Monday, September 08, 2008

Veterinarian who is fighting the horse crisis says education is needed to prevent overbreeding

The solution to the horse crisis can be found in the current approach to cats and dogs, according to the chairman of the Unwanted Horse Coalition. "Rather than breeding your mare, buy a horse. Rather than buy a horse, adopt one. Rather than discarding your horse, euthanize it," says Tom Lenz, who has also been an equine veterinarian for 35 years.

"Along with the economic crunch, removing slaughterhouses also removed the base price for a horse" Joe Scott of Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis writes, leading "to a glut of low- to mid-price-range horses that owners are trying to get rid of." The result is often abandonment for the animals. Lenz says that the problem requires an approach similar to that taken with household pets, in which preventing overbreeding is the primary focus of education and awareness campaigns.

The article provides a good overview of factors leading to the crisis: the rising prices of grain and feed, alongside the growing price of fuel; financial pressures faced from a rough economy; overpopulation after the closing of the only U.S. horse slaughterhouses; the higher transportation costs involved in transporting horses to slaughterhouses outside the U.S.; and legislation based on a "romanticized" view of horses rather than the horse industry. (Read more)

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