Horses Are Not “Its”

From the Editor, Vivian Grant

Watch your language. Horses are not “its”. Nor is any animal for that matter.

Inanimate objects are “its”. All animals, including horses, are living, breathing, feeling, sentient beings and should be respectfully addressed as such.

Let us therefore be mindful to always use proper language when referring to horses, and all animals, when mentioning them as he, she, his, her, they, them, who and so on.

What difference does it make? A lot.

Language shapes perception which in turn sends a signal about how the subject at the center of discussion should be viewed, valued and treated.

Those who exploit animals for profit and pleasure are very clever at manipulating public perception by referring to animals as inanimate objects, or “its”.

They also use other subtle but misleading and often dangerous terminology.

A case in point concerning horses is the pro-slaughter movement who use such phrases as “unwanted” horses versus “displaced” or “homeless” horses. They also use the words horse “processing” or “harvesting” versus “slaughter”. This is a blatant attempt to divert public attention from the gruesome fact that they are brutally killing horses for their meat, for profit, by using words that they hope is less offensive and more acceptable to the human ear.

However, this does not have to do with just 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 in that way.

I also notice that people who comment on blogs and in various social media — people who love horses — referring to horses as “its”.

Interestingly, when researching horse issues in newspapers and magazines of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, I noticed that horses were always referred to as he, she or who and so forth. When did this desensitizing reference to horses as “its” begin, and why? It is not clear.

What is clear is that is high time that we give horses — and all animals for the matter — the respect they deserve as living, breathing, feeling, sentient beings by giving them their proper and respectful designation.

So watch your language.

Thank you.

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The Fund for Horses is the single most influential lobbying and watchdog organization dedicated to the protection of Horses. Launched in 2003, the Fund for Horses works for horses through intervention, education and legislation.

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