Page images
PDF
EPUB

it is easy to see that by passing the driving. rein through the ring below the ear (having first lengthened the strap to which it is attached) through which the bearing-rein is usually passed-or in two or three other ways (vide our hansom cabs) such a possibility of accident is averted. But the very fact of the assertion being made proves it to be recognized that it is a natural instinct in the horse as soon as at rest to assume a position of greater

ease.

-herself the greatest of mechanicians-teaches the horse to utilise his weight to the best possible advantage when she makes him throw out his head and lean over on to his collar as he pulls up hill. But the ignorant coachman knows better than Nature, and arranges that the horse shall have his head so fixed that he cannot thrust it forward and downward, but shall do all the work by sheer muscular effort unaided by the force of gravity, and to wear out his heart and his strength years before his time. It is especially on this ground that foreigners laugh at our insular conservatism and conceit. It is, however, refreshing to note that practical experience has convinced the great majority of owners of working horses, such as omnibus companies, van owners, cab proprietors, railway companies, etc., of the truth of this contention, and, with rare exceptions, the rein on such horses has been abolished. If any one is in doubt as to this point let him compare the way in which a pair of omnibus horses with two tons of omnibus and a ton of humanity behind them, handle their work on such a hill as that from Shepherd's Bush to Notting Hill Gate, with the way in which a pair of really tightly-reined carriage horses attack the same incline.

Mention of the working horses of London raises the first of the contentions as to the utility of the bearing-rein. It is claimed that it prevents falling. No greater fallacy was ever put forward. The fact that all the abovementioned classes of horses are safely driven without it, and that under far worse general conditions than the carriage horse, is of itself sufficient refutation, but it can be further shown that its use increases rather than lessens the risk of falls. It cannot prevent slipping, but it does, by the fixing of the horse's head, effectually prevent him from recovering his own balance or being helped by his driver to do so. He cannot throw out his head, and his mouth is so hardened by the constant strain that he does not respond to the check of the driver's hands as horses driven without bearing-reins are able to do.

Another claim that is made for the use of the bearing-rein is that it enables high-mettled horses to be more easily controlled. Again a fallacy. It rather produces such a constant state of nervous irritability that comparatively slight causes contribute to an accident which otherwise would not have occurred. As to the further claim that it relieves the arms and hands of the driver in case of hard-mouthed horses it is surely evident enough that the rein itself makes hard mouths, and if more humane methods of breaking were adopted there never would be any hard-mouthed horses to deal with. It is man's brutality, not Nature's caprice, which is responsible for them.

It is sometimes contended that while horses driven in double harness do not need them, those in single harness, when waiting, are apt, by thrusting the head forward, to loosen the driving rein, which may catch under the shaft, and, if unnoticed, be a cause of accident, and therefore a bearing-rein is a safeguard. Surely

It may be urged that a loose bearing-rein is not harmful. A really loose bearing.rein is no bearing.rein at all in the true sense of the word. It has no raison d'être from the upholder's point of view, but it may serve as an argument for Mr. A's coachman to use a tight one when Lady B's equipage is seen with one at all, therefore it is better to “avoid all appearance of evil," and discard what is a mere useless addition to the weight of the harness.

This brief appeal is written in the hope that every humanitarian will make the question one of personal thought and effort. It is stated that the Duke of Portland, as Master of the Horse, has issued a circular against the use of this instrument of torture, and if some strong influence could be brought to bear in the right quarter, so that horses taking part in the approaching festivities could be shown to the civilized world free from these relics of a barbaric past, the fashion would speedily die out, and this might be indeed a year of Jubilee for thousands of patient, long-suffering beings towards whom we have each and all of us a heavy burden of responsibility. For it is not those alone who keep horses who are to blame, but every man and woman who has eyes to see and heart to feel is guilty if he fears to speak, or fails to think and work for those who have no voice to plead their own enfranchisement. It is public opinion which alone can abolish the needless cruelty of the bearing-rein, and we are individually responsible for public opinion.

Edith Ward.

an

The Bearing-Rein.-Some Protests. THE he Duke of Portland has written to the

London newspapers as follows:

Sir,— Will you kindly allow me a small space in your valuable paper to call the atten. tion of owners of carriages to the great disfigurement which unnecessarily tight bearing-rein is to their horses ? A bearingrein, when properly fitted, is, no doubt, in a great many instances, a necessary and useful appliance, but it becomes an instrument of torture, and an hideous eye-sore, when it is too tight, or badly adjusted.-I am, sir, your obedient servant,

PortLAND. Welbeck Abbey, Worksop, Notts, March 19.

"A Lady Horse Breeder” followed this up by writing to the Standard on March 31st :"Sir,-Not one moment too soon has the

in my life.

Duke of Portland raised his voice as 'Master preventing horses from falling, the bearof the Horse' against the terrible suffering ing-rein is calculated to render falling more inficted by tight bearing-reins. Let any one frequent. Other not uncommon results of its take his stand for one hour in Regent Street use are-distortion of the windpipe to such a from four to five, during the season, and then degree as to impede the respiration ever afterask himself what he thinks of the fine ladies wards-excoriation of the mouth and lipswho, reclining at ease in their beautiful car- paralysis of the muscles of the face, etc. It is riages, allow untold agony to be inflicted on a useless appendage, supported only by their beautiful horses. Do they ever think, do fashion.” they care, or is it that they are ignorant of the The late Dr. J. Kitching, York, wrote :awful suffering inflicted' by their so-called

First. If a horse, pulling a load, has his coachmen? No man that really knows how head held in by a bearing-rein, he cannot to drive will put a cruel bit or tight bearing. throw his weight into his collar, and is rein on a horse. I have bred and broken in hindered from giving his body that position dozens of horses, and have sold them to the which is the most natural and effective. He highest in the land, and can truthfully and has to pull by the strength of his muscles only ; proudly say I have never used a bearing-rein the weight of his body is lost, and so much

pulling strength thrown away. What remains “ As I write, I am haunted by an awful act is exerted at a great expenditure of the horse's of cruelty I saw in Regent Street a few months powers and health, to say nothing of his ago-a pair of priceless cobs in a Victoria, so

comfort. The consequence is, that his limbs tightly gagged they had difficulty in standing, and muscles become strained and distorted. open mouths, distended nostrils, eyes full of His knees are bowed forward, and his hocks pleading agony, vainly trying to get relief for backward. If a man pulls a load by a strap their aching necks, and every •few minutes a across his shoulders, he bends his head and sharp cut from the whip by the so-called coach- chest forward, and relieves his legs : a horse man on the box. Several people called shame, does the same when he can, and ought to and I urged him to give them some relief, but always." was told with an oath to mind my own business.

Mr. George Fleming, R.E., F.R.C. Vet. I waited till the occupiers or owners of the carriage came out, and pleaded with them.

Surgeons :-" The bearing-rein is against They smiled, and said they were not aware

reason altogether.

I have no doubt

that if the public could only realise the fact bearing-reins were on their horses; their

that it throws away a large portion of the coachman, no doubt, knew what was best. If

horse's power altogether, and is very cruel a poor struggling man works a horse that is

besides, this rein would be discontinued. I lame, or has a small sore on its shoulder, he is convicted; but the untold suffering inflicted by

have never found any one who, giving it up,

has resorted to it again.” the servants of the wealthy goes on year after year, and hardly a hand or voice is raised

From “The Lancet." against it. If you, sir, will only plead for those “We are glad to find that needless and that cannot plead for themselves, more good mischievous piece of harness, the bearing-rein, will be done than by any Society for the Pre- is being discarded by the best drivers.. vention of Cruelty to Animals in the world."

Whether on grounds of policy or of humanity,

a system which has been conclusively shown Opinions of Experts.

to be injurious, and to produce an ungainly, ROF. PRITCHARD, of the Royal Veterinary exhausting and unsafe carriage of the head in

College, London, writes : -" Instead of the horse, is likely to be given up."

[graphic][merged small]

Keeping Squirrels Gaged.

A

By W. J. STILLMAN.
S a most ardent squirrel lover, and one us to the realization of what must be the

whose experience is considerable in dream of a squirrel lover, viz. to have the
the study of their ways, I would like young bred by their own mothers under

to say something about keeping the our eyes and kindness as are the kittens pretty creatures in confinement. And, to and the puppies. This would in course begin with, it must be remembered that if of time so modify the nature of the mankind had always had the feeling of creature as to permit us to treat them as extreme tenderness towards the animal we do the domesticated creatures which races which now obtains, even to the are kept solely as pets. refusing to keep them in constraint, we And I am convinced that the natural should not have had a single domestic endowment of the Sciurus in affection for animal to be kind to. Every useful or the human race is unequalled by any ornamental creature which is now the family of quadrupeds now kept in property of man, be it dog, cat, horse or domestication. What it might become cow, has had to pass through the painful under the influence of heredity is beyond process of caging in some shape or other. any conjecture, but it is reasonable to The dog is but a reformed wolf, and conclude that it would be

very

much more than one generation of breeding in greater than now. I send you the photoconfinement must have been needed to

graph of one, which is so attached to his bring even the rabbit to complete domesti- mistress, “ H.C.B.” (quoted in Mrs. Pike's cation. In this interval the creature was letter in your March issue as K.C.B. by under restraint, as painful as that which misprint), that he refuses to go away from the squirrel must undergo now.

her out of doors, and shows evident But this process of domestication of the distress if left alone in the open. I had squirrel can never be carried on in the two, of whom I have told the story in the cages in which it is the custom now to Century, which showed the same personal keep them, for they will never breed in devotion. One of them insisted on being them, and the caging of the most active brought to me in my bedroom when I was and frolicsome creature resolves itself, ill, and both of them were attached to me therefore, into the torture of an individual personally, more than any other animal I for the mere pleasure of seeing it turn a ever had to do with. One naturally comwheel, and without the ulterior advantage pares them with other pets, and especially which obtained from the imprisonment of with the dog, which shows the greatest the wild dogs, horses, goats and cows, attachment to its master, but it must be i.e. that of having them born under our remembered that this is the effect in kindness, and from infancy habituated to great part of untold centuries of hereditary our love.

acquisition, and the original stock of Canis The wire cage for the Sciurus Vul- Lupus is not to be so readily taught to garis, at least, is a torture unjustified love, and it is comparatively rarely the by any ulterior advantage.

There are

case that cat shows this personal species of the family which take to attachment, in spite of the long domestirelative confinement with no apparent cation, pain, such as the Maximus (Malabar) the There are excellent people who oppose Great Chinese flying squirrel, and maybe the keeping of pets on the bare ground others which I do not now recall or know, that suffering humanity demands all the and which we may make happy in a room sympathy of the benevolent, and that what which permits only limited movement, is given to the care for animals is a waste being in their ways comparatively sluggish. of charity! I put their case bluntly, for But the Vulgaris is the embodiment of the experience of every child is enough motion, and in this respect the American to confute it. But that there are ways of species known as Gray and Red are very keeping pets which are forms of sheer like the Vulgaris, and though when taken egotism is too true, and that of keeping a young and allowed to roam over the house squirrel in a wire cage is one of the worst. or in a room where they can climb and It is not to the revolving wheel that the jump, they may be made so happy as to objection

objection lies, for if the poor beastie refuse a larger liberty, they do not help must stay in a cage, the wheel gives him

a

even

the opportunity to obtain the maximum of exercise that can be obtained in confinement, and it is the only delight afforded the poor creature, whose life is one of the most active of all that animals can lead. Probably only the swallow exceeds the squirrel in the relative activity it displays. But in any form of confinement the conditions of life are such that its duration is generally very short, and those taken very young are likely to die in the first month or two. This might be provided against by their being put to nurse with a guinea pig, for it is very difficult to raise them on the milk of the cowthat of the goat would probably be better, but I have not been able to try it.

The natural and better method of attaining the domestication I aim at, is the

squirrel becomes an easy prey to the family cat. Shall the Sciurophile then renounce the delight of the company of his select companion amongst brutes ? It is a question to which the reply is not so clear. The whole philosophy of human life is based on the direct or indirect captivity or death of our fellow creatures of what we call the lower orders, and the process began with every creature with the wild specimen. We are in the habit of controlling the wills and the pleasures of our children, for their greater good or our greater comfort, and it seems to me that the taming of wild creatures is admissable so long as it is accompanied by the consideration which spares them unnecessary discomfort, for the mere loss of liberty is not in all cases a real injury;

[graphic]

Paul," OWNED BY H. C. B. continuation and completion of the system the greatest element is the impatience of Mrs. Pike—to tame them in their the animal shows at being confined, natural surroundings, giving them nesting probably due more to the nervousness of places, where they will invite attention the restraint and the fear of the keeper and food, and so familiarity with the than to any real discomfort. Children young. Taken when they are just weaned, often suffer more and suffer it longer. and given a large room to run in, with a But some one will say—we have a right young fir tree to climb, and always fed over our children, and a responsibility, by hand and encouraged to familiarity, they neither of which we have with the squirrel. will become tame in a short time and then To determine this question there goes a if the owner (if the term can be applied great deal of philosophy-I think we have to the case, which may be questioned) both, and especially the responsibility, and has a range where they can be allowed that the slaughter of the squirrels under to run loose, the domestication becomes the pretexts put forward by the great easy, and perfect familiarity, in harmony forest owners is a violation of it. I see with the conditions of perfect health. that it may be a subject of negatives and

But few people are like Mrs. Pike affirmatives. in this respect, and so the domesticated Rome, April 27th.

[A reply to Mr. Stillman appears in Mrs. Pike's article, in the next page.-Ed. A.F.)

Aajidaumo Again.

[ocr errors]

to

a few

first on

AVING been told by several people have seen him slip and slide down the steep

that I ought in my account of slate roofs, and it would be very rough “ Squirrel friends” in the March landing if he fell on to the gravel walk

number to have mentioned some beneath. more of the amusing ways of these said “ Bunnie-Puck" is a funny, quiet, little friends, I propose now to do so.

squirrel, duller coloured than “Masher," There are nine squirrels who come to and very sedate. She is very fond of call on us, but only seven have names, sitting on my husband's arm. One funny and only five are very intimate friends, the habit the squirrels have, is that of others being merely acquaintances. I beginning to make themselves "tidy" have my particular squirrel friend who when I call them. They commence runattaches him

ning quickself to me,

ly towards and, strange

me,

then say, my

when husband's

feet off, they particular

sit down and squirrel friend

deliberately is a lady !

comb out their Her name is

pretty tails : “ Bunnie

one Puck.” My

side and then friend's name

on the other. is “Masher,"

They then because he is

smooth down very trim, and

their white neat, and love

shirt fronts ly altogether!

with both His tail is al

paws : wash ways combed

their faces, as out very fuf

cat does fily and parted

hers, and, at exactly down

last feeling the middle ;

quite smart the tufts on

and fit to go his ears look

out visiting, as if the curl

they scamper ing tongs were passed

only three do over them

this. every mornMASHER"

During ing, and his

April and shirt front

May I rarely is snowy white.

In this issue you see my squirrel friends excepting in the early will find his portrait, as he appeared morning, they are so very busy away in

, standing on the doorstep making a the trees, house-building. I suppose the morning call. Being a bold and dashing notion that has got abroad, about their spirit "Masher" is deputed by the eight spoiling trees, has arisen from the fact of other squirrels to climb up to my window their using a few twigs and tiny branches in the mornings, when I am late, to with which to build their nests." All I can announce by signs, that there is a hungry say is that they do no harm whatever to our crowd on the gravel path below, waiting trees here. We have planted thousands of for breakfast. The climb is a hazardous young trees and have never found a single one, as there are many wide chasms to be one injured by squirrels. jumped from ledges, and the landing is This part of Dorset near the sea is all slippery, slate or stone, not at all like naturally a very bare, bleak, and treeless tree.climbing! I do not encourage my part of the world, but friends remark how beloved “Masher" to do this feat, as I wonderfully well our young trees grow;

[graphic]

a

up to

me

a

« PreviousContinue »