The "Unwanted Horses" Problem

from the editor

There are many homeless and unwanted horses, cats, dogs, etc. Rescues, shelters, and retirement farms work very hard daily to provide homes for such animals, and never gain any headway. Why? Because there is no end in sight, because the floodgates stay open.

Who is responsible for the 'unwanted horse problem' in America? Is it the lack of slaughterhouses? NO, it is not. I say thinking like that is thinking backwards. Slaughter is inhumane. It is meant for animals raised for slaughter, not for our companions.

Is slaughter a solution to the homeless horse problem? NO. I say slaughter is just one huge injustice enabling another huge injustice to continue. It is NOT the answer.

I say the answer to the 'unwanted horse problem' lies at the beginning, where the horses come from, and where this problem starts - with the breeding of horses, horses in captivity. (Wild horses can and should be left to their own territories, undisturbed, and allowed to be governed by nature.) Where else do these unwanted animals come from? The air? The water? Where? Of course they come from the parent horses, horses we humans have... and breed. The problem is, we don't keep all the ones we breed - we send them out the floodgates. Why is everyone overlooking this?

I have a problem with breeders and organizations who promote breeding when there are already so many homeless horses out there. I have a problem with PMU farmers who produce the 'byproduct' of foals for a 'medicine' that makes women sick. I have a problem with competitive people who keep breeding to get the perfect competition horse, discarding or selling or having little regard for any 'nonperfect' horses they have created. I have a problem with horse owners who are closed off to horse-friendly ideas in horsemanship, and think that force, pain, and fear are what get horses to do what they want. I have a problem with people who think that drugs, shoes, and surgery actually cure.

I have a problem with anyone who discards a horse, or a pet. I have a problem with breeders and owners who provide animals to incompetent or unethical people. OK, so I have a lot of problems. But why can't we just keep what we have, face up to whatever shortcomings there may be in the relationship, and address them? I know of many people who have found the problem was themselves and/or their lack of knowledge. A few adjustments made all the difference in the world. They learned something from the situation. There are many sources for good information on horsemanship and horse health; one need not look far to find them.

There are enough unplanned situations and circumstances that happen to people and result in homeless animals - we don't need to CREATE more homeless animals by breeding them or misunderstanding them. Please consider the horses. They don't have much choice - but WE do. Let's all try to help each other make some better ones.