The ethics of flogging a dead horse

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Steve3007
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The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by Steve3007 »

A big story in the British news over the last few days has been the supposed controversy of a person in the horse racing business being photographed sitting on a dead horse. Since the horse is dead, I don't see what harm this could do. There is some talk of violation of the "dignity" of the horse, but this seems to me to be an example of the way that we anthropomorphize non-human animals by projecting our own feelings onto them. Given the way we treat other animals of similar complexity and sentience (cows, pigs, etc) this seems to be another example of the curious attitude we often have to the whole subject of non-human animal welfare.

Any thoughts?

For reference, here's one of the news articles about this story:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rac ... 09095.html
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arjand
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by arjand »

A horse is a 'noble animal' and has earned a 'dignity'. Such a status can only derive significance by active protection of what the status 'noble animal' entails.

In modern times the horse is no longer a crucial part of human existence but on behalf of cultural heritage, especially considering the status 'noble animal' as a concept by itself, it may still be considered applicable to defend the well-earned dignity of a horse.
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RJG
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by RJG »

Those that hold horses sacred, views this as terrible, and as bad as sitting on a dead loved one.
But those that don't hold horses sacred, views this as nothing more significant than sitting on a rock.

Sacred-ness is relative to the viewer.
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by BobS »

Steve3007 wrote: March 5th, 2021, 7:10 am Any thoughts?
If I saw a photo of someone sitting on a dead horse, I’d probably have a mildly negative reaction if it suggested an abusive attitude toward animals. But I wouldn’t linger; I’d just go about my day.

The article you linked to doesn’t suggest an abusive attitude on the part of the miscreant, and I wouldn’t care if he ever did it again in the same circumstances. The controversy strikes me as just one more example of people looking for things to be upset about, partly because many have too much time on their hands, partly because (with many notable exceptions -- I’m looking at you, Trump supporters), anyone who counts on the public for his income needs to avoid being seen as un-PC. Especially in these days of the Internet, when large numbers of people are out there just looking for reasons to be aggrieved.

But whatever one’s reaction, I don’t see what anthropomorphizing has to do with it. I’m against needless1 cruelty to animals, and it has nothing to do with thinking that animals are “like me.” It’s enough that they’re alive and can feel pain. Maybe you could characterize this as thinking that animals have “dignity,” but I generally don’t try to formulate precise abstractions to account for my feelings on the subject.

I doubt there’s just one attitude among (or one specific divide between) people on this subject. There’s probably variety of reasons why (some) people draw a distinction between horses and other animals of similar sentience. Many people, I’m sure, are simply accustomed to its being acceptable in their culture to chow down on cows and pigs, but not horses -- the same way that many Westerners are disgusted by the idea of eating snakes or insects. Many, I’m sure, think along the line of horses being part of the group of animals that are our “friends,” maybe not so much as dogs and cats, but still part of that group. Other people undoubtedly have other responses.

1I say “needless”, since we could debate what “cruelty” means. Vegans think it’s cruel to eat animals, even if one kills them in a “humane” manner. For my part, I eat animals, even as I feel bad when I club a fish in order to eat it really fresh. Hey, if God didn’t want me to kill fish that I've caught, he wouldn’t have given me a hand in which to hold a club. :roll:
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RJG
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by RJG »

BobS wrote:The controversy strikes me as just one more example of people looking for things to be upset about, partly because many have too much time on their hands...
A great observation. I agree.

This British news man is spot on in his view about this sort of thing:
https://www.facebook.com/mark.polis.9/v ... 1091561488
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by Count Lucanor »

Steve3007 wrote: March 5th, 2021, 7:10 am A big story in the British news over the last few days has been the supposed controversy of a person in the horse racing business being photographed sitting on a dead horse. Since the horse is dead, I don't see what harm this could do. There is some talk of violation of the "dignity" of the horse, but this seems to me to be an example of the way that we anthropomorphize non-human animals by projecting our own feelings onto them. Given the way we treat other animals of similar complexity and sentience (cows, pigs, etc) this seems to be another example of the curious attitude we often have to the whole subject of non-human animal welfare.

Any thoughts?

For reference, here's one of the news articles about this story:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rac ... 09095.html
Considering the declining state of culture in the UK and USA, I'm not surprised they would get offended by this. It's ridiculous, of course.
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LuckyR
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by LuckyR »

Steve3007 wrote: March 5th, 2021, 7:10 am A big story in the British news over the last few days has been the supposed controversy of a person in the horse racing business being photographed sitting on a dead horse. Since the horse is dead, I don't see what harm this could do. There is some talk of violation of the "dignity" of the horse, but this seems to me to be an example of the way that we anthropomorphize non-human animals by projecting our own feelings onto them. Given the way we treat other animals of similar complexity and sentience (cows, pigs, etc) this seems to be another example of the curious attitude we often have to the whole subject of non-human animal welfare.

Any thoughts?

For reference, here's one of the news articles about this story:
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rac ... 09095.html
My thoughts are that folks have opinions, so what? No one is arresting the guy, which would be ridiculous. The guy was criticized in the press, what makes a journalist's opinion more important than your opinion? Nothing. He apologized, so I guess the guy himself thought there was a problem with his behavior, who am I to disagree?
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Sy Borg
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by Sy Borg »

Exactly Steve. Those complaining forget about the cruelties meted out on other intelligent animals out of the public eye.

I personally don't care for people disrespecting the living or dead bodies of other life forms. If one feels compelled to show disrespect, pragmatically, it's better to disrespect the dead than the living.
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Sculptor1
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by Sculptor1 »

This is nothing to do with the horse.
Gordon Elliott said he sat on the dead horse to nswer his phone, and that he did it "without thinking".
This is a bit like a person driving their car into a pedestrian saying " I did not see him coming".
THis is about Gordon Elliott and the utter disregard with which he treats a dead horse, as this refelcts that attitude that he clearly apprehends all horses under his "care" as a trainer.
If he does not think about the horse as anything more than a seat then you have to ask what the fucc does he care about real lving horses which he trains.
Obviously for him and the industry of the racing world, horses are engines to make money. when they are old they are knackered and rendered into clue and fertilizer.

What I want to know is how did the image make its way onto the pages of social media?????
Was it posted by a rival or by a member of his own stable?

Were they also "not thinking" when they posted it? Did they not also fail to understand that people outside their business think more about horses than they do?
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by BobS »

Sculptor1 wrote: March 6th, 2021, 2:56 pm This is a bit like a person driving their car into a pedestrian saying " I did not see him coming".
What, you've never done anything "thoughtlessly" and later regretted it? Just based on what humanity in general is like, I suspect that you have. More than once. And if you have, on each occasion was it "a bit" like running over a pedestrian?

I suggest that your reaction to this story is a bit excessive. Driving a car calls for attention to safety every time, all the time. I don't see how it's anything like attending (or thoughtlessly not immediately attending) to a dead horse.
Sculptor1 wrote: THis is about Gordon Elliott and the utter disregard with which he treats a dead horse, as this refelcts that attitude that he clearly apprehends all horses under his "care" as a trainer.
It might reflect how he treats living horses; it might now. You'd have to know him better to make what I'd consider a reasonable judgement.

But I guess that this current thread illustrates quite well how such a thing became a public controversy in the U.K.
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Scott
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by Scott »

The example given appears to confusingly mix two individual issues that I believe can more easily be addressed individually.

1. Concerns of non-human animal welfare, such as torturing or non-defensively killing non-human animals.

2. Concerns of the treatment of a dead body, such as sitting on a dead human body while talking on a cell phone.

If any given group of people are in agreement in their opinions about each of the two above issues, then surely they would also be in agreement about their opinion about a situation that represented the combination of the above two issues.

Some people don't have qualms about torturing or non-defensively killing non-human animals, due to various reasons such as but not limited to the allegation that non-humans are not truly conscious (i.e. they are like philosophical zombies).

Some people don't have qualms about sitting on dead human bodies, especially insofar as the dead body is not in some sense the property of some living other human (e.g. family that would be offended) besides the person sitting on the dead human body.

If one has no qualms with either case, then one will presumably have no qualms with the combination.

If one has qualms with both #1 and #2 individually, then one will likely have qualms with the combination.

If one has qualms with only one, one will presumably not have an issue with the combination.
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by baker »

Sy Borg wrote: March 6th, 2021, 5:53 amI personally don't care for people disrespecting the living or dead bodies of other life forms.
Really???
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by baker »

BobS wrote: March 6th, 2021, 4:18 pm
Sculptor1 wrote: March 6th, 2021, 2:56 pm This is a bit like a person driving their car into a pedestrian saying " I did not see him coming".
What, you've never done anything "thoughtlessly" and later regretted it? Just based on what humanity in general is like, I suspect that you have. More than once. And if you have, on each occasion was it "a bit" like running over a pedestrian?

I suggest that your reaction to this story is a bit excessive. Driving a car calls for attention to safety every time, all the time. I don't see how it's anything like attending (or thoughtlessly not immediately attending) to a dead horse.
Sculptor1 wrote: THis is about Gordon Elliott and the utter disregard with which he treats a dead horse, as this refelcts that attitude that he clearly apprehends all horses under his "care" as a trainer.
It might reflect how he treats living horses; it might now.
A defense of thoughtlessness. Wonderful!
baker
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by baker »

Steve3007 wrote: March 5th, 2021, 7:10 am A big story in the British news over the last few days has been the supposed controversy of a person in the horse racing business being photographed sitting on a dead horse. Since the horse is dead, I don't see what harm this could do. There is some talk of violation of the "dignity" of the horse, but this seems to me to be an example of the way that we anthropomorphize non-human animals by projecting our own feelings onto them. Given the way we treat other animals of similar complexity and sentience (cows, pigs, etc) this seems to be another example of the curious attitude we often have to the whole subject of non-human animal welfare.

Any thoughts?
If a professional baker would see there are mealworms or mouse droppings in the flour that he is about to use, and he'd use it anyway, what would you make of that?
If a medical nurse would be tending to your wound, dropped a gauze on the floor, then pick it up and put it on your wound, what would you make of that?

For every profession, there are reasonable standards of work ethics and professionalism. If a person violates those standards, there, ideally, are consequences. Which is why the guy in the OP got temporarily suspended.

What is sad about this whole thing with the OP story is that reasonable standards of work ethics and professionalism appear to be alien to so many people.
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Sy Borg
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Re: The ethics of flogging a dead horse

Post by Sy Borg »

baker wrote: March 7th, 2021, 4:05 am
Sy Borg wrote: March 6th, 2021, 5:53 amI personally don't care for people disrespecting the living or dead bodies of other life forms.
Really???
I was not actually talking about trivial forum argy bargy that you appear to be pointedly overplaying for your self-gratification. No, this is about riding someone's corpse level of disrespect. There is a difference.
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