Just like any other industry, the horse industry has issues that we rarely talk about and discuss openly. Some of these issues have been going on for years now, and some of them are more recent and perhaps unknown to the general public. However, both equestrians, as well as fans of the sport, have to learn more about these ‘darker’ and more taboo parts of the industry. We have to take a stand and slowly work towards fixing these issues so that we can all be proud of the sport we love so much. Let’s take a look at the 5 most pressing issues within the horse industry.
As a horse lover, you might be asking ‘Who wouldn’t want to have a horse?’ Well, many different situations can occur in which a horse can become unwanted – sometimes it is an issue of irresponsible owners who quickly realize that a horse is too much work, or it can be as simple as a bad economic situation which suddenly leaves owners without enough money to take care of their horses.
Whatever the reason may be, the problem is much bigger than we thought. In 2007, 170,000 horses were unwanted and that number has just continued to grow since. The majority of these horses are healthy and young, which makes this situation even more devastating.
Wild horses and burros
The more we need space, especially for livestock, the more we have to push out or remove wild horses from those fields which are their natural habitat. Have you ever thought about what happens to wild horses once they become an obstacle for the people? Government housing facilities are full of wild horses living in horrible conditions that they are not used to. Can you imagine those beautiful wild mustangs, accustomed to freedom and endless running across the fields? Well over 45,000 of them are now stockpiled in facilities too small for them.
Horse slaughter remains one of the most horrible aspects of the horse industry that we horse lovers often ignore because the facts are too overwhelming. Slaughterhouses in the US remain a huge topic for debate, but the problem runs even deeper. Horses are most often transported illegally to Mexico or Canada and then slaughtered there to avoid the legal processes in the US. The numbers are not certain because of the nature of the slaughtering process, but some estimate that they are even higher than the numbers of unwanted horses or wild horses in captivity.
In the past couple of years, the urine from pregnant mares started to be used as an estrogen drug.
Since horse owners saw this as a lucrative business, they became breeding mares repeatedly so that they can always be pregnant and provide the estrogen drug. Not only is this morally wrong, but the foals immediately became unwanted horses as they were just a by-product of the whole business.
You would think that causing pain to horses just so that you can get them to walk in a particular way is outdated. You are somewhat right, as this is illegal in many states. However, some horse owners still practice this all over the world to create an artificial gait.