Friday, June 10, 2011
The Most Common Form of Neglect and Abuse
Last night I attended a great lecture on the causes and prevention of founder. The message kept falling back to one thing. Modern horse care is deadly for horses. Obesity and lack of exercise, or at least opportunity for movement,is at the root of some of the top killers of adult horses. Founder has moved into second place as a reason to put horses down.
The biggest problem is that so few horse owners understand what a healthy horse is supposed to look like. A USDA study of owners' assessments of their own horses came up with an obesity rate of 5%. Actual studies at Virginia tech and in England show rates over 50%.
Vets are starting to catch on and are beginning to hammer the message home to horse owners, but are often dismissed with a chortle that, "Well we could all stand to loose a few pounds." Too many horse owners do not want to be educated. They like to show how much they 'love' their horses by keeping them slick, fat, and over supplemented.
Vets can only do so much with such people. However, if local animal control officers would begin to charge horse owners with the neglect that they are actually committing as they fatten their horses like pigs to go to slaughter, it would catch people's attention. If local rescue operations would call for the seizure of horses that are being abused by being left to a life of crippling obesity, that would catch people's attention.
Lush grass, well manicured, not a weed to be found, heavily fertilized, peaceful and quiet--to many people that is what a horse pasture should look like. Ironic indeed that that is a description of a well kept cemetery.
This is simply another case of the established horse world partnering with agribusiness giants to make horse's miserable.
(Here is a nice shot of Swimmer,a healthy formerly wild Corolla mare. Jacob is a healthy teenage athlete. Neither are encased in fat. Both are as they should be.)
Posted by Steve Edwards