The writer says of the shield on the horse’s face that it
must be for protection, right? That’s what the riot cops wear the face shields for. Unless the mask is only to block the random bottle or paint missile, however, doesn’t it presuppose that demonstrators would be looking to hurt the horses? Hmm, somehow I doubt that.
UPDATE: Cjd1952 below raises the obvious issue involving the horse’s well being:
You don’t have to target a horse for it to get hurt. In a melee anything can happen, on purpose or not. I’m glad they protect their horses.
But (honest question), why would police put a horse in the middle of a riot anyway — especially if they were concerned it would endanger the animal? And what are the ethics of putting the animal in harms way? Obviously, the human consents to the task.
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I’m sure the gear worn by both the cops and the horse is indeed intended for protection, but it’s also intended for intimidation. You have these nameless, faceless creatures — some of them weighing over 1000 lbs. — confronting you menacingly. The horses are used physically to herd and push people.
As for deliberately putting an animal in harm’s way? Come now. Every dog that goes on canine patrol is being deliberately endangered. Those dogs are cops, and so are these horses. The better question is why deliberately endanger non-violent protestors and journalists by sending a giant animal into their midst? (Remember the guy in New York who was trodden on by a cop’s horse; according to witnesses, both deliberately and unnecessarily?)
Perhaps these events should be monitored by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, that for Prevention of Cruelty to Humans, that for Prevention of Cruelty to Democracy.
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One other thing that’s suggestive is the way matters have come full circle. The photo we’ve been discussing shows an armored man astride an armored horse. Both have their faces covered by a mask. The following wood engraving shows the same thing.