From the Ground Up - Feral Horses

In 2007 states that had horse slaughtering facilities closed them.

Prior to that, and since then, legislation has been introduced that would make it illegal to transport horses in the United States to a processing facility.

Now annually about 50,000 horses from the U.S. are processed in Mexico, about 40,000 in Canada, and feral horses are becoming a problem.

U.S. veterinarians who have traveled to Mexico and observed the slaughtering facilities have been very disturbed by what they’ve seen.

“Many of the activists did not realize the long term implications of closing slaughter plants and/or didn’t care. They found an existing law from I believe the 1800s that made it illegal, and so that shut down the plants in Texas. The one in Illinois was shut down by the governor signing a bill during the middle of the night.”

Dr. Bonnie Beaver is a Texas A&M professor and veterinarian.

“In reality when we look at unintended consequences, we don’t have enough rescue facilities. People are turning horses loose. One of the people that I work with had a horse suddenly show up in her pasture and she has no idea where it came from.”

Horses are expensive to take care of.

“80% of those that got rid of horses said they did so because they couldn’t afford them anymore. Now we know that euthanasia and the associated getting rid of the carcass is expensive. It runs anywhere from $200 to $2000.”

The Bureau of Land Management’s feral horse herd is already too large.

“They’re running 11,000 head over grazing land capacity, and then you’re going to add more to that? It’s a very vicious cycle towards what’s happening inhumanely to horses.”

States could decide to legalize horse slaughter again, but uncertainty about the federal government’s position makes that unlikely.

“It is not illegal to transport to a processing facility yet. There’s bills that keep getting introduced.”

“It’s an emotional issue, and as an emotional issue they don’t necessarily think about what might be best for the horse.”

I’m Bob French, looking at Brazos valley Agriculture, From The Ground Up.


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