Wednesday, October 17, 2012

News : Homeless horses - plight of the unwanted - Kern Valley Sun

Kern Valley Sun

Published on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:05 AM PDT
Kate MacDonald/Special to the Sun

Just like America’s cats and dogs, there is an equine overpopulation problem in our country, accounting for a number of unwanted animals. The cause of homeless horses is a complex one. Economic down times arguably affect owners of equines more than those owners of cats and dogs, due to the larger expenses of feed, shelter, veterinary and hoof care. A bale of hay which was about $9 in 2002 has since tripled. The foreclosure crisis has made some losing their homes unable to care for their horses, mules, and burros. Many horses change from a valued asset and companion to a burden following divorce, injury, aging of their owners or a teen going to college. The competitive equine industry: horse shows, rodeo, and racing, as well as the breed registries, all breed more horses than are absorbed by those industries; not every Thoroughbred becomes a race horse. The “excess” animals are not provided for by these industries in an organized way; they must find some owner who will care for them for life which can be up to 35 years; failing that, they may end up in the pipeline to slaughter. There are also America’s mustangs, of which more are captive, in government sponsored long term holding, than are left wild on the ranges that Congress deeded to them. In addition, the Bureau of Land Management, the agency charged with managing the wild herds, removes thousands more each year. The mustangs and wild burros are offered to the public for adoption for a fee, but there is far too little demand and thus many add to the numbers each year of America’s unwanted horses.   Read MORE...

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