‘Extreme breeding’ is extremely disturbing
A trip around my usual online news sources last week led me to a story that appeared in the London Telegraph on Oct. 13. The story, written by Sarah Knapton, is titled ‘Extreme horse breeding leaves animals looking like cartoons, warn vets’, and it had me shaking my head from the first sentence to the last.
Especially when I watched the video footage of the poor foal that the story featured. Many readers have probably seen it by now, as it has gone ‘viral’. Apparently, that is a real animal.
The basic gist of the story is that the trend of ‘extreme breeding’, the new term for breeding animals for specific traits — generally cosmetic in nature — for the amusement and whims of people and usually to the detriment of the animal. The goal of extreme breeding seems to be altering the appearance of an animal to resemble something else, such as a cartoon character, as in the case of the Arabian Colt pictured in the story.
According to the story, the horse was bred to have an excessively ‘dished’ facial profile similar to an animated horse in a Disney cartoon. The breeder said that the horse and its ridiculous features are closer to ‘perfect,’ and I question the breeder’s eyesight and/or sobriety.
Apparently, though, there are people who like the looks of the horse, and are willing to overlook the fact that veterinarians are decrying the breeding practice that produced this animal and pointing out the obvious issues that its outlandish physical features are likely to produce — minor things, such as difficulty breathing with its enormous nostrils and curved nose and eating conventionally.
I could embark upon a page-long rant and tangent about my issues with the ethics of extreme breeding, but I think I will just sum it up quickly by saying that when I look around at this world and the handiwork of mankind in virtually every society on the globe, I think pretty much every species out there would be better off if humans put our energy into fixing all of the problems we have made and keep making for ourselves and quit creating problems for everything else to try to overcome.
That 9-month-old Arabian colt featured in that article isn’t an example of perfection. It’s just another example of human arrogance — another science/art project without regard for the repercussions.
We sure have gotten good at those.
Nick Hon is the editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine, and can be reached at email@example.com.