Ahh the opiate of the masses, hysteria and innuendo.
First, read your newspaper now and then. The goverment pays more to farmers not to grow crops because thanks to our messed up trade practices they can't make any money and the Congress feels guilty. So the farmer gets paid to watch dirt blow off his land while foreigner farms that use pesticides and child labor rape our economy. They still don't pay enough for him to make payment on taxes and land so he gets a town job. In the end I know droves that have lost their farms and lives because big brother taxed them into submission. You make a living selling cows at .50-.60 a pound and I'll salute you.
Second, talk to any cowboys worth his salt and he'll tell you he is not an athelete his horse is. The pompous ones don't last long. These guys worship those animals. You need to go to a national cutting horse events and watch those horses work. Those are real atheletes! It is awesome. Go watch a roping horse close the gap on a calf without even a spur, can jockeys say that. Some of these horses even return the love by protecting their rider. I had an old gelding that saved me a couple of times. While roping an catching a baby calf to doctor sometime the mommas get a little testy and will try to get you. This old horse would stay between me and momma while I worked and sometimes get bruised up doing it. I raised him from a baby and never once put a spur or a whip to him. My kids rode him and he used to follow them around like a dog until he passed at 18 years old. Best baby-sitter I ever had. He would stand outside the back fence waiting for us to come outside.
There are bad apples in every bunch, but anyone that abuses a horse or cow is not a cowboy, he/she is a loser. I have seen many a man that thought he was got his as_ kicked by a peer for beating a horse.