I have been remiss of late. I have been writing about rodeo history and cattle handling history and a modern black cowgirl and other fun horse stuff, while back at the homestead Brian O'Connor has been doing the heavy lifting in keeping us alert to the dangers of the Animal Rights groups creeping up under the cover of darkness...no actually, under the cover of Animal Welfare language. Voting isn't the issue here, disputing the claims of the Animal Rightists is the issue that all of us involved with horses in sport should be militant about.
It's vitally important that we distinguish between "Animal Rights" groups and "Animal Welfare" groups. The animal rights people, of course, like to blur the distinction between their goals and those of the welfarists because it gives them (the AR crowd) an air of legitimacy, which masks their real intentions. (The situation is complicated enough, given that the two groups share some of the same prohibitions: both groups oppose torching an animal, for example).
For those who are unclear about the AR/AW distinction, my rule of thumb is this: Animal Rights people believe that animals have an intrinsic natural right not to be controlled in any way by humans. So - if you wouldn't do it to a human being, you shouldn't do it to an animal. So - animals are not to be kept as pets, eaten, caged, kept in zoos, ridden, killed for sport, used in research, hunted, made fun of, raced, bought, altered (tail and ears cut are forbidden), walked on a leash, or bred for characteristics that humans think desirable. Any person who engages in any of these practices is fair game for being branded an animal abuser, torturer, or murderer by the AR crowd.'