Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise

Here’s an original story about another change in the west brought about by rising feed prices :

Horses abandoned in West as feed prices rise – Laura Zuckerman – Reuters





  1. Catbestland Avatar

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there is a spike in the number of wolf predation claims for loss of horses. It is just too tempting for the anti-wolfer who has unwanted horses that he cannot dispose of any other way, to haul them up to public lands, let them be killed by wolves and then file for reimbursment. And then demand that the wolf be killed for predation. He’s killing two birds (or in this case one wolf and one horse) with one stone. He gets rid of an unmarketable horse that he can no longer afford to feed, gets reimbursed for the price of that horse and gets his nemesis the wolf removed as well. There needs to be some close monitering of this situation by those who do the reimbursing.

  2. Nathan Hobbs Avatar

    This winter i saw several starving sick horses in pastures, And I am not talking about just the incident that made the local news out of Fort Hall.

  3. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    We all see horses kept in terrible conditions here in the West; people buy them as pets, have no idea how to take care of them or train them, and then practically forget them, feeding them almost on automatic and leaving them in tiny corrals, and then, before the American slaughter houses closed, finally selling them off for French horsesteak when they got to be too much trouble.

    Half the people who own horses have no right to do so. As a horse owner myself–wild mustangs, which are pretty self reliant but stubborn, to put it lightly, until you earn their loyalty–I spent several years learning to ride, manage, doctor, and train them. I consider them partners in my backcountry work, not disposable pets, and am more than willing to take on their expense, although my income isn’t all that great. I’ve already dropped out of the consumer market since horses cost so much; I don’t spend money on anything but food, shelter, and horses, it seems. Economically, it hardly makes sense. But horses mean a lot to me.

    The fact still remains that there are far more horses in this country than can be taken care of; I read somewhere that there are more horses now than there were 100 years ago, before the automobile became common. Passing additional laws or increasing penalties against abandoning horses probably won’t achieve anything for the welfare of horses–there’s too little money for law enforcement, as there is too little for anything except the war in Iraq and bailing out big corporations for their criminal stupidity. And sending horses off to Mexico for slaughter is truly inhumane. If you think slaughter horses have it bad here, try Mexico for barbarity of treatment.

    I don’t know what the answer is to the overpopulation of horses in this country; do we license for horse ownership only those people who are truly committed to the great responsibilities of owning horses? We still have the problem of hundreds of thousands of unwanted horses. They’re going to go somewhere and eventually die by starvation or get slaughtered on the range by some psycho with a rifle and lots of ammunition who upgraded from prairie dogs. It happens more than one might think.

    In short, closing the slaughterhouses was a mistake. Well intentioned, but a mistake all the same, with more terrible consequences for horses than before. In a world of bad options, at least the American slaughterhouse is better than the alternatives.

  4. Catbestland Avatar

    Tell me about western horse conditions. I moved to CO from the very equestrian town of Aiken South Carolina where the use of barbed wire was considered cruelty and paddocks were regularly groomed to remove all rocks and even walnuts so that Thoroughbreds did not bruise the soles of their feet. Padded horse trailers, or vans as we called them, cost as much as a house. My first week in CO I saw a dump truck full of horses going down the road. The horses were all tacked up and ready for a days work in the high country. They seemed to be enjoying the ride. I had to pull off the road and catch my breath. It just goes to show the difference in horse cultures.

  5. Frank Avatar

    You pretty much hit it right. As the “bunnyhugger” culture has become more and more shrill, good sence has been replaced with “touchy feely” management of the feral horse population and has bled over into domestic horses.
    My daughter is an equine specialist with a large county animal control dept. is Southern California. They are picking up, on average, 6 abandoned head of horses a day! Mostly old pensioners that people cannot or will no longer pay to feed. The passage of a good many “companion animal” laws that change horses from livestock into pets with the stroke of a pen and the closing of the domestic killer plants have been a bad thing for horses. Now the same horses are shipped to Canada in the North and Worse to Mexico in the south. Suffering longer trailer time and more stress.
    The BLM mustang adoption program, never a real winner, has about run its course. Roughly half of the mustang population is in feed lots, costing millions to maintain and not at all living the free life that the wild horse advocates who so willingly donate to so called horse rescues, (mostly money raising scams) think they are providing. The remainder are inbred to the point of genetic ruin. Yet protests abound about capture and introduction of new blood is forbidden. Race horse adoption is a real suprise for those that do that. When I hear someone talk about taking in a “trained” race horse I just gotta giggle. Race training being pretty rudamentery stuff. “Walk to the gate, load in the gate, break clean, pick up the left lead, go like hell! and breaks? who needs em?”
    As distasteful as all of us involved with horses find the slaughter industry, it is an absolutly essential part of the horse community . Instead of doing away with it. We need to make sure that it is run in such a way as to be humane, efficent and profitable to the operators. We are staring an animal welfare catastrope right in the face and as feed prices continue to rise, It WILL get worse.

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Brian Ertz