From the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning – the horse population is rising, and unfortunately the amount of neglect cases is increasing nationwide as well.
As baby boomers are buying second homes, they have purchased horses at the same time without realizing the high cost of caring for these creatures. In fact, American ownership has surged from 6 million in the mid-1990s to over 9 million horses in 2008. Along with this boom, “came backyard breading, as owners without the discipline or financial muscle to obtain award-winning genes settled for whatever nature produced.” With such high supply on the market, it has become increasingly difficult to sell horses. Thus, many people with incomes of less than $50,000 annually, are stuck with horses without proper breeding and they are forced to take care of them.
To add to the problem, the price of hay has doubled over the last year due to drought conditions and fuel costs, and animal rights groups have shut down equine slaughterhouses. As C.J. Hadley, publisher of the magazine Range put it, horse lovers who oppose slaughterhouses are innocent. “Ranchers love their horses enough to put them down when the time comes.”
All of this has resulted in unwanted American horses ending up in Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses, while others are neglected and starved.
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