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Unwanted Horses
Published: February 08, 2010

There is a large number of unwanted horses in this country and the number is increasing partly due to recent legislation. Dr. Nat Messer from the University of Missouri indicates the legislation was probably intended to be in the best interest of horses but actually has had a negative impact on the problem. Unwanted horses are defined as horses that are no longer needed or useful, or their owners are no longer able or interested in providing care for them. Until 2007, most unwanted horses went to slaughter but since slaughter plants have been closed, many of them are being hauled long distances to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. For the past 15 years and up until 2007, about 75,000 to 150,000 horses were sent to slaughter each year with about 20,000 more going to Canada and 45,000 going to Mexico. In 2008, 80,000 horses were shipped to Canada and 90,000 were shipped to Mexico so even though slaughter was stopped in the United States, almost as many horses were slaughtered and they had to travel longer distances to the slaughter plants.

There are several reasons for the large number of unwanted horses. The demand for horses is low at this time due to feed and fuel costs. Advances in breeding technology have allowed more foals to be born. So the problem is what do we do with all of these unwanted horses? No one wants to slaughter horses. However, rescues are full and underfunded. For those of you who are against horse slaughter, are you really wanting what is best for horses? If so, rather than just being against slaughter you need to develop another option and this has not occurred.

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