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Buggies -and- Plain (Amish Stuff)

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  • Jym Dyer
    Buggies ~~~~~~~ =v= My understanding is that public use of the highway cannot be revoked, for a certain definition of highway. Thus, if buggies have been
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 5, 2001
      Buggies
      ~~~~~~~
      =v= My understanding is that public use of the "highway" cannot
      be revoked, for a certain definition of "highway." Thus, if
      buggies have been allowed, they must always continue to be
      allowed. In the U.S., this is legal precedent derived from
      British Common Law, which even predates the U.S. Constitution.
      This precedent has been used to maintain bicycle access to
      places around the U.S., so I imagine it would also apply to
      the buggies. (Disclaimer: I'm not even remotely a lawyer.)

      =v= (The word "highway" has a different meaning here than what
      most Americans are familiar with. The U.S. Interstate system
      was built specifically for military vehicles and cars, and never
      allowed pedestrians, horses, buggies, or bikes, and is thus
      exempt from this precedent.)

      Plain
      ~~~~~
      =v= My girlfriend subscribes to a magazine called _Plain_, which
      could puckishly be called an Amish zine. It's actually printed
      by conservative Quakers, but overall it's by and about the plain
      folk. Very interesting stuff. It's hard to find because it
      has a very limited print run (it's made from hand-set type on a
      hand-driven printing press), but a number of the best essays
      were collected in _The_Plain_Reader_, which a book store should
      be able to find for you.

      =v= She noticed many points of convergence with our own car-free
      ecologically-minded bicyclist community. She's had some letters
      published in _Plain_ on this theme.
      <_Jym_>
    • Raymond and Anne Keckler
      ... One would think so, but now they are saying that steel wheels are bad for their paved roads. How about their paved roads being bad for my horse s hooves??
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 5, 2001
        --- In CarFree@y..., Jym Dyer <jym@e...> wrote:
        > =v= My understanding is that public use of the "highway" cannot
        > be revoked, for a certain definition of "highway." Thus, if
        > buggies have been allowed, they must always continue to be
        > allowed.

        One would think so, but now they are saying that steel wheels are bad
        for their paved roads. How about their paved roads being bad for my
        horse's hooves?? Oh well. Some states now require tags on buggies,
        too. :-(

        > =v= (The word "highway" has a different meaning here than what
        > most Americans are familiar with. The U.S. Interstate system
        > was built specifically for military vehicles and cars, and never
        > allowed pedestrians, horses, buggies, or bikes, and is thus
        > exempt from this precedent.)

        Interstate is different from highway. We have state highways, and
        county highways, in addition to the interstate highways. Interstate
        highways are as you said.

        > Plain
        > ~~~~~
        > =v= It's hard to find because it
        > has a very limited print run (it's made from hand-set type on a
        > hand-driven printing press),

        Yes, Scott is staunchly opposed to computers! LOL

        ~Anne
      • Ed Beighe
        This isn t true -- if what you meant was there is an absolute ban on bicycles on interstates). Apparently each state applies it s own vehicle code. In AZ for
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 5, 2001
          This isn't true -- if what you meant was there is an absolute ban on
          bicycles on interstates). Apparently each state applies it's own vehicle
          code.
          In AZ for example, bicycles are allowed on interstates outside of metro
          areas, as marked -- thus you will see signs like "bicycles must exit", and
          "no bicycles allowed" at these borders along interstates

          > =v= (The word "highway" has a different meaning here than what
          > most Americans are familiar with. The U.S. Interstate system
          > was built specifically for military vehicles and cars, and never
          > allowed pedestrians, horses, buggies, or bikes, and is thus
          > exempt from this precedent.)
        • De Clarke
          more about using livestock for transport... and eventually below, one possible response to the minister who doesn t understand why Anne and family do not want
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 5, 2001
            more about using livestock for transport... and eventually
            below, one possible response to the minister who doesn't
            understand why Anne and family do not want to use a car.

            I should note in passing that the Amish are not all warm and
            fuzzy, either; if we imagine them as Disney characters we are
            kidding ourselves (and insulting them imho). In the area where
            I was visiting, their carriage horses are bought cheap, usually
            from the race tracks. They are usually horses which, though
            bred for racing, didn't make the grade; and they would have
            been sold for dog food if the Amish didn't buy them. A lot of
            American horses end up as dog food. The "didn't sells" at
            large horse auctions get bought up late in the day for pennies
            per pound, or so I'm told. It must be a heartbreaker for the
            breeders who raised them.

            Anyway the Amish carriage horses are worked very hard. Hard
            roadbeds are not good for trotting horses. After a few years on
            the asphalt/aggregate surface, a carriage horse's knees and
            other joints are pretty much shot. Or so my farmer friends
            told me (Central PA again).

            The Amish are not sentimental about their carriage animals;
            those in the small community I visited seem quite matter of
            fact about it: they buy them cheap, work them hard, and then
            sell them (for dog food) when they "wear out" (i.e. go
            chronically lame). The heavy horses used for ploughing I think
            fare a bit better, as they are a larger investment and somehow
            closer to the family. It all seems a bit harsh to a
            sentimental city dweller, but at least the horse gets a
            reprieve for a few years (I guess).

            My point is that to most farming people, livestock are not
            pets. James Herriott may write a good tale about the guy who
            weeps for three days every time his pigs are slaughtered, but
            that's pretty exceptional. Small time farmers that I've met
            preserve a peculiar emotional equilibrium about their animals:
            they are responsible for them, fond of them, care about them,
            despise people who abuse/neglect their animals: but when D-day
            comes and the young steers go for their last truck ride, no
            one's broken-hearted (except maybe the littlest kids). There's
            a strong distinction between family pets (dogs and cats) and
            meat (or transport) animals.

            I am a bit of a sentimentalist myself, unable to catch and
            clean a fish without guilt, so this was not easy for me to hear
            and accept. But consider this (said my small-time dairy
            farming friends) -- in today's US dairy industry (the one that
            produces and packages all that milk and cheese in your
            supermarket) a dairy cow has a productive lifetime of about 2
            to 3 years. For perspective: on a family homestead, a dairy cow
            has a productive lifetime of 20 years or so, and a domesticated
            lifespan of maybe 25 years with good care. On a small dairy
            farm (herd of a dozen to three dozen) I was told 10- 15 years
            was a reasonable productive lifetime for a healthy pastured
            cow for commercial purposes.

            So by comparison w/industrial dairy, the "burnout rate" of
            Amish carriage horses is not extreme -- I think they are "good
            for" about 5 or 6 years, maybe more, depending on road
            conditions and mileage.

            In the huge dairy factories from which most of our milk and
            cheese now come, dairy cows are kept in conditions which I
            don't even like to describe or think about, pumped full of
            hormones and antibiotics, and (as the industry bluntly puts it)
            "burned out" in 2, maybe 3 years. This productive lifespan has
            been getting shorter and shorter and shorter over the last
            couple of decades as industry scientists have figured out how
            to force more and more milk per diem out of a cow.

            One result: in the last couple of years back East, the
            insatiable demand of the dairy megacorps for heifers has driven
            the price of good heifer calves up to the point where family
            farmers have a very hard time affording new cows or starting a
            small herd. Last auction I attended, healthy heifer calves of
            good stock were over $300 a head. Just a few years ago this
            price was $100 and under. The mega-dairies (factory farms)
            make enough markup on dairy products that they can pay these
            grossly inflated prices and still stay in biz -- partly thanks
            to, guess what, big govt subsidies.

            Another result: recently a research group (at Penn State iirc)
            found (surprise surprise) that there were significant chemical
            differences between milk from pastured dairy herds and what I
            believe is euphemistically called "enclosed" dairy (cows
            chained or penned in one spot in darkness or under constant
            artificial lighting). Only a corporate agronomist would have
            been surprised by the results: pastured dairy contained fewer
            toxins and a better spread of nutrients.

            Those of us who live an urban life, eating veggies neatly
            packaged in plastic and milk neatly packaged in plasticized
            cardboard, are often appalled by the "barbarities" practised in
            country life. We are safely insulated from the far greater
            barbarities practised in factory farming, which would shock
            most of us deeply if we knew about them (well, some of us
            anyway -- there is always that large percentage of people who
            just don't care). City life gives us an illusion of neatness
            and cleanliness and tidiness only because we're more distant
            from the abuses that keep things cheap... but there is imho
            more total suffering and abuse involved in factory farming.

            Likewise someone who routinely gets in his or her Acura or
            4runner for a quick trip to the supermarket (to buy some
            factory dairy, perhaps) might feel that the Amish are "cruel"
            to use horse drawn transport. But our use of automobiles and
            high speed highways kills over a million animals (in the US
            alone) per annum, some of which are endangered species. The
            process of extracting oil involves the displacement of native
            animals and native peoples, often with loss of life, suffering,
            etc.; and of course the fouling of habitat and altering of
            global climate pushes still more species to extinction. Being
            "pushed to extinction" is a dry, abstract phrase which I think
            again distances us from the very real, immediate suffering of
            whole species while they are being starved to death, dying of
            thirst, malnutrition, chronic disease, etc.

            If there was a way of quantifying suffering (some kind of
            units, call 'em "dolors" perhaps) the cost per mile of that
            trip in the Acura, in dolors (rather than dollars!) might be
            far higher than the same mile driven in an Amish buggy. It's
            very analogous imho to the EV conundrum: emissions elsewhere.
            Our urban high-tech life is based on 'suffering elsewhere', so
            it looks cleaner than it really is. Like EVs. [I rather like
            this "dolor cost" idea and might develop it further, so if
            you know of someone else who coined this phrase before me,
            let me know!]

            Anyway I think is one answer to the minister who cannot
            understand why not using a car might be the truly Christian
            decision.

            Because our economists don't give a rat's ass about suffering
            (unless it happens to "consumers" because of "high prices"), we
            never have bothered to measure this kind of humanitarian,
            ethical cost. No more than a person in newly-prosperous Europe
            in the late 1600's really stopped to think about the suffering
            and the mortality rate of indigenous slave labour in the mines
            from which all that silver and gold was flowing from the New
            World... but we in our time have more information available to
            us, better communications, better understanding, and therefore
            imho less excuse.

            do read _Fast Food Nation_ which filled in much of my ignorance
            about the other side of the cattle biz (the beef industry).
            I don't know any beef ranchers personally, but I do know
            some dairymen [and women].

            I still think the bicycle (and your own two feet) is the most
            honest of all transport methods. If I must use something that
            eats fossil fuel, distorts the landscape etc -- then I'd rather
            at least it was something shareable like a train, so that my
            own individual share of the "dolor cost" would be minimized.

            de

            .............................................................................
            :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
            :Mail: de@... | :
            :Web: www.ucolick.org | Don't Fear the Penguins :
          • Raymond and Anne Keckler
            Here is a sort of outline of my thoughts on Christians owning an automobile: Thou Shalt Not Kill Stewardship of the earth Stewardship of our bodies Separation
            Message 5 of 6 , Jul 5, 2001
              Here is a sort of outline of my thoughts on Christians owning an
              automobile:

              Thou Shalt Not Kill
              Stewardship of the earth
              Stewardship of our bodies
              Separation from the world
              Insurance
              Social Security number for Driver's License
              Pride and vanity of the automobile
              Massive consumerism and riches on earth

              I haven't fleshed it all out yet, but I thought you might be
              interested.


              =====
              ~Anne
              http://www.geocities.com/raymondkeckler

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            • Ken Kifer
              Anne Keckler wrote: Here is a sort of outline of my thoughts on Christians owning an automobile: Thou Shalt Not Kill Stewardship of the earth Stewardship of
              Message 6 of 6 , Jul 7, 2001
                Anne Keckler wrote:

                Here is a sort of outline of my thoughts on Christians owning an
                automobile:

                Thou Shalt Not Kill
                Stewardship of the earth
                Stewardship of our bodies
                Separation from the world
                Insurance
                Social Security number for Driver's License
                Pride and vanity of the automobile
                Massive consumerism and riches on earth

                I haven't fleshed it all out yet, but I thought you might be
                interested.

                Ken Kifer replies:
                When I wrote about why I ride a bicycle, I made sure to focus on the
                positives:
                http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/lifestyle/why.htm

                No matter how moral someone is, they are probably going to be more
                influenced by positive reasons than negative ones. There are a number
                of ways to doing this, and your way has to come out of your exeriences,
                but if you can paint a picture that moving to a horse will improve that
                person's life or make that person's life more compatable with his
                lifestyle, you will be much more persuasive.

                Ken



                --
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                Bicycling Life: The good news about bicycling, with commuting,
                recreation, how to, and safety info: http://www.bicyclinglife.com
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