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The Vegan Question
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The Vegan Question

There is a debate going on within the vegan community as to whether or not riding a horse can be considered vegan. Since I am a vegan, I feel as though I could give some insight as to why it would be so – that riding a horse can be considered inhumane – and why some, although they refuse to kill animals or use them for their entertainment, clothes or for profit, will accept to have a horse and ride it. The debate seems as though there is no clear answer to the question, but for such a discussion, each situation needs to be evaluated thoroughly.

Before continuing, a definition of veganism is needed. Those that choose this lifestyle opt to eat only a plant-based diet – one consisting, therefore, of fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts only. Being vegan also means not using any form of animal by-product, such as clothes that are made from animals – leather, wool and silk – or products, such as for house cleaning, beauty, hygiene and other forms of care, which are made with an animal fat base. Furthermore, they denounce zoos and animal movies as being an unnatural form of living for animals, and some would go as far as refusing to own a domestic animal because they feel that animals aren't meant to be in captivity, including their own homes.

With this is mind, the Vegan Society, a UK-based organization that promotes veganism, describes their view as such:

"Question: Are vegans against horse racing and horse riding?

Answer: Vegans oppose all forms of exploitation of animals. Each situation needs to be carefully considered to see if this applies. Most vegans would oppose the use of leather saddles and bridles."

In this case, exploitation could include, other than movies, horse racing and shows. Most vegans are against this form of unnecessary use of the animals and consider that if we are to own pets, that they should be allowed to live a life that is not necessarily exactly like they would if they were still living in the wild – since most domesticated animals have had all wilderness bred out of them – but a life that seems as natural as can be. Forcing them to work for our own personal benefit, such as profits or entertainment, seems wrong to us. Animals were not put on this Earth to be our slaves, and most vegans will vehemently defend any form of slavery, animal or human.

That being said, I don't condone owning or riding a horse at all. However, I do have a very strong preference over keeping them happy as much as possible, and ensuring they are treated with the utmost respect, care, and love that any owner would also treat their cats, dogs or even their children.

Please comment below to let me know what you think.


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  1. Rustyc
    Informative article. I had always thought that being a "Vegan" meant just no meat. Thanks.
  2. Terri AP Widdowson
    Hi, My sister in law is vegetarian, and I always admire the care that she takes in planning her food choices. I can only imagine how much more of a challenge it must be to be vegan!I wasn't quite clear about the final point that you made. Are you in support of horse back riding or not? I got the sense that you were supportive as long as the animal was treated with respect. Am I correct in this? Interesting article!
  3. Brenda Nelson
    Brenda Nelson
    Owning leather tack would not be allowed for a vegan.

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