Sunday, May 05, 2013

Pets or Livestock?

Many people consider their horses as pets, and some consider them family.  And the pets versus livestock discussion usually quickly becomes a heated argument; with die hard fans on both sides.  Many consider horses as pets because of projected emotions that they place upon the horses.  Horses do not show emotions like we do, in fact they have thousands of years worth of instinct instructing them not to.  Respect for you, is the closest thing to love as they are going to get.  And as long as they have food, water and space to move around, they are good to go, I guess you could project happiness on them here.  They do not get angry with you if you "punish" them or make them do something that they may not necessarily want to do, like leave their heard mates or cross a stream, when it's over, it's over.  They may appear to be mad or upset with you, but in reality they just think that you are over-stepping your role in this herd dynamic.  You haven't been the leader, so they have had to be, and now you're trying to tell them what to do?  You're in for a fight, just like any other herd member that tries to move up in the pecking order!  At the end of the day, all your horse wants, is to know who the leader is between the two of you.  And it has to be either you or the horse, and preferably you.

What is considered a pet?  Often the definition of what animals qualify as pets will be laid out in your state and/or local legislature.  To me, a pet is something that can be kept at your residence, even if you live in an apartment in a major metropolitan area.  Dogs, cats, birds, and some exotic animals fit in this description.

What is a barn yard animal?  These are small animals that are usually found in a farmer's yard which legislature usually prevents these animals as being kept as pets in apartments or communities where the lots are small, and your neighbors are close.  Chickens, ducks, and rabbits are a few examples.

What is livestock?  Most legislature defines bovine, equine, swine,  and ovine, of any size or variety whether kept for pleasure, food, or breeding purposes as livestock.  So a horse of any kind by definition of law is livestock, regardless of what purpose that horse serves.

To me livestock is any animal that requires more than 1-1 1/2 acres per head.  In terms that everyone can kind of grasp, if you lived in New York City, NY, U.S.A. in an apartment that overlooked Central Park, you would have to lease or rent a place to keep a horse 24/7 that makes them livestock.  You may treat them like a pet, but that does not change the fact that they are livestock.

Regardless of how you see your horses, the law and law makers see them as livestock, period.

Good luck, happy trails, stay safe, and God bless you and yours.

Until next time,
Lisa