Amish people love, care for, and treat their animals as family members. The Amish believe that God requires humans to live in harmony with the natural world and be good stewards of animals and plants, as directed in the Bible.
However, Amish people view their animals as workers than pets. The cats catch the rodents, horses haul buggies, cows produce beef and milk, and dogs help to hunt while working on the farm. Amish farms contain cows, horses, chickens, pigs, and sheep.
Cats and dogs are also used for companionship. The Bible has many admonitions on how to treat the animals, such as Proverbs 12:10, which says a righteous man should regard the life of their beast. Therefore, Amish people are fond of animals and try to treat their animals humanely.
Also, the Amish are opposed to violence from their pacifist nature. Since the Amish community prohibits using technology, they rely on animals like horses for their transportation and other farm functions.
Compared to the English, the Amish require more animals to fulfill their daily activities. While some Amish have cared for and treated their horses well in ways that do not draw attention, some noticeable abuse of the horses has made the news.
The cases involve overworking or leaving the horses in scorching weather without shelter. However, various businesses in the Amish community provide animal shelters to shield the horses from heat.
As much as the Amish have never adopted technology, they have no problem accepting modern technology in terms of veterinary care. Since the Amish have no phones, they have incorporated various ways to inform the vet during an emergency.
Notably, many uses paid telephone booths set in their areas or go to make a call from the house of someone owning a phone. For non-emergency situations, Amish people send postcards to the vet. Usually, the call routines involve post-partum checks, pregnancy checks, herd vaccinations, or surgery.
A typical day of an Amish man starts with tending the animals.
What are the Amish Puppy mills?
Amish puppy mills are mainly located in Pennsylvania for dog auctioning. Dog auctions are carried out for various reasons.
A commercial breeder may decide to auction all the dogs if they are falling out of the business or if they want to cull old breeding stock with new, younger, and more fertile stock. Also, new breeders go to dog auctions to buy their start-up breeding equipment and stock.
Dog auctions typically have around 100-450 dogs consisting of all ages in their selling list. The dogs are sold through the auction-style format, where the biggest bidder gets the stock. Bidders are allowed to view the dogs before the auction starts.
The viewing barns are closed, the dogs are exhibited in groups of four, and the auction begins. During the auctioning, the auctioneer highlights if the dogs are in heat or not, their age, if they are verified breeders, production of large litters, or mothers. However, the auctioneers say anything to ensure the dogs are bought for the highest price.
Amish Dog Care
Due to the poor conditions the dogs are kept in before the auctioning; most dogs have untreated painful conditions like rotten teeth, ear infections, urinary tract infections, mastitis, sores on their feet, and more.
This is one of the many reasons other non-Amish people say Amish are cruel to animals. The puppy mills have extremely unnatural conditions depriving the dogs and puppies of exercise, sunlight, essential grooming, and necessary nutrition.
Also, the dog's paws are injured and bruised on wire cages. Female dogs are forced to breed until their bodies can no longer act, leading to them being killed.
Inbreeding has precipitated many health conditions that lead to baby puppies being separated from their mothers to be sold. Debarking is done on the dogs and puppies to prevent the detection of dogs inside the puppy unlicensed puppy mills.
Puppy auctioning has been identified as one of the ways Amish make their money. Most Amish treat dogs as livestock and a way of making money.
How do the Amish Treat their Horses?
Amish people are known for their simple and modest life that involves no use of cars. Amish use horses and buggies for all their transport activities.
However, whether the Amish treat their horses well or not varies between Amish people. Amish have several reasons to treat their horses well. One is that it is the most common form of transport; thereby, they are an essential aspect of Amish life.
Also, Horses are pretty expensive, and whereas many Amish may not live below the poverty line, purchasing a horse could take years to pay the total amount. No Amish would want to mistreat an animal they spent a fortune on while buying.
Interestingly, another reason is that horses are temperamental. They are stubborn in nature and out rightly refuse to do things they do not want to. Not all horses accept physical and verbal commands, and if an Amish has one that does, they will ensure to keep it that way.
Amish are no exception to laws concerning animal treatment, so they are compelled to follow them. How they follow the rules or whether they follow them is another question, although they avoid animal cruelty that would attract attention.
However, since they are not Amish pets, they are treated like other draft animals. The idea of Amish people owning horses as pets is a bourgeois idea.
The idea needs coordination and a lot of money to ensure the horse is kept in good spirits and healthy. Therefore, Amish horses are not pampered when in the stables. The horses are kept alive, healthy, and active to ensure their muscles are ready for work.
Instead of being cut or whipped, it is common to see the Amish horses being reined, lashed, and partially blindfolded.
Typically, the Amish hit the horses because of their thick hides, which makes them not feel a lash from a leather rein like a person would. Mostly, Amish people use a lash to encourage the horses to tow a buggy hill which can be interpreted as animal abuse. Yet, the horse gets the message to keep moving.
Although, it does not imply that lashing a horse is an apparent activity. If the act is overdone, it can cause pain to the horse. Still, most Amish understand that flogging a horse is necessary to keep it working.
When a horse is not responding to its master, an external factor usually hinders it. The factor could be exhaustion, humidity, high heat, fatigue, or illness.
While humidity and high heat might be simple to avoid, others, like illness, tiredness, and fatigue, might not be easy to spot. Fatigue and exhaustion can be linked to mistreatment as they are caused by overworking and harsh use.
Amish Horse Care
Horses require space and a sleeping place. The most common way Amish mistreat their horses is by subjecting them to hot weather. Signs of an overly hot or overworked horse include:
- Heavy breathing.
- Zoning out of the horse when given a command.
- Hanging off the tongue on one side of the mouth.
Also, it is customary to see an angry Amish whipping or the reins hitting the horse's rears to keep it moving. Obviously, the act is not fair because if the horse is slowing down from the harsh weather, it will not magically add pace after being whipped.
Aside from overwork, it is easy to notice mistreatment from lesions, bruises, lacerations, or cuts on the skin. A horse's skin should have no wound at any point in its work except through deliberate abuse or an accident.
Also, the horse generates sunburn due to exposure to hot weather. The sunburn is usually visible on the horse's face or muzzle, where its flesh appears red, pink, or blistered from lack of shelter.
The horse skin may also be blistered and swollen from severe sunburns. All these are the types of warning signs to show abuse-whether it is negligent or malicious among the Amish. In case of such evident occurrences, there are horse rescue centers.
After the Amish mistreat a horse, and it is now useless, the final result is to sell the horse for meat. To get a buyer, the Amish auction the horses and sell them to the highest bidder. After getting the money, they say goodbye to the horse and move on with their life.
Horse rescues go to the auction, buy the horses and try to give them medication, adequate shelter, greener pastures, and a happy place to live for the rest of their years.
Some Amish families work with the rescue centers and give out their horses to them as a place to frolic before their death. However, it is not against the law for the Amish to auction their horses when they are almost dying, although there are other compassionate alternatives.
To conclude, Amish people rarely keep pets as their animals are mainly for work. Amish have been associated with animal cruelty due to their puppy mills and how they treat their horses.