18 December 2011

Forgotten victims of the recession

From the StarTribune:
From the Twin Cities to Tower, the northeastern Minnesota community where four horses were found dead on a dilapidated farm in March, horses have fallen victim to changing economics and rural demographics. Hay and fuel prices are up, interest in 4-H activities is diminishing and the role of horses in plowing fields is virtually gone.

While horse neglect usually runs in cycles dependent on economics, said University of Minnesota veterinarian Dr. Krishona Martinson, this is the first period she can recall in which 300 to 400 Minnesota horses have been found malnourished for several years in a row...

"You can sell off beef, dairy or swine, but not horses," Martinson said, noting that the federal government stopped funding USDA inspectors for horse-slaughter facilities, essentially banning horsemeat from being processed in the United States since 2009. "The extreme drought in Texas has forced a spike in hay prices," Martinson said. "Unlike five years ago, there are more unwanted horses than ever. It's devastating."..

It costs up to $4,000 a year to maintain a horse, said Keith Streff, chief investigator for the Animal Humane Society. Streff, who investigated the Dokken and Hanson horse pens, says that for many economically challenged horse owners, caring for an elderly horse "is like being saddled with a 1,000-pound feral cat...
Additional grim details at the link.

Photo credit David Joles, StarTribune.


  1. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/11/horse-slaughterhouses-may-reopen-after-five-year-ban/

    Horse slaughterhouses may be reopening in the US


  2. Thing is, I'm a horse lover, who is in favor of slaughter. While that may seem contradictory on the face of it, it truly isn't. That there are unwanted or abused or neglected (or any combination of these if not more possibilities) indicates an overpopulation. Same as with animals in the shelters. There aren't enough homes to go around that can, will, and can afford, to care for these animals. There's two basic solutions:

    1 - STOP BREEDING EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. A good deal of the overbreeding is "but he's SUCH a pretty color!" or "It's such a shame that Marsey Doats can't have a baby or Big Studly can't father a foal before they're fixed! They deserve that chance to procreate!" or "Wouldn't it be WONDERFUL for the children to see the miracle of birth?" Color isn't going to give you good conformation and an animal that can or will be sold. Animals don't CARE if they have a baby or not, stop anthropomorphizing them. And children do NOT need to see the "miracle of birth." If you want them to see this, take them somewhere where babies are born and let them watch it there at 4 in the morning in the middle of winter when a shepherd is lambing, a goatherders is kidding, a pig breeder has sows farrowing, a stockman has cows calving.
    2 - The other big solution is slaughter. It can be done humanely. The videos of horses throwing their heads up is because people waited around for it to happen. The animals are put down quietly and quickly with a capture bolt so the meat won't be tainted and unusable.
    I'm not saying you have to want to eat horsemeat to be a proponent of slaughter, anymore than you have to be a proponent of euthansia for shelter animals, but you do have to be realistic and practical. Stop humanizing animals and patch your bleeding heart.

  3. Coincidentally, horsemeat is in one of my bookmark folders for future blogging -


  4. Well put, Lady Heather.

  5. I am a (rescue)horse owner who is in favor of horse slaughter. There are people who cannot afford to feed their animals and there is very little pasture in the southwest where we live.

    It costs quite a bit to have horses euthanized, too. With the barn call fee $65 and the procedure itself, it comes to over $100. Then there's the sad, miserable task of having the rendering truck appear to haul the carcass away and before the guys will do that, they charge $140 in cash.

    Rescues are full. Decent horses- not show quality, but average reliable trail horses- some people are even giving them away or asking only a few hundred.

    If the drought conditions in TX continue, I expect this to get worse. Horses are found starving in the desert. Some people are also reporting that when they "trailer out" and ride at state and national parks, they have come back to find an abandoned animal tied to their trailer.

    I don't want to see horses cruelly suffer in Mexican slaughterhouses, or starve or be neglected. If horse slaughterhouses return to the US, I would hope that they be clean, humane places (such as not leaving a terrified animal in the kill box while the employees go on break).

  6. I am also an avid animal lover who is an advocate for slaughter, research and euthanization.

    Thia sounds absolutely terrible, I know. Lady Heather and Ninabi are absolutely right. It is cruel to see these animals suffer the cruelty of neglect and it would be better to humanely euthanize them and let them be useful than to see them suffer, die and go to waste.

    Its nice to actually see that there are still some folks out there with some sense!

  7. Give them to the little girls and boys of the 1%

  8. Hay is up in the 20 dollar range...I remember when it was 6 dollars (here in Southern CA)


  9. Thanks, Lady Heather. Might I also point out that the same applies to cats. There are people round here who have let their cat have several litters "because they're cute" or "because the kids love the kittens", or, as you say "it's not fair to neuter them before they've at least had one litter".

    Same family had a dog which they never took for a walk. No need to guess what happened to that.

  10. Nice post, most people leave out the fact that horse slaughter houses were shut down. But could be back soon in Montana I believe. It's a problem on the east coast as well. Horses are being abandon and roaming the not so rural areas.

    When I was a kid we took our old horses to the sale barn and got "killer price" for them. Not much pay, but, better than letting them starve to death.


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