cdncowgirl said...

While I love my horses like family, I think for the legal definition they should be livestock.
Housing of livestock in a suburban area has much stricter "rules" than for pets. Number of animals per acre and that sort of thing. I think that if equines and cattle and other "livestock" are thought of as pets people in cities would be trying to keep them in their back yards. NOT a good situation for the animals or the neighbours!
I think that people can have an emotional "pet" type bond with their livestock. The guy we bought my hubby's horse from has 3 longhorn bulls. He rides them and does tricks with them at rodeos. (or did, the bulls are "retired" now). He has a big time bond with those animals, and they are never for sale. They will live out their lives at his place. However he is very adamant that they are NOT pets.

Callie said...

Mrs Mom, I think that Steve and I are capable of bonding with any animal, including the wild birds that frequent the feeder, LOL, seriously.

jesterjigger, LOL, on the cats, although I'm receiving kitty kisses as we speak. Well, you train a dog and expect certain behaviors.....so......why not?

cdncowgirl, Good point! There are people out there that have no idea what they are getting into as it stands, much less more of it.

Mikey said...

My horses are pets. For sure.

Andrea said...

Well, this is a tricky one for me. I think legally they should be kept as "livestock". There are still people out there that use their horses for work. I am kinda on both sides. I have sold two horses that I bonded with and I might have called them my pets, but I sold them to younger people who would learn on them and use them and love them. So, I am not too sure where I stand on this. I have always considered them as Livestock. But now a days I think there are more people out there that consider them as pets. Horses are just different, because they are Livestock. That is what they are, but they are also pets. So, I will say they are both. We don't see people raising them for milk or meat do we?

dickiebo said...

OK, I'm only a layman but.....
'Pet' seems to me to be too condescending for these magnificent creatures, though they certainly can well qualify by virtue of their place in peoples' hearts. 'Livestock' seems to encompass all live animals of a certain ilk, and appears to include GG's.
If, however, this is, (as I suspect??) some wretched plot to simply 'group' horses into a category for some reason or another, then we should insist that they are neither 'Pets' nor 'Livestock' - they are 'Horses'.
That's my twopennorth!

Andrea said...

I think dickiebo is right on.

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

I'm with Dickiebo on the "horse" classification. Most of mine are lifers and I love them like my family. Having no kids it is easy to transfer affection. I do not consider them livestock.

Callie said...

Perhaps they are different and belong in their own "classification" for lack of a better word. Because they are unique unto themselves.

Mrs Mom said...

I like it dickibo- the plain jane "horses" classification!

All our critters- even my beef cattle- were treated with dignity, respect, and understanding. They were and still are all considered part of the family, and treated accordingly. But, I still see them as "animals". Yeah Callie, I know. I am just... wierd... that way. ;)

White Horse Pilgrim said...

It's tempting to take the simplistic view that "livestock" are raised for commercial reasons, whilst "pets" are kept for the satisfaction of a continuing relationship.

However this route splits animals into "those we factory farm and eat" and those we don't. It seems like an arbitrary division. So I agree with the view that they are "animals" and, ethically, need to be treated with due respect, for whatever reason we keep them.

Clearly, for zoning purposes, horses and cows are different to cats and dogs if only because of the smell and waste that they generate. Here in Britain the taxman will also pretty soon decide whether a horse or cow is "commercial" or not.

In the end, my horses are "domesticated horses". They aren't pets like the cat, happy to sleep all day on the sofa. They need care, discipline and exercise, as domesticated horses.

kdwhorses said...

Right on Dickiebo! You rock!

Callie said...

I think we're all pretty much on the same page here. And Dickiebo, I had to have Steve translate GG's for me, LOL, and Mrs Mom, Steve and I have a name already if we ever get to the point of having our one steer. His name will be Walter...hehehe....and we will not eat him, but that is a long way off if ever. WHP, the government within this state has already implemented the "livestock" thing with chips and red tape and paperwork tracking the movement of horses even if it is just to a local trail or show.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I like dickiebo's explaination. Horses are...well...they are horses. I like the idea of them having their own Equine classification.

But I am in there with Mrs Mom-animals are animals. They are all fed, loved and beyond spoiled around here but they are still animals.

Horses definitely should NEVER be classified as pets for the reasons stated by CdnCowgirl. There are a lot of morons out there that would take advantage of that classification and the horses would surely suffer.

We broke one of our bucket calves to ride. He was such a neat steer. I could go lay on him, put a hackamore on him and ride him around the pasture, we even saddled him-but couldn't get the saddle to stay on if he did anything but walk-LOL. And then being the ranch kids we were raised to be-we knew that when he was gone the next spring-that he would shortly show up in the freezer. I don't remember ever crying about these things-that is just the way it was. Very matter of fact. The same with the pig we raised that lived with the horses in the pasture and went coon hunting with us at night.

Sandy said...

I bought my first horse,a American Saddlebred noing almost nothing about horses other than I had always wnted one. i was told he was a hard keeper and only gained weight on pasture. i felt confident that i could put weight on him with love and care. somehow i felt a connection with this 17 hand regal horse.Over the years he gained and lost weight, which added to my frustration.The vet said he was fine as far as he could see. Recently he relly has gotten thin, but eats and drinks with his usual gusto.I have'nt ridden him for quitesome time. He was just my baby. Saturday he went down, and no matter what i tried I could'nt get him up. I called the vet and had him end his suffering. i felt like i lost my best friend. He was definately a pet, and not just livestock.i have 3 other horses, but i have never connected with them like I did with my "Buddy".Thanks for lettingme vent.

Callie said...

Sandy, Thanks for stopping in. I'm so sorry to hear about your "Buddy". I hope you are doing well. I understand as I have lost one as well 3 years ago. You can vent here anytime you want. :)

SchipperkeReferee said...

An animal does not need to be one or the other for us to form an attachment to it. To remove the horse from the classification of livestock makes it vulnerable to other issues. As livestock they are protected at the government level and get funding for disease research that won't happen if they are a pet. Become a "pet" and you will then have local agencies wanting you to license etc. Do the research before you decide they are really a pet. Love them, give them good care but do you really need them to be a pet? In this case the meaning of a word can have far reaching consequences. It's not a new idea to change their status.

Callie said...

Thanks for weighin' in, Shipperkereferee, That's the point of the question, to get opinions. Wisconsin has begun to set forth a tracking method of all livestock including horses, which requires microchipping and miles of paperwork when bringing any livestock off your property including trail rides, local or otherwise shows. They have not knocked on my door yet and I have not complied. The truth be known, I don't really know the gritty details to it yet and as I've said before this question opens it up to whole bunch more questions leading to the dreaded slaughter questions which thankfully no one else here brought up. I say that because people have formed their opinions on the matter and whether it be pro or con, it has stalemated. And there is no way anyone can convince anyone else to change their minds for either side. It is what it is.