Monday, July 06, 2009

Horse crisis shows no sign of abating, and could be getting worse; it sure seems to be in Indiana

Experts say horses are facing dire circumstances as a result of the recession, unwise breeding and the closure of the last horse slaughterhouse in the U.S. In Indiana, several new rescue organizations are fighting for space and funds to keep abandoned animals, Rosa Salter Rodriguez reports for The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne. Michelle Heitz, right, started Shadarobah Horse Rescue less than a year ago and is currently at full capacity with 32 horses. (J-G photo by Clint Keller)

State laws, federal legislation and court rulings left the U.S. without any abbatoirs to provide horsemeat for European and Japanese markets. That “changed the economics of horse ownership” to the point where “owners are now faced with the expense of euthanizing their animal and disposing of the remains – usually at a cost of hundreds of dollars,” Rodriguez writes, citing Jamie Price, a horse-population researcher at Purdue University. In addition, horses can outlive their owners and develop medical problems that require temporary or chronic care.

Some owners try to keep caring for their animals, but the latest economic downturn has left people with limited resources and a likely growing number of abandoned animals. Rodriguez reports that so far this year, courts have turned 42 horses over to Indiana Horse Rescue Inc., way up from 19 in 2008. “The world is full of unwanted horses right now because of the economy,” Vuanetta Barnhill, founder of Chocolate Box Horse Rescue, says. But, experts still agree that integral to the solution are breeders being more vigilant and not falling victim to the pressures of the economy. “Don’t breed, don’t breed, don’t breed!” Barnhill says. “If you can’t afford one horse, don’t make more you don’t have homes for.” (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

bless the folks trying to help with this crisis. there is one thing local govts could do to help also. now, in rural areas like mine (madison county, alabama) if livestock dies on your farm and you call the county burial crew to come out, you're charged about $40 to pay the costs. if rural counties would bury horses free owners no longer capable of feeding and caring for a horse could put it down and not have the burden of coming up with money to get it hauled off. be a lot less cruel than starving it and not taking care of medical and other needs.