by VIVIAN GRANT FARRELL
Horses are not “its”. Nor is any animal.
Inanimate objects are “its”. All animals, including horses, are living, breathing, feeling, sentient beings and should be referred to as such.
Let us be mindful to always use proper language when referring to horses, and all animals, using he, she, his, her, who and so on.
What difference does it make? A lot. Language shapes perception which in turn signals acceptability as to treatment. For example, you kick a ball; you do not kick a dog.
Those who exploit animals, especially for slaughter purposes, are very clever at manipulating public perception by referring to animals as inanimate objects, or “its”.
They also use other subtle but misleading and potentially dangerous terminology. In the case of horses, the pro-slaughter movement use such phrases as “unwanted” horses versus “homeless” horses, and horse “processing” or “harvesting” versus horse “slaughter”. This is a blatant attempt to divert public attention from what they in fact do — brutally kill horses for their meat — to something that sounds less offensive, more acceptable to the human ear.
However, this does not have to do with only slaughter horses. All horses are routinely referred to as “its”. Just about any modern day article or report you read involving horses refers to them this way. I also notice that people who comment on blogs and in various social media — people who love horses — refer to them as “its”.
Interestingly, when researching horse issues in newspapers and magazines of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, I notice that horses are always referred to as he, she or who. When did this desensitizing reference to horses as “its” begin?
It is unclear when it began, but what is clear is that it is time we give them their just and proper reference. It is time we give horses, and all animals, the respect they deserve as living, breathing, feeling, sentient beings.
So remember. Please. Watch your language! Horses are not “its”.