Is It Worth Raising A Stink Over Amish Horse Manure?

Amish people rely on literal horsepower, and those animals leave behind their own waste products which land on the roads. This inevitably gets run over by cars no doubt perturbing their owners, and is hardly the most picturesque side of life in “Amish Country.”

So from time to time you come across news stories from corners of America where this is a point of conflict between Amish and non-Amish residents.

Now, somewhat surprisingly, horse manure is becoming an issue in America’s third-largest Amish community of Lagrange and Elkhart Counties in northern Indiana.

Local resident Chad Fry has been leading a petition push to get horses to wear bags to catch the manure, garnering over 1,600 signatures.

I was a bit surprised to see the issue arise in this community–these controversies usually occur in smaller, less-established communities where locals and Amish are not as used to each other’s ways.

In contrast, Amish have been in northern Indiana for over 170 years.

Amish here express a concern that has come up elsewhere–that the manure catchers will disturb the horses and make travel more dangerous.

Amusingly, others suggest that manure is a part of local charm that only adds to the visitor experience:

And hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the Shipshewana area each year.

Kenny Stutzman has been giving buggy tours for nearly 16 years…

… “since 2000…1999, and they all come here and they love to see the horse manure on the streets,” said Kenny Stutzman, executive director, Buggy Lane Tours.

Trying To See Both Sides

I don’t live in an Amish area, so I only experience manure on roads as a visitor whenever I go to an Amish settlement. So my first instinct when I see these stories is to, pardon the pun, poo-poo them as the work of someone with too much time on his or her hands.

But I imagine as a permanent resident, it could become an annoyance. And on the other hand, don’t non-Amish residents have a right to ask Amish to help maintain cleanliness on commonly-used roadways?

I know a lot of our readers live in Amish areas and undoubtedly encounter manure while driving.

Though 1,600 signatures is small compared to the area’s 20,000-plus Amish population, it’s not nothing. Maybe there is an alternative solution that could satisfy both sides.

What do you think? Is horse manure on roads an issue worth addressing? Taking safety concerns into consideration, should Amish try to meet non-Amish halfway here somehow?

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    1. Harriet

      A whole lot of manure

      I am sure that this is an annoyance to the people who drive through it every day. But what is next? Are birds to be outfitted with little “poop bags”, and what about that pesky, but adorable chipmunk that has taken-up residence on my porch? Must it be caught and measured up for its new accessory?

      Some things are just a part of life, and I am sure there was manure on the roads when these people were born in that area or chose to move to that area. I, for one, can think of a whole lot more important things with which to concern myself.

      1. sherry

        horse manure

        It is a big problem. Unless you live near Amish you have no idea how it impacts our right to a decent way of living. Our well water is affected from the run off, our roads are affected from the erosion. The birds are a road hazard. The Amish near me feel they are entitled to public ROW and all modern conveniences but do not want to pay for it like I do.

      2. G. Woolhouse

        Whiny Crybabies

        Take this with a grain of salt, since it is coming from a guy who spends his days shoveling hog poop.

        But horse manure? The stuff hardly stinks, carries no pathogens transmissible to humans and is made up almost entirely of undigested vegetable matter. It is no more offensive than garden soil.
        In fact, give it two weeks and it IS garden soil.
        How much more disgusting and dangerous is the copious amounts of dog feces coating suburban backyards?

        Similar to the “puppy mill” libel, this is a made-up problem cooked up by animal rights activists to get normal people to join them in their persecution of rural America, of which the Amish are a part.

        If you can’t handle horse manure, stay in Manhattan. Oops, you may encounter some there, too…

    2. Beckysue

      If you decide to live in an area that has an Amish community, it’s a given. It washes away with rain, or dries up with the sun. To be honest, I barely notice it unless it’s a Sunday and it builds up on the road. I just don’t see the big deal here.

    3. a few thoughts

      I live within the area of the Elkhart-Lagrange community, and I have a few random thoughts, listed in no particular order:

      One: I personally have never found manure in the streets to be a huge problem; one can usually avoid plowing right through it. But I can see how people might be more annoyed in parking lots, particularly if the owner of the establishment does not arrange for it to be cleaned up regularly. (On the other hand, years ago my father used to own a factory in Shipshewana that employed many Amish, and he built them a barn and paid someone to gather the manure for his garden.)

      Two: It occurs to me that perhaps this ruckus is being raised by relative newcomers to Amish country, the same kind of people who yearn for years to “move to the country” because it is so wholesome and picturesque, then as soon as they buy or build their precious dream house on one acre, they lobby to change the zoning laws to shut down the 100-year-old farm across the street because they’re tired of being awakened by a tractor at 5 am. I have always thought that these fools should simply be told to sell their house (at a loss, if necessary) and move back to the city where they are comfortable, instead of being permitted to destroy what they said they came to enjoy.

      Three: The truth is, according to the Menno-Hof tour, most of the buggy horses in the community are former harness racers, and many (though not all) probably would have grown up being driven with a “diaper.” Not really sure if this is an issue of safety or convenience.

      That’s it for me!

    4. Irene Collins

      The birds eat a lot of this poop. It doesn’t bother us at all….

    5. Jeff M.

      Make Lemon Out of Lemonade

      I don’t live in Amish country, but we visit the northern Indiana Amish community a few times a year. The horse manure never bothers me and only adds to the charm of the area.

      Here’s an idea: Create the perfect souvenir of Amish country. Have a couple pieces of the manure encapsulated in lucite and sell them as paperweights in area stores. What a perfect souvenir! Maybe even make jewelry such as earrings from the manure. Become an entrepreneur!

      1. Now that’s a clever one I hadn’t heard yet, well done Jeff 🙂

        1. Jerry

          Do you remember...

          Years ago they made poo pets. Animal shaped creations made from manure to add to your potted plants. Organic fertilizer.

    6. Ted

      Amish Horse Manure

      Just an idea: It might be good for the City or County to hire a person on a full time basis to clean up after the horses. The Amish pay taxes also and they seem to get little return on the taxes they pay. I have heard some communities require the drivers to clean up immediately after their horses have an incident. To me that seem like it would be a safety issue to require every driver to immediately stop in the middle of the highway and pooper-scoop their horses manure but, on the other hand a person with a golf cart with some kind of truck bed on it, or a John Deer gator type of vehicle with flashing lights on top somewhat like a police car, that could drive along side the highway and could probably be very effective. I have never heard of a golf cart or a utility tractor getting scared and running away because of traffic.
      I realize this idea would probably not work too good in rural areas with little or no shoulders along the highways. But somewhat close to / and inside the communities I think this might work.

      1. Judith

        Yes, I agree with the idea of someone hired to shovel the scheisse. We don’t have Amish in my state so we don’t have the problem, but we do have dogs. And we all clean up after our dogs, (mostly). The problem with cleaning up after one’s horse is two fold, how do you know that they went if you’re travelling, and safety, stopping to clean up on the street is dangerous. I used to live Switzerland and they had street cleaners, real street cleaners, men who swept up everything – it looked like Disneyland there. Super clean. So I say tax horse owners enough for a couple of street cleaners and you add jobs and clean the streets. A bag on the butt of a horse is “ass”inine. Plus they would have to change all those Amish Buggy silhouette signs all over the place to include a poop bag on the butt of a horse? 😉

    7. Austalia-Anonymous

      Someone in the country does not want to be woken at 5am on the farm.
      Well, tough luck, over 40 years ago, my Dad hired farmers, and his Cattle would come in at 3 am. okay,. if your Farm House is near the Highway, you got Truckers going by 24/7 okay. if you live by a Railway Track, Trains go on it 24/7. okay. Homeland Security goes over houses 24/7. okay, fact is there’s no place on earth that is Nose Exempt 24/7 okay, Even President Obama has his Bedroom window open, will hear Emergency Vehicles 24/7. I mean how selfish, one does not want to be woken at 5 am.

      1. To Australia

        I know, really!

        Believe it or not, the same kind of people also move next to a railroad track then lobby for laws forbidding the trains to whistle at the crossing. They’re willing to get someone KILLED for their good night’s sleep.

        Are THESE the people we really want living in our communities?

        1. Margaret

          Random thoughts

          As to the idea of not moving in next to a railway. Our rail in my county hasn’t worked in 25+ years. We fit federal money to make a rail to nowhere. Literally. It’s goes north of me about 45 mins and them comes back about a mile from me. Happily I haven’t heard it in a year or more. It moved in AFTER I did. The whistle in the afternoon is annoying but bareable. The 3 a.m. whistle is noise annoyance.

          Roosters don’t wait till 4 a.m. in WY. My sister use to have a rooster and he’d crowed whenever he felt like it. The neighbors dog rounded up a bunch of his friends, that turned it into a pack and they tore my sisters chickens into flecks in the dirt. After the second time my sister didn’t get any more chickens.

          Horse poop…properly fed horses–there poop doesn’t smell. What you smell if anything is the type of hay they’ve been eating–like alfalfa. Really. The smell is simply horse. And given that a lot of horses are used for challenged individuals (mental, emotional, physical)people need to quit griping.

          There is a SIGNIFICANT difference between animal rights activists and animal advocate. An activist will take things to some level of physical level. An example would be someone breaking into a lab testing on animals releasing them. An advocate speaks for those without a voice via court. An example would be Laura Leigh who founded Wild Horse Education. Laura is constantly in and out of court trying to fight for the horses much like Velma Johnston did in the 50’s and 60’s.

          1. Carol

            random thoughts

            So the 3 a.m. whistle is not OK? Well, it all depends on what your work schedule and sleep schedule is. My husband’s work schedule was such that his sleep time was from noon to about 7 pm. We were 1/2 block from a railroad crossing and across the street from a school. Recess time for the kids and school buses plus train whistles didn’t give a good sleeping situation for him. Guess we’re “off the track” about horse manure!

    8. Carol

      road maintenance

      Probably haven’t thought this out enough to be commenting but here it is anyway: It’s the “motor-fuel tax” that comes back to towns for road maintenance. The Amish certainly are not paying a lot for motor fuel (cars), yet they are enjoying the maintained roads and streets. For those saying that the towns should hire people to clean up the manure, what fund are they proposing to use to pay for that service? Perhaps the tax structure is different from what it is in my state, and if so, then my comments may not be that applicable.

      1. 2whsl3spds

        Motor Tax DOES NOT pay the way

        Motorized vehicles come nowhere close to paying their own way, especially on local roads, which the Amish use. Property taxes and sales taxes foot the bill. So that one is a non-starter.

        I could see manure being an issue in an urban area, but not rural. If you don’t like it MOVE. Next thing you know they will want the horses to use a pee jug! FWIW I ride a bicycle in the Amish country around Lancaster, PA. I watch where I ride and use fenders for a reason. Co-Exist.


    9. Ted

      Amish Horse Manure

      Carol, the county I live has (2) full time people people that Pick up trash along the highway including dead animals for disposal and that does not come from motor fuel tax, it comes out the county budget, so in essence the money to pay their salaries does not come from the road maintenance budget.
      In the county I live in about 85% of our Personal Property and Real Estate tax goes for schools and I am guessing that is true for most of the Amish communities also. Most of the Amish communities get no benefits from school taxes, zilch, not one red cent.
      So even if a county or municipality used fuel tax money for the purpose of elimination the horse manure problem, so what.

    10. Beckysue

      Yesterday I was driving past our general store which also has fuel. An Amish man, who we know, was filling his skid steer and a large fuel tank with off road that was on wagon that he pulled with the skid steer! I can’t imagine how long it took him to get home, but I had to laugh and take a pic. What I am getting at is they do use the roads and enjoy them being “kept up”. I don’t think a horse and buggy is any worse on the paved roads then our vehicles. A skid steer is no worse then a tractor that are always on the go in this area. Our roads (hard and dirt) are almost always in need of something. It’s just the way it is in the country.

    11. Geniene

      where are your allegiances?

      My inclination is to say, “Get over it.” But there are some issues that would be useful to consider. David Weaver Zercher. in his book “The Amish in the American Imagination” used the term “exotic” in describing how the Amish are viewed. I would agree, the Amish have become exotic. It is an important distinction to make. It is especially important, given that this exoticism is a recent phenomenon. If one peruses old school pictures from the early twentieth century, the Amish were barely distinguishable from the non Amish students. They used to blend in a lot more.
      I attended an event at Kutz town university where an Old Order Amish man and an Old Order Mennonite man gave a presentation. One of the issues they discussed was how the Amish ordnung makes starting new settlements much more difficult. They noted that Old Order Mennonites are more successful in moving to rural areas and not becoming a tourist attraction. (this was considered a positive)
      When we accommodate the Amish, is it helpful for the Amish way of life, or are we actually hurting them in the long run? Is horse and buggy transportation in major metropolitan areas practical, or is it something we argue for, not because doing so benefits the Amish, but we like having an exotic backdrop for our own selfish reasons?
      There are many devout, pious people in the world who don’t attract the attention the Amish do. I would argue that their devotion and piety are every bit as note worthy and honorable as the Amish, but their life style is a little less exotic, hence they go largely unnoticed.
      I’d like to ask those on here who argue so vociferously for the Amish way of life, what is it you are arguing for? Are you really arguing for the best interests of the Amish?

      1. allegiances

        My “allegiance” is to the freedom of religion, not to a specific religion because it’s an exotic tourist attraction. (It bothers me that the Amish are a tourist attraction.)

        Theologically, I do not agree with the Amish, or I would BE Amish. I also do not agree with the Presbyterians, or I would BE Presyterian. But I certainly do not feel entitled to bring the heavy hand of government down on either community in order to bring their lifestyle in line with surrounding culture and then tell myself I’m somehow doing them a favor by forcing them to be more like me.

        Remember, today, the Amish, tomorrow, the Catholics, next week … who knows? Maybe YOU.

        As far as “major metropolitan areas” is concerned, just out of curiosity, have you been to Shipshewana, Indiana? The nearest metropolis is nearly 150 miles (not a buggy ride) away. I once ran into a group of Lagrange county Amish in Chicago, and then rode with them to South Bend on the train. They had hired a bus to take their group to South Bend where they could pick up the South Shore, not tried to drive their buggies.

        I must admit that when one of the women said to me, “We’re Amish,” I thought (but did not say), “No! You’re kidding! I just thought you all dressed funny.” Do they stand out? Sure. Is that their right? Absolutely.

        1. Geniene

          heh heh

          I appreciate that it bothers you that the Amish are a tourist attraction. Thank you for saying that.
          The heavy hand of government comes down on people all the time though. To varying degrees, we collectively decide to adhere to certain rules. Traffic speeds, illegal substances, who can marry whom. I would suggest though that, the last people on earth right now that need to worry about the government oppressing them, are the Amish. I think the opposite is true. Considering how much vested economic interest governments have in Amish tourist dollars, I’m more concerned that the natural evolution of Amish practices, like horse and buggy use, get distorted. Have you ever considered that the Amish might start living a certain way because we want them to live that way?
          I’ll give you that Shipshewanna is not Lancaster. Our county has over a half a million people. That said though, don’t be puttin on countryfied airs around me, it is Shipshewanna that has the 1600 signatures wanting the poop cleaned up! 🙂

      2. G. Woolhouse

        Best Interests?

        Their “best interests” are whatever they decide their “best interests” to be.

        This is called “America”.

        We don’t dig tongue-clucking paternalism telling other people what their “best interests” are. This works for people in North Korea, but I personally don’t feel any need to feed the Amish (or anybody else) into the great Facebook / Twitter homogenizer that is 21st century life.

        All the ones I know are healthy, happy and well-adjusted. It seems they understand their “best interests” pretty darn well, and don’t need some “what-the-heck-am-I-gonna-do-with-this-$30,000-soociology-degree” opinionator deciding for them.

        1. William C.


          I heartily agree!

        2. Kate

          Good comment, G.

          I’ll second that “Amen.”

          1. Donald F.

            Here’s “thirding” it! Well put!

    12. Ted

      Amish Horse Manure

      We live about 75 miles to our closest Amish community (in Bowling Green, Missouri.) The way the Amish Community is situated the outside perimeter has paved roads but inside the community itself most of the roads are dirt or at the most gravel, I have been through there in the winter time and I saw no snow removal. In the spring, summer, and Fall I never saw where the dirt / gravel roads had much of any maintenance, I never saw a road grader or even where one had been recently, (note: this could be according to what the Amish want, I just don’t know), but The point is there doesn’t seem to be a lot of Fuel Tax monies spent there. While I have seen horse manure on the roads I don’t think it was excessive.
      I only visit the area on occasions but, the only place I saw horse manure was at the Wall-Mart store parking lot area that seems to be designated for Horse & Buggies

    13. Lester Mast

      Horse Manure

      Having grown up and living in the middle of the Amish community in Northern Indiana, horse manure is a problem. People have made comments that it doesn’t smell etc. If you drive thru and over horse manure and it will get on your vehicle, if you do not immediately wash it off and allow it to dry, it will adhere to the paint to the point you basically have to scrape it off. A previous post on here mentioned that horses do no damage to roads. I beg to differ. Heavily traveled roads there are grooves where the horses run, that Lagrange County road department has to put special asphalt to prevent the steel hooves from creating more damage. All at the expense of the taxpayer. In my home town of Middlebury, Ind., the buggy parking lot is not cleaned up by the Amish, but town maintenance department again at the expense of the local taxpayer.

      1. It’s good to hear the negative points…I think some of us look at the issue as outsiders, but I have been trying to see it from the perspective of someone living in the community who may not be as naturally sympathetic to the Amish–considering them just another group of neighbors rather than someone “special”.

        Above, Trish suggested these may be newcomers, and I can see how that would be annoying to those who have lived in an area for generations, but I think there is at least a discussion to be had, especially given the number of signatures this person has generated. Interesting to read these comments from both sides.

      2. Also Indiana

        Don’t forget the fact that buggy drivers need to purchase a license plate for their buggies so they are also paying for road maintenance. In Ohio that cost is not covered by license plate fees but by a fee collected by the Amish community and paid in to the state. So… the Amish become the tax-payer as well and are receiving service for the taxes they have paid.

    14. Geniene

      the important issue

      The horse poop on the road is generally a non issue, except for metropolitan areas, which unfortunately is most of Lancaster county. The horse poop is a direct result of Amish exoticism. If you want to talk about a relevant Amish issue, address Amish exoticism.

    15. Kate

      I am really surprised Fran has not jumped in to this one! Excellent comments, Trish! I live in an area with a lot of Amish. The manure on the road is not a problem from our point of view. Oh sure, there are some who complain, but also some who value it as fertilizer. I appreciate the fact our neighborhood is diverse and that we can accept one another’s cultures. We don’t see our Amish neighbors as exotic (and have very little tourism through here) and we are not looking to them to survive for our own selfish reasons or trying to turn them into something they are not for “their own good” — we just accept them like they accept us. I value my neighbors Amish or not for being what they are — good neighbors.

    16. Don Curtis

      Why is there poop on the street?

      An issue that has not been thought about is to think about the reason that there is horse poop on the streets of your town. Of coursse it’s because Amish horses and buggies are coming into your town. But, why are they coming into your town? They’re coming into town to do business. They’re patronizing the stores and businesses in the community. I would imagine that rural communities in Amish areas are a lot more thriving than the dying rural communities outside of Amish areas where everybody heads to the nearest Walmart. Belle Center has lost about all of its businesses. Not because of the Amish. Because of the Belle Center citizens who make a bee-line for the county seat of Bellefontaine to shop at Walmart and eat in the restaurants there. The Amish have started opening their own substitutes for a grocery and a hardware store that are right in the community and within horse and buggy distance. That poop on the road may be helping to pay for a lot of jobs in the stores and businesses in your local community, not literally but by the Amish who are coming in to spend their money.

      1. Well …

        … in all fairness, I have to admit a lot of the Amish buggies are headed for the nearest Wal-Mart, too. That’s why Wal-Mart parking lots here have horse shelters.

        1. Don Curtis

          Amish and Walmart

          you’ll see Amish buggies at the Walmart in Bellefontaine, as well, but not from Belle Center. The Degraff Amish live close enough to come with the horse and buggy. The Belle Center community is located at the very noth end of the county and it’s a twelve mile trip, one way, with a horse and buggy. Plus, all of the main businesses are on the south side of Bellefontaine. A horse and buggy would have to try and make it through the downtown section with all of its traffic. Most of the Belle Center Amish hire drivers to take them to Bellefontaine since the Belle Center IGA closed up. But, like I said a lot of the Amish are patronizing the local Amish stores that are trying to fill the gap. They don’t have everything that a super market might but you can get a lot there.

      2. G. Woolhouse

        Re: Horse Manure

        This is a great point. Horse manure = economic activity.

        My area was a virtual ghost town before they moved in. Nearly half the farms shut down in the great rural bloodletting of the 80s and early 90s. Those farms were rotting, reservoirs for weeds and coyotes. Most of the stores on Main Street had “Out of Business” signs.

        A few dozen Amish families later, and those farms are up and running again. Stores are re-opening. You can find someone to put up fences, pick pumpkins or put up a farrowing shed who actually has a work ethic and doesn’t need a green card.

        This place is thriving again because they decided to come here. We recognize this, and a recent referendum to widen the shoulder on certain roads for their convenience passed with an overwhelming majority.

        If some idiots want to drive them away over some horse dumplings, good. There are thousands of depressed rural areas in America that will be OVERJOYED to accept their manure – and their hard work, dollars community spirit, etc.

    17. Barbara Holton

      Don't like it, don't live there!

      I live in an area of Arizona where there are wild donkeys/burros. They come into town during the night in search of food, water, whatever else donkeys like. There are people who actually want the donkeys killed because of their droppings! Most people have fencing to keep them out of their yards to save their plants and keep the droppings out. There is an old mining town here that draws most of it’s tourists because of the donkeys who are friendly so they can get food from the tourists, food which is sold in many of the shops. If those donkeys were eliminated the town would die. In the Amish areas people come to see the horse and buggies and without them there wouldn’t be tourists. Whether it is wild donkeys or horses hooked to buggies that is the way life is, deal with it or move!

    18. kalrose v.


      It really doesnt boteher if a horse poops on the road, theres alot worse things to run over…,Like skunk,&others terrible smelly just leave the amish alone&if horse manure bothers you that much stay off road.Also they coukd use a poop bag for the horse I suppose.But don’t go &harass these amish people over it.

    19. Mary

      Jeff M, your suggestion for an Amish souvenir is great! They do that with buffalo dung so why not horse.
      Don Curtis, yes the Amish do help keep their small communities afloat. Non Amish need to be loyal to their small communities instead of letting businesses dry up and have to quit.
      In our travels to Amish communities, so few of them have shoulders for Amish to be able to drive there when us “Englishers” have to be in such a hurry and get around them. Some people think it is funny, (they must be crazy) to try to scare the horse by driving around the buggy at a very rapid speed, splashing water onto the buggies and occupants, tail gating, cutting in too close, throwing objects, etc. When the counties do very little for the Amish and the Amish pay taxes, why are people complaining about the natural fertilizer? They don’t complain about all the income from the tourists who want to gawk at the Amish.

    20. Verity Pink

      Offer it on Freegle

      Manure can quite well be Freegled or Freecycled to keen gardeners – all that’s needed is for anyone who spots some of the stuff steaming in the roadway to post an email message to the local Freegle/Freecycle group specifying its whereabouts. And for the person who shovels it up to post a “Received” message promptly so that people don’t come out looking for fertiliser that’s no longer there.
      Having said that, if I were Amish, I’d use a diaper and thus keep the manure for my own garden.

    21. SPLAT!

      There are worse things to drive through than horse manure. Brother-in-law roared through a wide puddle of sloppy pig-poo (“English” pigs) in his convertible. Fortunately the hood was up, but the car was splattered up good and never smelled nice after that. Didn’t matter how many times he ran the car through the carwash.

    22. Liz Detrich

      Make lemonade from lemons

      I formerly lived in Mennonite, not Amish country but I don’t think the people who are complaining realize that if they moved to an area where there are Amish, dealing with horse manure is also part of the ‘charm’.
      One can’t move to farm country without having to deal with tractors on the road, or planes dusting crops, that’s just part of the deal.

      I bet dollars to donuts that horse manure would make a great fertilizer for rose bushes and other plants. Why not gather it up and sell it for fertilizer? It’s a win for everyone?

    23. Jerry

      This is BS

      Well not really. I guess it’s HS. I was raised on a “horse powered” farm as a child. When I went off to college I was so home sick that when I got home the barn was the first place I visited. Now when I see droppings on the road ahead I make a point to plow right through it. I have seen nasty signs in some towns where residents ask the Amish to clean up after themselves.
      Get over it folks and just be happy you live in such a diverse area.
      It’s much ado about nothing. Much a doo-doo about nothing. And of course remember the 1970’s saying, “S— Happens”.

    24. Al in Ky

      As I think about this issue, I also think back on my parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents who were all farmers in rural communities about the size of Shipshewana. They all lived in “horse and buggy days” in communities with many farms. I wonder how they handled this “problem” and wonder if they had manure bags on their horses. All of these relatives are now deceased, but I sure would like to know what the practices were in their communities until the 1920’s and 30’s when they started getting cars to drive to town.

    25. which is dirtier?

      It occurs to me that we can hardly claim that our own gas- and diesel-powered vehicles are “cleaner” than a horse and buggy; our emissions are just a different kind of “dirty,” and a pretty bad one, at that.

      1. Jeff Baker

        auto/truck or horse emissions?

        As Trish in Indiana commented about the auto and truck emissions, I feel that breathing in the pollution is far worse than driving through the organic kind.

    26. Victoria Roberts

      Horse feathers

      If manure was all we had to worry about, what a blessing that would be! Two of my cars are equipped with open and loud exhaust. This is good news for my gas mileage but bad news when around animals because of the noise created. Since I know my car can frighten a horse, I am careful when I see a horse and buggy. I have never once been asked to dampen my exhaust. Furthermore, gas powered vehicles have a greater carbon footprint on our fragile ecosystem than a horse does, even factoring in run-off problems, acidic damage, etc. My feelings, if you don’t like the horse droppings MOVE! New York City has excellent opportunities and they keep their horses….well I think you know what I’m saying.

    27. Gaylon Harden


      The best way to fix this problem is real simple,Take a couple of the guys that are at the local crossbar hotel be it the city jail or the county jail and let them clean the streets and work off there fines,problem solved!

    28. Ike Klassen

      Horse manure

      Leave the Amish alone. They were in the area before cars. Amish have to put up with Diesel and gasoline fumes . Horse manure dries after a few minutes and becomes a non Issue. Leave the Amish alone.

      1. Liz Detrich

        I agree, manure is no big deal

        At the end of the day, with all the other problems we have in the world (abortion, war and gun violence); horse manure is really a very minor thing we have to deal with.

      2. Margaret Dunson


        I agree.The smell of vehicle fumes are awful.Then the oil that collects on the highways over time is the same.When it rains,it washes the oil off onto the grass and kills it over time.Not counting what it does to waterways that go under the roads.Horse dung is the most acceptable in my point of view.
        Was looking at photos of the Amish property and communities and there was nothing out of place.Everything,brns,homes etc were so tidy and clean looking.Then look at property in towns,cities and see the clutter,unkempt yards,abandoned vehicles and the awful communities where some live.There are apartment complexes everywhere it is unfit for humans to live,including the town where I go to shop.
        Some people need to re-evaluate what is important and find extra things to do in their spare time.

    29. Ted

      Horse Manure / Car Manure

      It is kinda Ironic Horse manure, from horses who eat corn and other natural ingredients, and Cars, Trucks, Lawn mowers, and all kinds of gasoline powered equipment also emit Manure from Corn (Ethanol), the main difference the horse manure can be seen whereas the manure from Ethanol cannot be seen, but there is more of the Ethanol manure than the horse manure.

    30. Osiah Horst

      Horse manure

      We have a new horse and buggy Mennonite group in our area and someone did put up a sign saying “Clean up”. Others were very indignant that people would be so ungracious as to try to make the newcomers feel unwelcome. The local municipality is only too happy for the economic impact of these people moving in that they bend over backwards to accommodate them. Horse manure is a small price to pay for the new life they bring to the agricultural area and the business they bring to building supplies stores, etc. They are clearing land, starting small businesses, increasing the tax base, without costing the education system anything extra. They pay their school taxes and still pay for their own school system.

      I agree that where there are many horses on the road without adequate gravel shoulders, the horses hoofs are hard on asphalt.

    31. Debbie H

      There are no Amish in Daytona Beach but we used to have horse manure on the roads just outside of town. That is until the wealthy decided to move to that area and paved the roads. Then the petitioned the county to ban all the horses from the roads, hoofs damage the pavement and poo messes up my car and is unsightly. The people who make the laws built their Mac Mansions in that area so the horses are band. Now the big resort owners who bought up land on the beach after hurricane Charlie demolished the former hotels are threatening to pull out unless the city counsel bans driving on the beach. When a group of citizens (voters) petitioned to get the decision on the ballot the Commissioners spent our tax dollars to hire a lawyer to prove it unconstitutional to allow voters to choose.

      Ask St Augustine buggy tour drivers about poop bags. The law passed a few years ago. Now they are trying to ban the horses and buggies from the streets all together.

    32. Alice Mary

      Yes, I remember those animal-shaped clods of various kinds of animal “poop” that were sold in gift stores not so many years ago…put ’em in the garden to gradually “waste away” and feed the plant life.

      Last month when I was in the Shipshewana/Middlebury area, we visited an Amish buggy shop run by a young man. The question of poo on the road caame up and he admitted that no one picked up after the horses if they pooped on the road…it was taken care of by birds, rain, traffic, etc.

      I did notice quite a bit of it in the buggy parking area of the flea market (someone eventually cleans THAT up—not so much oil leaks (etc.) caused by motor vehicles 🙂 ). I also didn’t notice much of it in “downtown” Shipshewana (around the Mercantile area and surrounding streets). I imagine they figure fewer people will stop to shop if they have to maneuver around manure. I think it’s to be expected—both the manure and clean up in business areas mostly used by the Englisch. Since the main highways appear to have designated buggy lanes, the manure isn’t such a problem to motor vehicle drivers in that case.

      Growing up in Chicago in the ’50’s & ’60’s (as I’ve said before), my Mom would gather the manure from the rag man’s horse dropped in the alley that ran alongside (not in back of) our house, and used it in her rose/flower garden (very, very tiny plot). She was glad to have it!

      Alice Mary

    33. Rick

      Maybe we need a poo activist to round up a heap of signatures for a pro poo petition. All we need is more signatures than the other guy.

      And a streetsweeper. We have them in Australia. They are like vacuum trucks with brooms underneath. There are smaller ones for cleaning up walking areas and they are really busy in autumn with all the leaves.

    34. Jack Mitchell


      I don’t see how this has suddenly become a problem after 170 years! Surely some enterprising local could collect the manure and sell it for people’s gardens!

    35. Rita

      It's no big deal…...

      We have horses and buggies driving past our house every day and have our fair share of horse poop on our roads. It’s generally easy enough to drive around and I’ve noticed it disappears fairly fast – either by rain or dried up by the sun. I hadn’t thought about scooping it up for the garden – I’ll be looking forward to the next pile in front of our house!

    36. Geniene

      who's values are being advocated for?

      Where is the perspective that the Amish made a choice, and it is their responsibility to solve it? In technical terms, it is a choice that has nothing to do with religion. And since this has no direct relation to their interpretation of scripture, wouldn’t a reasonable position be that they have a responsibility to address the consequences of their choices?
      This is an issue that only applies where concentrated populations of both Amish and non Amish live. At the point where the poop becomes an issue for the local non Amish populace, I think the Amish have a responsibility to address this. Yelling “MOVE” at the complainers is a favorite refrain from culture warriors, but it is not a tenable response for the Amish. If the Amish moved to an area that is happy to have them and their horse’s poop, that is a tenable response for the Amish. Expecting their neighbors to suck it up or make exceptions for them isn’t.
      Non of the responses on this thread get that. Just like in the arguments about puppy mills, the Amish do have a responsibility, based on their values, to function and collaborate with their non Amish neighbors.
      Slinging culture war insults, demanding that they be left alone, insisting that the poop is not a problem, or even suggesting tax payer-prison worker solutions, are counter to, even disrespectful of Amish values.

      1. Margaret Dunson

        Good thing

        My remark dissappeared somewhere in the cyber space which is probably a good thing….. wasn’t a nice comment
        To me horse dung is much better than road kill.Ever smelled road kill after a day in the hot sun.Or a hot pavement and the toxiants that rise up and smack you in the face.The fumes in town and cities from vehicles that leave you light headed.
        This ole’country gal had rather smell plain old horse dung anytime. after a few hours that smell is gone,the auto fumes stays.
        There are about 11or 12 horses here on my property.I can fertilize my garden and flowers after the droppings have been through a heat.Car droppings never leave the environment.

    37. You do not get to decide …

      … what counts as a religious issue for someone else.

      The Amish do consider it religiously necessary to travel in buggies. It is not in any way your right to say it has “nothing” to do with their interpretation of Scripture, nor indeed that interpretation of Scripture is itself the definition of what is religious. You only get to decide if “sola scriptura” will be the yardstick of YOUR religion, and if so what your interpretation is.

      It is also not the case that anyone is advocating that religion should immunize against any and all demands to conform to the law; last night, I was behind a buggy that was lit up practically like a Christmas tree, with its required blinking safety lights, and I suspect the Amish would prefer to live in a world where that wasn’t necessary. It makes it take extra effort for them to practice their faith, and to compromise an important part of their value system against “flashiness.” But their rights have been balanced against safety.

      The question being hashed out is whether horse poo on the streets gives the state a compelling interest that outweighs Amish rights. Striking that balance is complex, but one thing is certain: deliberately making it more difficult to be Amish as the Amish themselves understand it so that the Amish will be maneuvered into whatever kind of life you think they would have had if they had not become “exotic” is not an interest of the state, compelling or otherwise.

      1. AJ

        Excellent post, Trish!

      2. M. Yoder

        A very good comment!

      3. Geniene


        I do get to address Amish reality. Amish issues aren’t some untouchable subject which can’t be addressed in specific terms. When cars first became available in rural areas sometime in the early twentieth century, the Amish, being industrious hard working people, were the first to be able to afford them. It wasn’t until some Amish already had them that they decided to refrain. I also know of an incident in the last couple month, where an Amish businessman drove a vehicle. One of the work vehicles broke down and in the semantics of having it taken to the shop, since they were a long distance crew, there were a limited number of bodies to execute the swapping of vehicles, so the Old Order Amish guy, did what needed to be done. Horse and buggy use isn’t some sacred non negotiable. Their compliance and practice is in flux all the time. Someday they may choose to abandon the concept altogether. It isn’t written in stone that they can’t. They understand that. I’m not deciding anything for them. This is their thing. It is their choice. Exempting them from being responsible for the consequences of those choices is patronizing and condescending.
        If an Amish buggy is lit up like a Christmas tree, it isn’t some poor oppressed Amish person complying with state requirements but kind of the opposite. It is an Amish person rebelling against the constraints of the ordnung. State requirements for safety decals and lighting are actually quite modest, at least in the context of buggies lit up like Christmas trees.
        On the poop issue, states generally do what the citizenry request. For example, even though abortion has been decided as the law of the land by the Supreme Court, many states have implemented dozens of measures to make it cumbersome and difficult to obtain one. Its not perfect but this is what states do. They respond to the will of the people. If the people want a little less horse poop on the road, this is a totally reasonable, fairly uncontroversial thing for a state to do.
        The Amish are influenced by the special status bestowed on them by the state. Wisconsin versus Yoder is an example. The decision enabled them to avoid the corrupting influence of critical thought. But now, as noted by the commenter Jonathan Edwards on this site, the Amish lack critical thinking skills. The Amish do get special treatment, there is no question about that. As someone who cares about the Amish, I’d like to have a conversation about issues that affect them that are more than reflexive, unthinking defense, and praise for them. Their issues deserve more. They deserve more!

        1. G. Woolhouse


          98% of Americans lack critical thinking skills. So what? Pass out copies of Marcuse and Erich Fromm whenever you see a buggy go by, and see if it takes.

          Question: Why are you so gung-ho to get these people to assimilate?

          If I called out blacks, Latino immigrants or homosexuals for their “exotic behavior” and suggested that “cooperating with the mainstream” was in their “best interests”, I’d be denounced as a vicious bigot. Further, if I suggested that their cultural habits led to inferior reasoning skills, I am sure you’d have me sent to happy hippy reeducation camp for my incorrigible bigotry.

          Why is it ok to say this about the Amish?

          1. Geniene

            poopy thoughts

            I don’t know Woolhouse, you might want to check what kind of car is in your driveway. I thought it was loafer wearing, prius driving, snooty liberals who got the vapors when someone used rational thought in relation to any culture except their own. Don’t tell me they bullied you into believing that poo! I thought your familiarity with poop would’ve inoculated you against that kind of thinking.

        2. re what they "deserve"

          Not your call. Not mine, either. You can invite them to a conversation with you, but if they’re not interested, they don’t have to sit down.

          And by the way, those flashing lights are mandatory in Indiana. I think it’s a fair rule. Whether horse diapers are reasonable is a matter for debate. Whether the Amish “should” use horses at all isn’t, except by the Amish themselves. Your opinion on that, and mine, is really irrelevant, and I’d like to keep it that way, before someone comes after MY religion.

          1. Geniene

            come on, lets play

            It is my call to talk about the Amish using clear articulate language, to bring reason and intelligence to bear on issues that affect them and us. The Amish get portrayed enough with flowery, vague, vapid, rhetoric that obscures reality. There is no excuse to do that to them. I’m not showing up at their council meetings, demanding time to speak. I’m not picketing outside their communion services. All I’m doing is leaving comments on a internet site. What are you afraid is going to happen if Amish issues are talked about in a reasoned and articulate manner?

            1. Dirk

              I guess Geniene if you were coming across in a reasoned and articulate manner yourself, you would find some very interesting and engaging conversation on this site, but I personally find, and it seems so do others, that you are coming across in a bigoted racist manner, pushing an agenda which seems motivated by a personal desire to destroy the Amish, starting with the one thing that really makes them stand out as different, their buggies.

              Some of your comments indicate that you have no understanding of the Amish at all, like the one where you suggest that the only reason Amish drive buggies is because we the public expect them to and that if we stop enabling them, they will switch to cars.

              1. Mark - Holmes Co.

                You have made a very good comment, Dirk! It took me awhile to read this post and comments and you hit the nail on the head.

                1. Dirk

                  Thank you Mark, but I think Trish below says it much better. Man I wish I had the ability to write with words as she does.

              2. Thanks, Dirk!

                It’s clear that Geniene has picked up an academic idea about how the Amish came to be what they are and has made the leap into thinking society would be doing them a favor (and is somehow entitled) to turn them into something else, and basically thinks anyone who is horrified at the implications of that idea is just not as bright. All the smiley faces can’t cover up the contempt implicit in that stance, not only toward the Amish, but toward all of us.

                1. Just thinking

                  Just thinking

                  Exoticism as an influence on the Amish is an interesting thesis worthy of teasing out more fully. I think that Geneine overstates her case but maybe she is prodding us to think more carefully.

                  Leaving the slight overstatement that Geneine has “no understanding of the Amish at all” to the side, it seems some don’t realize how problematic it is to claim that 1) Geneine is telling the Amish what is in their best interest, and 2) the Amish should appeal to their natural rights as free citizens…considering the fact that the Amish do not normally appeal to “natural rights” as secular principles (this is their belief not some idea hoisted on them by Geneine). Once people recall this, then I think we will better understand what Geneine is trying to say (the Amish practice non-resistance in a form that normally precludes appeals to natural rights and desire to be a shining city on a hilltop not just one that lives an exotic lifestyle so they are perhaps dropping the ball in a few areas) and how both of the above-mentioned claims made against Geneine are undone by this single fact.

                  I also don’t think folks are being fair to claim that Geneine wants to destroy the Amish, or hopes that they will assimilate. She seems to enjoy thoughtfully engaging a range of issues. I wonder if the “tense” responses are caused by discomfort with her method. Perhaps this is the result of being unduly influenced by the two-sided (us and them) culture war mentality, as she has also not-so-subtly hinted at.

                  At the end of the day I don’t believe the state has a sufficiently compelling interest to merit regulation. But I also think we are not doing ourselves a favor if we are unwilling to gracefully engage issues that interest us, especially ones that make us a bit uncomfortable.

                  1. Dirk

                    Dear Just thinking, after someones been following Erik’s blog for a while, one notices a certain pattern in the type of people who comment on the blog.
                    Some come to ask questions, some out of curiosity, some to share information, some to answer questions and some just to chit chat. Once in a while some come to bash the Amish, silly really to do on a very pro-Amish blog, but they do never the less.

                    Some bashers do it blatantly with venom, some more subtly hiding behind masks of good will and concern, playing the wolf in sheep’s clothing game.

                    Geniene is one of the latter. If someone as dim witted as myself can see through her/his charade, then everyone can and has. And as Trish said, we find it insulting.

                2. Geniene


                  Trish, my argument is that society is already turning them into something else. Whether they-it are-is entitled, is irrelevant. It is already happening. If my argument is valid, the issue becomes about who’s story it is to tell. The tension between me and you is over having to share the sand box. From my perspective, your argument is an attempt to tell me I can’t play in the sand box, based on the idea you’re innocent and benign, but I’m, according to Dirk, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I think you’re engaging in a process that is turning the Amish into something else, but you also want to decide who gets to participate, or who’s participation is illegitimate. Care to venture whether there is any contempt implicit in that stance?

              3. Geniene

                on being a bigot

                I’m familiar with the idea that it is thought to be racist and bigoted for someone to engage in the issues of a culture other than their own, particularly in the context of a critique. It is not an idea that I ascribe to, at least not as a universal principle. Those who do ascribe to it have a little trouble defining where one culture stops and another starts. For example, the Somali born author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, of anybody in the whole world should have unequivocal authority to address the Issues of Islam, critical or otherwise. Yet her critics use the same language that you trotted out for me. Hirsi Ali was subjected to the practice of genital mutilation as a child. Her only choice to avoid marrying a man she had never met was to flee her country. While living in Holland, she partook in making a film that was critical of Islam. Her partner in the project was assassinated. Hirsi Ali is a professed atheist. But what kind of bankrupt thinking would try to delegitimize this woman’s voice on issues that define so much of her life? To this day she receives death threats and her safety requires a 24/7 security detail, even while living in the US. But these aren’t her only problems. Hirsi Ali has been disinvited from speaking at universities because some thought her views too culturally insensitive.
                Just exactly where would you put the dividing line of who is “allowed” to be critical?
                And if criticism is off limits, what about saying nice things? My arguments which seem to have provoked your ire, are based on the idea that the over the top adulation which the Amish experience, has an effect on them. This line of reasoning is particularly relevant for a couple reasons. One is that the Amish don’t actively create their own narrative. Outsiders tend to do it for them. And second, there isn’t a lot of self critique happening within Amish society. Dr. Kraybill specifically lists the critical thinking that would be taught in public schools, as a reason the Amish sought to reject modern education. (P. 176, The Riddle of Amish Culture)
                In this environment of suppressed internal critique and a non Amish world that generally caters to this idea that it is gauche, or worse, to think critically about anything remotely related to the Amish, their narrative becomes distorted and unreal. It is probable that this, largely non Amish created, fairytale narrative is affecting Amish reality. There is a risk that the Amish will start living up to the story the non Amish tell about them. It is called hegemony. Look it up sometime.
                My position is that there is a responsibility on those telling the story, to keep it real. The larger society is a mirror of sorts. Who we think they are is reflected back to them.

                1. Dirk

                  Dear Geniene, it is perfectly acceptable and welcomed for people to engage in the context of a critique of another culture when that person can demonstrate that they have a genuine and informed understanding of said culture.
                  Sadly your comments indicate that you have no idea who the real world Amish are or what motivates them.

                  Instead you apply to the Amish a very generic anthropological interpretation of how minority cultures are influenced by the dominant culture, and upon this flawed bases you make ignorant comments about the Amish.
                  Worse yet, when we inform you that you are incorrect, you persist with your inaccurate point of view. Perhaps you feel us less educated mortals are by default wrong, after all, how can your much prized expensive education ever be wrong? If it says that minority cultures are defined and shaped by the dominate culture, then that is what it must be. Thus, the Amish are Amish because we make them Amish through our perceptions and expectations of them.
                  I think you should ask for a refund.

                  If you wish to compare yourself and your critique of the Amish to that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her critique of Islam, perhaps you should have been born into an Amish family as she was into an Islamic family. But as an outsider you cannot be the Ayaan Hirsi Ali critique version of the Amish. It would be extremely arrogant of you to presume such airs.

                  In your last paragraph you are back to your generic cultural model ramblings with “There is a risk that the Amish will start living up to the story the non Amish tell about them. It is called hegemony,” forcing me to repeat myself – if you had bothered to study the Amish at all, you would know that the Amish defy the sociology-anthropological generic model used to evaluate, explain and define minority cultures.

                  If the Amish did fit the generic model, they would have assimilated into the dominate culture over 100 years ago as the “university experts” of the early 1900’s predicted they would. However the Amish went from 5000 members in 1900 to over 300 000 members in 2015, still speaking their own language and observing their own customs and traditions, showing minimal signs of assimilation despite being a scattered minority within mainstream American Anglicized culture.
                  The model was wrong then about the Amish and it is still wrong today about them.

                  So your whole approach that you are doing the Amish a favor, that what you suggest will somehow be of benefit to them, well, newsflash, they have done just well for themselves avoiding all sorts of hegemony since 1525. But you would know that if you had actually studied them instead of assuming that they would naturally just fit into some generic university model.

                  My advice to you would be to study the primary causes that prevent the Amish from assimilating, because one thing I can guarantee you it is not, it is not our expectation and perception of them to be Amish. Making such statements of yours “It is probable that this, largely non Amish created, fairytale narrative is affecting Amish reality.” ludicrous.

                  I would venture to say that your insight into Amish culture was gleaned from reality TV, books written by non-Amish and other secondary sources and not firsthand from real world Amish.
                  If you wish to speak with the voice of an expert on Amish culture, it most certainly needs to be based on knowledge gleaned from primary sources. Else you will be shot down as a poser.

                  1. Geneiene

                    your turn

                    So the experts were wrong then, but now, the correct experts are right? Come on Dirk, indulge me for a minute. Hirsi Ali is a pretty solid example of the cultural sensitivity police getting it wrong. It doesn’t matter how impeccable her standing is to speak to the issues, she still gets called a bigot and a racist.
                    There is standing that should be attributed to an Amish born person that a non Amish person doesn’t get, but the implication of Hirsi Ali’s example is that there is some bullying going on over who gets to weigh in on the subject. That bullying is coming from outsiders to Islamic faith.
                    I argue that outsiders are already influencing the Amish. Your comment to C c on this thread is a good example of that. You emphatically state that “the Amish won’t tie poop bags to their horses” to test whether it could work. Don’t you think a statement like that influences the issue one way or another? You are leaning very hard on one side of this issue. The idea that poop bags are an “insane idea guaranteed to spook horses” is an extremely prejudiced statement. Horses spook all the time about anything and everything. The way you get them functional to serve as a buggy horse, is you train and acclimate them. A buggy horse’s harness constantly chafes, slaps, rubs and does things that irritate, distract, even spook them. They become used to plastic bags blowing across the road in front of them. Semi trucks releasing their air brakes, jake brakes, and horn. There are an infinite number of things a functional buggy horse has to adapt to. A poop bag is not some insurmountable obstacle by any stretch of the imagination. The argument that it is, is bogus and partisan. That said, it is the kind of thing that would require a phase in time, but I bet C c’s group would be delighted to see a good faith effort made.
                    Your engagement on the poop bag issue is how hegemony works. You’ll insist your involvement is benign, but history will have to judge that.
                    Here is an example out of history that we can judge. John Hostetler testified for the Amish in Wisconsin versus Yoder, the Supreme Court decision that exempted the Amish from standard compulsory education requirements. Like you, he used fallacious arguments. The case was argued on the premise that the Amish were an agrarian people and therefor didn’t need more education. Karen Johnson Weiner notes that the Amish were abandoning their agrarian lifestyle in droves at the time the case was being argued. And like you, Hostetler employed hyperbole, testifying that “compulsory high school education would destroy Old Order Amish culture.”
                    There is no reason to believe Hostetler’s claim would’ve come to fruition. It is probable that the Amish would’ve developed in a slightly different trajectory, lacking Hostetler’s social engineering, but that is the point. He sent them in the direction he thought they should go. If you want to see a formerly compliant Amish person make this argument, there is an essay titled “An Amish Voice” on the site “bookscover2cover.” Hostetler of course didn’t criticize the Amish. He non the less influenced them, but he lived a dramatically different lifestyle than the one he advocated for them. He retired as a full professor from Temple University. Based on this example, the Amish do become who outsiders want them to be.

                    1. G. Woolhouse

                      Sauce for the Goose...

                      When such things are from a secular, academic or leftist perspective, it is called “critique”.

                      When they come from a religious, traditionalist or conservative perspective, it is called “bigotry”.

                      How very convenient.

                      Or to put it another way: If I’ve got to pretend that Bruce Jenner is a chick, you can darn well “tolerate” a little horsie-poo.

                      But, like most left-leaning intellectuals, your motto is: “It’s ok when WE do it, but it is really, really bad when YOU do it”.

                      Your central thesis, if I am understanding it correctly, is that by accommodating the Amish and respecting their wishes we are bullying them into acting the way we want and disrespecting their belief system. Even Winston Smith is scratching his head over that little gem. What’s the status of the war with Eastasia?

                      If I invite a Jewish friend over to dinner, and he requests that I don’t serve pork, am I somehow effecting the way he practices Judaism? Should I serve the pork chops anyway, then alternately harass and tempt him until he converts? Such tricky social engineering schemes are for enlightened folk like Prius-drivers and tofu-munchers, not silly, illiterate rednecks like me. Even if it made sense, I confess I still wouldn’t see a compelling benefit to anyone involved. I’ve always found that making as few rules as possible and respecting people’s wishes is what tends to produce the best results in the real world. A nation of sphincter -mouthed busybodies tsk-tsking over road apples and dog breeders will lead nowhere good.

                      So, when my Amish friends say “We don’t want horse-diapers because they are dangerous” I take them at their word.

                    2. C c


                      “The idea that poop bags are an “insane idea guaranteed to spook horses” is an extremely prejudiced statement. Horses spook all the time about anything and everything. The way you get them functional to serve as a buggy horse, is you train and acclimate them. A buggy horse’s harness constantly chafes, slaps, rubs and does things that irritate, distract, even spook them. They become used to plastic bags blowing across the road in front of them. Semi trucks releasing their air brakes, jake brakes, and horn. There are an infinite number of things a functional buggy horse has to adapt to. A poop bag is not some insurmountable obstacle by any stretch of the imagination. The argument that it is, is bogus and partisan. That said, it is the kind of thing that would require a phase in time, but I bet C c’s group would be delighted to see a good faith effort made.”

                      This, 100%. 🙂 especially the last sentence.

                      1. Mary

                        The officials went to an Amish home and they all participated in getting a bag onto a horse and trying it out. It was not a success. I am sorry to see all the mud-slinging. I am sorry that you feel the Amish are selfish, and I am sure in some ways we all have to deal with being selfish.
                        That said, I want to ask you to be understanding on the poop on road issues, and we will in turn do what we can to help out.

                      2. Geniene


                        Mary, I appreciate that this isn’t the kind of issue that can be solved by just having the Amish buy poop bags, attach them to their horses, and problem solved. I suggest though, that if you dig down into it, it is not the kind of issue that can’t be implemented. If you take any group of horses, none of them will be at the same stage of acclimation to their environment. Horses have personalities. It is customary for an Amish person to be selective where they drive their most spirited horse, like whether to drive it into town, or on certain highways. The opposite is also true. Some horses are acclimated to almost anything and are extremely docile. Some have a greater tendency to be skittish about being touched on certain parts of their bodies, others, their owners wouldn’t blink an eye at having their young children curry them.
                        The other variable here is, in each community, some people become known for their skills as horse handlers. Their ability to train and acclimate spirited horses far exceeds the average person in the community. It might not be a could idea to just go to their house and try a poop bag on one of their horses though, because, frequently, they take pride in driving very spirited horses.
                        I would venture though that, if you gave a skilled horse handler in your community, an amenable, docile horse, they could have that horse acclimated to a poop bag in no time. Naturally, this is a long way from every horse wearing a poop bag, but 100% compliance may not be necessary. There could be a phase in period with the expectation that some horses will never be acclimated to poop bags. But eventually those horses would be taken out of usage due to old age and if the horse trainers in the community would acclimate the new horses being introduced to the community, over time, the number of acclimated horses would rise.
                        Population increases of both the Amish and their non Amish neighbors, are certain to make this an ongoing issue for your progeny, or if I may be so familiar, your lovely grand children. Your community could become a model for having solved this issue. Horse trainers from other Amish communities would travel to yours to learn from your trainers.
                        And maybe the goal of 100% compliance shouldn’t be the goal. That way the non Amish locals would have less poop to deal with, and the tourist could experience the occasional poop on the road. Wala everyone is happy.

                    3. Dirk

                      Geniene, your statement, “I argue that outsiders are already influencing the Amish.”, is not something we argue against, we acknowledge that such is happening in the form of cell phone usage, English loans words, assurance of salvation, Bible studies, etc. However we argue against your indiscriminate application of that statement to all aspects of Amish life.

                      Your latest misapplication is found in your statement concerning your understanding of the court case, Wisconsin versus Yoder, the Supreme Court decision that exempted the Amish from standard compulsory education requirements.

                      Long before Mr. Hostetler become involved in the case, 100’s of Amish fathers had been fined and dozens more locked up for taking their kids out of school end 8th grade.

                      Yet you claim that “It is probable that the Amish would’ve developed in a slightly different trajectory, lacking Hostetler’s social engineering,”
                      The Amish weren’t taking their kids out of school because of Mr. Hostetler social engineering, he had absolutely nothing to do with it and absolutely no influence over it at all.
                      Yet you continue with “He sent them in the direction he thought they should go.” as if somehow Mr. Hostetler was the decisive factor in what was happening.

                      All Mr. Hostetler was able to do, was explain to the court in a language they could understand exactly what was going on, so that they the court could make an informed decision.

                      Do you honestly feel that if Mr. Hostetler had argued in favor of the Amish leaving their kids in school till grade 12 that this is what the Amish would have done? Because it certainly seems as if this is what you are implying.

                      I would suggest you read up about the Old Colony Mennonites and what happened with them when the Canadian courts around 1920 refused to compromise on their educational stance. The Amish would have done the same thing as the OCM did, leave North America.

                      It is this stiff necked stubborn aspect of Amish culture that I feel you fail to fully grasp, hence your assumptions that the Amish can be bullied into towing the line, if only we their sympathizers stopped enabling them by supporting them with our ‘quaint’ understanding of what Amish culture should be like.

                      1. Geneine

                        the story isn't finished

                        Dirk, I appreciate your willingness to engage this issue. I believe this subject is best served by not letting it to propaganda and ideology to define it. I’m not just saying that. I sincerely believe there is an onus on those who participate in the conversation about the Amish, to do it in a way that reflects a sincerity and respect for the subject. In the larger non Amish culture, when the issue is about something that has an impact on our lives, we expect transparency, critique, reason, and honest and open debate.
                        Anyone who is a beneficiary of this process, has a obligation to honor those values when engaging Amish issues.
                        The Amish get to abstain from this process, at least to a certain extent, based on their interpretation of non resistance. Anyone else though, who isn’t a compliant, practicing member, doesn’t get to play Amish, and has a responsibility to function based on the values of their own community. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to engage this subject. I’m honored to engage it with you.
                        That said, I have a responsibility to not just accept your arguments but to engage them and see if they withstand inspection. So here goes.

                        On John Hostetler’s influence of the Amish related to the Wisconsin versus Yoder, David Weaver Zercher, in his book, “The Amish in the American Imagination” repeatedly points out how Hostetler wasn’t the benign interpreter you make him out to be.
                        (P. 133) “we must finally recognize that Hostetler’s ideological concerns, which he shared with other sociologically minded Mennonites, shaped his rendering of Amish life.”
                        And later on the same page.
                        “As a Mennonite trained in rural sociology, Hostetler became a prominent advocate of Mennonite rural life. To further that agenda, he quickly seized upon the Amish as a pedagogical model.”

                        Hostetler had the motive to influence the Amish in a certain direction, because doing so aligned with his ideological agenda. There also isn’t much question on whether his testimony was effective.
                        Weaver Zercher again. (P. 176)
                        “It is difficult to read Chief Justice Warren Burger’s opinion and lead attorney William Bentley Ball’s retrospective without recognizing the impact of Hostetler’s testimony.”

                        It is also worth noting that Hostetler never bothered to align the ideological agenda he pushed for the Amish with his own life. Weaver Zercher again. (P. 136)

                        “The irony, of course, is that Hostetler and many of his Mennonite rural life colleagues augmented the very situation they decried. By leaving their parents’ farms for college educations, and by pursuing the professions of America’s middle class, they contributed to the Mennonite migration from rural life as much as they stemmed it. Few epitomized this trend as clearly as Hostetler, who was born and reared in an Amish home and retired a full professor from Philadelphia’s Temple University.”

                        On (P. 176) Weaver Zercher writes, (not in reference to Wisconsin versus Yoder, but other Amish issues) “Hostetler did more than reiterate Amish concerns. He inspired them.”

                        The Amish in 1972 were far from unanimously opposed to modern education. Even as recent as ten years ago, there was still a publicly run school in Lancaster that was being attended by the Amish. On (P. 171) of “The Riddle of Amish Culture” Kraybill writes of an Amish man who wasn’t willing to be jailed over the issue. I think it is fair to say that the majority of the Amish weren’t.
                        The implication is that Hostetler aligned himself with a radical minority, and once he persuaded the Supreme Court, that radical minority’s views became the general consensus. The impact of this is inestimable. A big deal is made of how the Amish don’t have a centralized leadership. If it weren’t for Hostetler’s, I know what is best for you, meddling, the Amish response to the issue of modern education, would’ve been even more diverse than it already was. Would there have been a rump minority? Historically, that is who the Amish were. In the one hundred years prior to Wisconsin versus Yoder, most Amish assimilated into the larger culture. The argument could be made that Wisconsin versus Yoder changed that. The relevant question is, what did it change them to?

                        There are plenty of other religious people in this country who prefer to have more say over what their children are taught, but all of them generally conform to the standard curriculum. The Amish, thanks to Hostetler, do not. Karen Johnson Wiener writes on her JAPAS article that, for a significant percentage of Amish students, there is no available evidence to even make a judgment how they are doing academically. Just exactly what has been wrought by Hostetler’s efforts? Apparently nobody knows or cares.

                  2. Mike

                    Dirk, You make many inferences about Geniene that seem entirely unwarranted. You know nothing about her education, ethnicity, knowledge about the Amish, etc. Geniene has many legitimate arguments to make. I have found her contributions thought-provoking. I have also seen most of your contributions as thought-provoking and well-informed.

                    You, clearly, do not Geniene’s her arguments, which, of course, is your right. That is, until you stopped arguing and started going ad hominem. You and Geniene have different points of view. Fine. But disagreeing does not give you the right to be insulting, demeaning, and personal, especially when you make illegitimate inferences about a person you do not know.

                    1. G.Woolhouse

                      Ad Hominem?

                      OK “Mike” – I hate jumping into debate-team minutiae, but you started it.

                      What you are calling “ad hominem” is perfectly legitimate when responding to an “ethos” argument (Google “logos, pathos, ethos).

                      An “ethos” argument is being used when one invokes ethical considerations (“I say this because I have X’s best interests at heart”) or appeals to expertise (“Listen to me because I am an expert on this subject”).

                      Geniene frequently indulges in both. It therefore becomes valid to question both her motives and her expertise. See how that works? Don’t open doors you’d rather not have people walk through.
                      Since Geneine uses subjective ethical considerations and dicey professional ones as the crux of her arguments, it is fair for Dirk to question both, and thus not “ad hominem”.

                      I hate it when people pick up a term they only half-understand, and use it in a silly and misguided effort to sound smarter than they are. Now THAT was an example of “ad hominem”.

                      1. Mike

                        You miss my point. Dirk does not KNOW whether Geniene does or does not have the standing, expertise, or knowledge to make an ethical argument. Dirk goes ad hominem based on inferences about Geniene that may be illegitimate. You are making those same inferences despite knowing NOTHING about Geniene.
                        So too, you make inferences about what I do and do not know about the dynamics of argumentation and the meaning of ad hominem. Perhaps you just found fancy words on Wikipedia and are spouting them to look smart. Or perhaps you are a Distinguished Professor of Philosopht. Since we don’t know these details about each other, let’s stick to the substance. Poop — leave it or clean it?

                      2. Just thinking

                        On those who aim to shoot down posers

                        “Sadly your comments indicate that you have no idea who the real world Amish are or what motivates them.”

                        Geneine has “no idea”? Is this a fair assessment?

                        “…you apply to the Amish a very generic anthropological interpretation of how minority cultures are influenced by the dominant culture, and upon this flawed bases you make ignorant comments about the Amish.”

                        Isn’t there some truth in the thesis she is proposing? Is it advisable to call her statements “ignorant” instead of proving that they are?

                        “Perhaps you feel us less educated mortals are by default wrong, after all, how can your much prized expensive education ever be wrong?… I think you should ask for a refund.”

                        I do not recall that Geneine appealed to a certain educational attainment. So is this just guess work on your part? Are you posing for us?

                        “If you wish to compare yourself and your critique of the Amish to that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her critique of Islam, perhaps you should have been born into an Amish family as she was into an Islamic family. But as an outsider you cannot be the Ayaan Hirsi Ali critique version of the Amish. It would be extremely arrogant of you to presume such airs.”

                        This is a misuse of G’s analogy. She was not equating her experience of the Amish with Ali’s experience of Islam. She was making a rather basic point, of which Ali’s case was an excellent example. Perhaps it would be helpful to reread the exchange.

                        “In your last paragraph you are back to your generic cultural model ramblings with…”

                        How does the word ‘ramblings’ contribute to your statement? In other words, how does ‘ramblings’ add substance to your argument? Because it does not strengthen the argument, therefore it is unnecessary, and in this case also ad hom. And the additional “…if you had bothered to study the Amish at all…” further supports this interpretation.

                        “But you would know that if you had actually studied them…”

                        Rather than trying to cut her down, you could have spent those words explaining the specific areas where her knowledge of the Amish seems to be deficient. Unfortunately, these types of comments tend to push others to take sides, for or against Geneine and for or against you.

                        “I would venture to say that your insight into Amish culture was gleaned from reality TV, books written by non-Amish and other secondary sources and not firsthand from real world Amish.”

                        This another example of an ad hominem argument because our dear commenter is venturing a guess about G’s sources. Speculation is for tabloids, not thoughtful discussion.

                        “If you wish to speak with the voice of an expert on Amish culture, it most certainly needs to be based on knowledge gleaned from primary sources. Else you will be shot down as a poser.”

                        Sorry to disappoint but it is impossible to shoot down a person who isn’t posing. I will you better luck in the future.

                    2. Dirk

                      You are right Mike I should not, thank you for the reprimand.

          2. Geniene


            After all, this is an “Amish” site, or isn’t it? Good question?

      4. G.Woolhouse

        Agree Completely

        Right on the money.

        If the Amish give up one of their customs every time it rubs someone the wrong way, they’ll be snapping selfies of themselves watching the Kardashians inside a week.

        Human beings have been coexisting with copious amounts of ungulate feces for 5000 years, and we’ve managed to survive. I suspect a few Pennsylvania yuppies can handle getting some on the tires of their Audis and Priuses.

    38. aodh mor macraynall


      Horse hockey does not add charm to anything nor is it a nuisance…it’s horse hockey! Do Americans not have more important things to think about than horse hockey? If you were as much about your affairs as the Amish are I’m sure your wouldn’t even think about what a hindrance it or nor would ya be thinkin about how it “jest adds to th charm a th place.”

    39. Jim Kramer

      About Horse-Manure aka Gaulmischt!

      Horse manure=quite good for fertilizer, so if someone has a problem, they should consider buying a nice big Kehrblech un e Schaufel and follow carefully behind said horse. I’m sure the Gaul (horse) won’t mind sharing, and oh the wealth after it’s added to the compost heap (Mischthaufe) and the joy of next year’s crop harvest! 🙂 Those with a problem about it might need to lighten up a little—just sayin’ is all!! 🙂

      1. Aodh Mor MacRaynall
    40. C c

      Not unreasonable.

      People, it’s not an unreasonable request. Obviously, most of you are not from the area or have just been to the “touristy” areas that aren’t really that bad. Hire someone to clean it up the roads? Haha. It would take a whole squadron of workers to keep the roads clean. We’re not talking about a few piles here and there. It’s more like you see a pile every 5 feet in various stages of decay. Yes, it does just go away on its own but not fast enough compared to the rate it appears. There are no extra lanes for buggies on most roads. Just two that we all have to share. People that aren’t from the area usually swerve around it but most of us know it’s a lost battle and dangerous to try to avoid and just drive through it. Which causes damage to cars and quite honestly reeks beyond belief. It’s not even easy to exit your car without the chance of getting feces on your pant legs. Disgusting. He’s not requesting that they retire their buggies and drive like the rest of us. Just be courteous. And, yes, maybe they have been here longer than we have but you can’t say the Amish community hasn’t increased exponentially recently. I know for a fact there were many areas that didn’t really have an Amish presence but now do. They do have kids. And those kids grow and have kids of their own, and they all need places to live. It’s more of a problem now than it has ever been. The Amish know they are an asset to the community and use this every time this issue comes up. No matter how politely it’s asked, one of the first responses is which businesses are supporting it so they can take their business elsewhere. That’s not the response of a good neighbor and community supporter. If the option that people want to use doesn’t work, actually try it and prove that it’s not a good option. They have refused even attempting it so far. I can see that certain options would be wrong and quite possibly dangerous. But let’s be honest, a horse has a mind of its own and will always be a danger in some instances. And don’t the horses have to be trained to be on the same road as semis and other large, loud vehicles? Couldn’t they be trained to be desensitized to something that would help the community? And on that issue, these are mostly retired harness racing horses, right? Cruppers and crupper towels, anyone? A towel that hangs down under the tail of the horse to block the manure from flying back on the rider? I would assume this flaps against the legs quite a bit. Maybe I’m wrong and they don’t use them but they sell them so somebody does. This is the modern world. There is always an answer. And the answer isn’t move if you don’t like it. This is our home town too. Emission regulations on cars, gladly. I think we need these in every area. Poop is poop. Clean up after your cars, dogs, and horses and we will all be happy.

      1. Geniene

        Thanks C c

        This is a pretty straight forward reality. Population growth-density will affect this issue. Based on Amish population growth, the Amish need to disperse into more rural areas, change their mode of transportation, or the poop is really gonna get deep. Braying about freedom is not going to help process this issue. In fact it will hurt everyone involved.

        1. 2whls3spds

          And who was there first?

          Why should the Amish move? In the Lancaster, PA area it is the “Englishers” that have encroached on the Amish.

          I live in what was a formerly rural area. We have been overrun with suburgatory. There WAS a 200 acre farm that had been active for over 100 years. Several years ago a golf course community was built. The owners of the farm finally sold out because they got tired of the constant hassle of haVing to defend themselves against the nuisance lawsuits from the golf course community. I have already had a couple filed against me. I may move too. The bastards are winning. The only saving grace is that my 40 acres is worth a lot of money as development land.


        2. manure

          Finally, a voice of reason! Like I stated before, If the Amish choose a horse and buggy for their mode of transportation, then they have the responsibility of cleaning up behind themselves! After all they are the ones who claim they are “good neighbors” and care about their fellow man. Geniene is exactly right, this is not about religious freedom, but whenever the Amish are put in the hot seat, they use the bible to protect their rights. There are other people in this society and it is the Amish that claim they care about others. Well actions speak louder than words. But, the Amish have a proven track record of doing what they want with no regard to the law or to the wishes others! It is the neighborly thing to do to clean up after yourselves and be respectful of others! I have lived in a farming community all my life and have never encountered such filth on the roads until the Amish moved into this area. The farmers would actually scrape the roads off if the mud or manure from the spreaders got too messy. THEY were concerned for the their neighbors! But, not the Amish!!! The Amish have no sympathy and are incapable of feeling empathy for others just so long as they get what they want. Which brings me to another point. Geniene, I hear you loud and clear but the posters on this site are so much like the Amish it’s not funny. I hope you are able to get your point across but, they to are incapable of seeing the other point of view! They also lack sympathy and are incapable of empathy for anyone else in society unless they are Amish!!!!

          1. Kate

            Oh, Fran… I expected to see you on here before now. Here we go again, but this time it’s not just the Amish you are condemning under one broad sweep, it’s the other participants on this site.

            “The Amish have no sympathy and are incapable of feeling empathy for others just so long as they get what they want. Which brings me to another point. Geniene, I hear you loud and clear but the posters on this site are so much like the Amish it’s not funny. I hope you are able to get your point across but, they to are incapable of seeing the other point of view! They also lack sympathy and are incapable of empathy for anyone else in society unless they are Amish!!!!”

            Did you not read some of the varied comments on here? Are you sure you want to stand by that? It indicates a sad tendency to judge harshly and in overly broad terms. I know my Amish neighbors very well, and your scathing condemnation of all of Amish society is extremely offensive. My neighbors (Amish and not) were here for us when our family went through a very tragic loss and when I think of the love, support, encouragement and help they gave our family and try to reconcile that memory with your blanket condemnation, it is difficult to not be offended, but now you’re extending that same brand of condemnation to everyone who participates in this site, no matter what or who they are.

          2. Dirk

            Oh Fran, If we look back in history, you will note that 150 years ago, everybody drove a horse and buggy. Its not that the Amish chose the buggy, it was always there since before Moses left Egypt, it is the others who chose the car.
            Horses were pooping on the roads then just as they are today.
            So why did you choose a car and complain when you know full well that horses poop on roads? Its not like they haven’t been doing it for the last 5000 years.

            As to your comment “the Amish have a proven track record of doing what they want with no regard to the law or to the wishes others” I think you need to stop and consider what you are saying.

            Lets take, electricity, phones, consolidated education, smoke alarms and safety triangles as examples, when the Amish came to America did such things exist? Obviously no.
            But as time went on, new things were introduced into society at large, the Amish said, “no thank you, we will remain as we are, we don’t need the new stuff.”

            Did people respect that, NO, for some of the new stuff they made laws forcing people to have them. The Amish again said, “no thank you, we do not want it”.

            Did the people respect that, NO, they arrested the Amish fined them and threw them into jail to intimidate them and force them to follow the new way.
            Again the Amish said, “no thanks, do your worse, we do not want it”.

            Eventually after wasting huge amounts of tax payers money in pointless court cases against the Amish, some people actually heard what the Amish were saying, “no thanks, we do not want it”.
            and they said “alright, you don’t have to”.

            You would think after these many incidents that people would wise up and listen the Amish first time round. But those in power are so used to intimidating people to get what they want, that it takes a while for them to realize that the Amish are not your ordinary run of the mill shepherdless kinda sheep that can be easily intimidated.

            And Fran if its sympathy and empathy you are looking for on this site, I’m sure you would find it from the nice folk here if you were not such an aggressive hater. If you want folks to be nice to you, trying being nice first.

      2. G. Woolhouse

        Completely Unreasonable

        I know people like you.

        They move to their little “dream cottage” in the country.
        They brag to all their friends from Starbucks that stayed in the city about “the wonderful farm next door” and “oh, don’t the cows look beautiful on the hillside? Don’t you wish you were me?”

        Then they call the sheriff when you run the spreader during their garden party.

        They want the postcard pasture, but not the manure that makes it grow. They think the cows are pretty, but don’t want to hear them bawling at 5 AM. They think piglets are adorable, but complain to the mayor when the hog-barn stinks in August.

        Man up. Horsie-poo on your precious tires is not the end of the world. Be thankful you aren’t still in the city, dealing with puddles of crackhead urine and week-old Chinese restaurant dumpster instead.

        1. C c

          Still don't get it.

          Actually, I can almost guarantee that almost all the people that have signed this petition were born in this area. My whole family has lived in the area for their whole lives. The people that move here are the ones who don’t really see the problem with it. They haven’t been around long enough to see how bad it is really getting. I’m sure everyone who is just saying to deal with it would be spitting mad if someone came in their driveway to try to sell you something and when you unexpectingly go out with your dog a short time later, end up with a stinky, dirty dog and a big mess that your dog didn’t make that is now your responsibility to clean up. And you don’t even own livestock! I’m sorry, but this issue is a big one for me. We don’t tell the Amish that if they don’t want to clean up after their animals they should move. They live here too. We just want a compromise. And I also do not think that they should stop and clean up everytime their horse goes. Nobody does. I don’t have a problem with manure smells. That is a fact of country life. I just don’t think I should have to come into constant contact with manure. Horses do carry parasites. Who wants worms? Not me. A street sweeper is also not a very good option. If it would work it would be great but Im pretty sure it would just constantly spread the manure across the surface of the road and make an even bigger mess of it. I also am perturbed by the idea that we should just stop driving cars. This isn’t the 1800’s. The roads were built for vehicles. Not the buggies. We are all used to the fact that they are here though and have no problem with them using them. I’m not complaining about the damage that the horses shoes and the wheels do to the road. Or the horse shoe nails that are constantly putting holes in my tires that I have to pay for to fix, the beer boxes and litter that magically appear on every Saturday and Sunday nights in the yard. I can deal with that. The manure is a problem though and needs to at least be discussed in a reasonable way. It’s not just a petition aimed at the Amish. It’s us telling the county that something needs to be done. I’m sure nothing will come of this petition. But it doesn’t hurt for us to try. Think of it like this: a horse stable moves into the lot next to your house. The horse owners ride their horses on the road and sometimes stop under that nice shade tree you have in front of your house. Nobody cleans up the manure and there are a lot of horses so it starts to build up. You can’t avoid it so the undercarriage of that nice car you bought last year starts to rust away. Do you just deal with it and go about your life? No, you complain to the owners of the stable and hope they change it. But they don’t because they don’t think it’s a problem. They’re used to manure. So, then what do you do? Start a petition?

          1. G. Woolhouse

            Oh, I Get It

            Sorry, but I am calling bull – er – horse pucky. I just can’t believe than anyone who grew up in a rural milieu is as horrified by manure as you are.

            Furthermore, the salt they put on roads in winter does exponentially more damage to “your undercarriage” than horse manure. Somehow, I doubt you are signing petitions to get that banned.

        2. Mike

          Any argument that begins with “I know people like you,” then trots out a lame stereotype to make its case makes me bristle. You know NOTHING about the person to whom you are responding. This person did not “open the door” to an ad hominem attack. You did that on your own. Is it really necessary to be so nasty when arguing about horse poop?

          1. G. Woolhouse


            “Bristle” away. You still don’t understand the definition of “ad hominem”.

            Is it “worth it” to get “nasty” over “horse poop”? I don’t know…ask CC, who is involved in starting petitions to force people to risk their lives so he (she, or it) won’t get any of it on his tires.

            “Me first” busybodies like that are responsible for every war, oppression, pogrom, ethnic cleansing and bad law in history.

            Ergo, I don’t need to “know” this person…all I need to know is that he / she is looking to use the coercive force of government to impose his / her will on other people in order to compel them to cease a harmless activity that they have been engaging in for centuries.

            Yes, I know people like that. Wish I didn’t, but I do.

            And as for you, Sir Galahad? You keep defending people like Geniene, Cc and that hate-filled nut Fran…THEY are apparently allowed to attack an entire culture…and you find them “interesting”…but anyone who calls them on it makes you “bristle”.

            And that’s all I need to know about YOU.

            1. you've had the last word

              Congratulations, Dr. Ad Hominem scholar. You’ve had the last word. Your ideologically driven rants have driven me away. Talk about a hate-filled nut! My tolerance of different opinions ends at those who are not capable of reasoned debate and view personal insults as a legitimate form of argument. I surrender to your obviously superior intellect and morality. You are a genius in your own mind. I am astonished that Amish America has not shut you down.

            2. C c



              Just to be clear, I didn’t start this petition. I just signed it. Cc is, unfortunately, a woman who just happened to be born in Indiana and is not fond of poop. I’m not Hitler. And neither is geniene. And this is my last post. I’ve learned a lot from participating in this discussion. But the only thing I learned from you, is that you aren’t a very nice person.

              Thanks everyone else for your insight and opinions, though. 🙂

      3. Dirk

        I once saw in a large city I visited, a mini sized garbage truck that had swirling bristle brushes on its underside to brush up street garbage.
        I’m sure something like that could brush up horse poop. They can be operated at night when the roads are relatively quite providing cars clean roads to travel on.

        Idle snowplows can be adapted and fitted to operate as poop cleaners during the non snow months in order to eliminate the expense of having to buy new vehicles.

        Your idea that the Amish should stop their buggies and clean up after their horses is totally impractical, especially on a road with only one lane each way. Every 100 yards you would be stopped for 10 minutes waiting for the buggy driver to get out, scoop and start up again.
        It would be more practical to turn Lagrange and Elkhart Counties into car free zones requiring everyone who lives their to either drive a buggy or use public transport like buses and trains.

      4. Anonymous


        I really don’t want to get involved in this, but a thought occurred to me as I was out on the road this afternoon and observing buggies, poop piles, etc. Even though I live in a big Amish community I did not see many signs of poop except at the parking rails that have been set up for the Amish buggies. Yes there is some on the road but a far cry from the “it’s everywhere!” that is sometimes implied. And I was LOOKING for it folks. But here is my main point – how is a buggy driver supposed to clean up on the road? Most of the buggies I saw were driven by one person. You can’t stop a horse without tying it up. So… ummm… where does the horse have to go so the driver can dart back out into the traffic to scoop up the poop? In our town this is going to mean someone’s driveway or an electric pole or yard fence. Are we ready to have random horses tied on our property and possibly chewing on a fence, tree, or pole? Are we ready to slow down and stop to wait while a possibly slow-moving old Amish grandpa scoops poop out of the road? We already have people complaining about slow-moving buggies — now add in slow-moving pooper scoopers trying to avoid getting hit. I don’t know, I’d almost rather they did not stop to scoop. And before you think I might live in an area without a lot of buggies I live in one of the big 3 communities. Thanks for listening.
        PS: If some of the commenters annoy you, just ignore them. That’s what I do. If we don’t respond to their snark or contempt, they lose interest. I hate seeing these things turn into mud-slinging.

        1. C c


          Our community isn’t asking the buggy drivers to stop in the middle of the road to clean up. I know and I’m sure everyone else here knows how dangerous that would be. I think the whole point of this petition is to go over the different types of bags etc that could be attached to the buggy to decrease the amount of manure that ends up on the roads. I think it is a pretty large amount in this area. Not in all parts of this area but most. And I’m really not just saying that as an ignorant person that wants everyone to be just like me. I consider myself pretty understanding and tolerant. They have discussed the bags that attach to the horse and the ones that attach on the buggy. The Amish community has brought up the fact that it might spook the horse and the buggy attached bag might interfere with their leg span. They are mostly just discussing and weighing facts now. The city wants someone to try the different types as an experiment but so far nobody wants to even try it. I’m sure they don’t just want to give someone a bag and say hope this doesn’t spook your horse when you’re on the busy highway. Probably more of a controlled experiment to start with. They are trying to be fair and base it on facts and not a he said, she said type of debate. It is a problem that needs to be discussed. I, like most people probably, think that it probably won’t even amount to any new ordinances. They’ve discussed this issue before. But it is becoming a bigger problem as the community grows so they are discussing it again. I love a good debate and discussing topics with people. I also am not a fan of mudslinging but I do admit to occasionally being sucked in and trying to get the last word in. I try really hard not to but sometimes I can’t help myself. 🙂

          1. Dirk

            Cc, the Amish are saying that they do not have a problem with the poop on the roads, though they appreciate that you do, they are most certainly not going to tie poop bags under their horses to be your experimental guinea pigs, endangering the lives of their horses and children, just to see if poop bags solve the problem.

            Sure such things work on immobile babies, but working horses? You want to experiment, get your own horse and buggy, drive it yourself and see if it works by endangering your own life.

            If you survive and can prove that it works without spooking the horses, then I’m sure the Amish will adopt it. But until you’ve been trapped in a runaway buggy with a spooked horse, you will never understand why the Amish are resisting trying a practical yet insane idea guaranteed to spook the horses.

    41. Mike

      Ad Hominem

      This is what philosophers call an ad hominem attack. It goes after the arguer personally instead of the actual argument. It is illegitimate and mean-spirited. Whether you like it or not, Geniene has been making a reasoned and reasonable argument, and she deserves not to be called names and have unfounded assumptions made about her personal stake in any of this. How do you know she is one of those people you think you know. This has been a wonderful and exciting thread, but now it has degenerated into name calling

    42. Mary Yoder

      Worth Raising a Stink over

      This one caught my eye. Okay ,lots of people are on my side of the fence, with a horse. ha Thanks for understanding.
      I feel that us Amish can be more respectful, and NOT park in front of the bank, one holding the horse the other getting to the ATM, because yes, Barney will need to GO at that time. We can clean up at the hitching racks as well.

      But I DO NOT want to see my dear grandbabies having to go down the road with a BUN BAG hanging on their horse, because that horse will most likely spook and run off once load number 7 has been dumped into this bag and it is slamming that poor horses legs and running over. And yes load 7 will happen.

      If these fancy officials want to take our freedom of “country” away, then they would better take Amish out of their country advertising and names of restaurants etc.

      When the firestation, dental clinic, birthing center, hospitals, community centers want to add on and build new, or whatever it is, our Amish community comes forward in droves to support and help, and we do it gladly. Do they want us to be a part of the community?

    43. Katrina

      Yes the manure is good for rose bushes, but it must “age”a bit. Fresh manure is too strong and will burn the roots. Speaking as a native Hoosier, the freshly run over by a car dead skunk is a lot more bothersome odorwise than the manure dropped by Amish horses.

    44. Aodh Mor MacRaynall

      dear dirk

      Dear dirk;

      Shut up.

    45. Trish in Indiana


      I’m thinking it may be time to close this one up.

    46. Barbara Holton

      PLEASE close this one! When rudeness comes out it’s time for the discussion to end.

    47. Jim (Jakob) Kramer

      Please refrain from being rude when you write in

      Dear Erik and everyone,

      I have to agree with Ms. Holton. Rudeness is something that not only doesn’t belong in civilized society, it ruins an otherwise good experience. I’m so glad that for the majority of people who write in, rudeness is not included in their posts. To the one who felt the need to reply rudely, please rethink your methods and realize that the civility everyone else is using is a much more powerful way to get a point across. Rudeness only causes a reader or listener to stop reading or listening! Thank you Erik, for your wonderful blog, and to the people who write in: it’s so nice to read your ideas and learn from you all. We may not agree all of the time, yet a civil forum is the best to exchange ideas!!

    48. Geniene

      true nirvana

      See, when I get started, I just can’t stop!
      What if the whole poop bag issue was resolved without a legislative resolution? What if the petitioners created a fund through which to reward the implementation of this project? There are probably even grants this kind of thing could qualify for. Prize money for the entrepreneur whole designs and creates the most functional, practical, and user friendliest poop bag?
      Businesses who support the idea could offer discounts to the first five customers arriving with the qualifying accessory. Prize money to the 500th purchase of a poop bag, distributed to the designer, manufacturer, retailer, and customer.
      There are probably a gazillion ways to effectively promote the implementation of this thing. Hell, ol G Woolhouse might approve, since the evil hand of government wouldn’t be involved. Now didn’t I say I was a genius?

      1. G. Woolhouse

        I Always Approve of Free Market Solutions

        If everybody is on board, sure. My problem is, appealing to the Iron Hand to force people to risk their lives to satisfy someone’s aesthetic standards.
        In other words, a I dislike coercion, not poop bags.
        The problem’s going to be, getting people to open their wallets. NIMBY petition-types typically love “taking action” when it doesn’t cost THEM anything, but they usually bow right out as soon as they have to grab their checkbook.

        Now, stop botherin’ me so I can read “Atlas Shrugged” for the 37th time.

    49. Geniene

      keep them coming

      Prize money to the trainer who has the most active acclimated horses. The government could get involved by giving tax breaks to the trainers who participate in acclimation.