I think we should all do our part to reduce the population of horses.
-Whether your against slaughter or not (in America at least) it is banned, probably for good.. or a really long time. The overpopulated horses have nowhere to go, and now more than ever we need to think of them first and do our part.
-The horse market is in a slump right now. Basic economics and the law of supply and demand tell us if we reduce the numbers in the future, the market will slowly pick up.
-We are responsible as people to make the world a better place for future generations. As equestrians, we should do the same for our horses.
Where it starts:
-Leaving colts with their male parts, when they clearly aren't breeding material. Everyone likes to think their horse is the best, and they may have a lot of strengths... But if their strengths don't outweigh their weaknesses, they probably aren't breeding material. Not to mention, in the wild survival of the fittest takes over. There is ONE breeding stallion per herd (at least usually, sometimes some of the younger stallions probably sneak around). Stallions will fight to death for the control of a herd, the winner breeds all the mares.
-The same can be said for mares, if your mare is not truly breeding quality.. She shouldn't be bred. As much as you love her, its not going to change the fact that her babies might not be wanted by other people. If that is the case, and you don't have the time/money to take care of them: you are contributing needlessly to the overpopulation of horses. The wild also takes care of this in a way. First many mares may be infertile, in the wild they don't get pregnant. Thanks to technological advancement, we can increase a mare's chances of fertility. Secondly, foals who are born weak and cannot keep up with the herd usually die young. In the care of people, we do everything we can to ensure that they live.
I am not saying people should stop breeding. Nor am I saying that we shouldn't use technology to increase chances of impregnating mares, or that if our foal is born premature or weak we should let it die.
What I am saying is that because of human intervention, there is no longer a population control on horses (much like dogs and cats), so we MUST do our part to ensure that we can provide them the best oppurtunities to succeed, get loving homes, and if applicable be of competition status.
Where does it start?
Responsible breeding. Be honest with yourself. If your colt has poor conformation, a terrible/overly violent attitude, or isn't marketable within its breed (such as doesn't win at recognized shows) then maybe you should geld. It is my firm belief that only outstanding representations of their breed or great champions of their discipline (notice I am including crossbreds in here) should be kept stallions. The majority of colts should be gelded, there is nothing wrong with geldings, there should be nothing to fear in gelding a colt.
The same for your mare, broodmares should pass on the exceptional qualities of both sire and dam. They should also be exceptional representations of their breed or outstandingly talented in a given discipline... But even then, it doesn't garuntee that they will be "great" broodmares. If after two or three foals they don't seem to create outstanding or highly marketable foals, you should consider keeping them as companion/competition/pleasure horses.
The best way to do this, if you are an unproven breeder (If your foals sell out the shelves, keep doing what your doing.. its obviously something correct) is to ask the opinions of fellow horseman- especially those who know more about the breed or discipline of your choice than you, and those whose opinion you highly respect. They may bring out points, good or bad, that you haven't thought about. You may change your mind or your stallion.
The most important thing, is once the horse is bred and born no matter how beautiful, ugly, talented or average the horse is: It is your responsibility to ensure its marketability. That means training it. That means starting from a young age. (not necessarily saddling a two year old, but read on.) Get it used to clippers, bathing, leading, standing on cross-ties, stable manners, loading, standing for vet and farrier, grooms, etc. All of this can be done before the horse starts any real training and increase the horse's value.
Consider the future of the horse.. Just because you don't clip your horses, doesn't mean it shouldn't stand and be clipped for a future owner. Also squash bad behavior early (bucking, rearing, laying down in tack, etc.) before it becomes a full blown problem.. I think you know where I am going with this.
I think breeding responsibly is the best and only practical solution to slowing the exponential population growth. Just think of your horses' futures before you breed and after you breed.
Also proven breeders can do their part by considering reducing their foal crops.. Even if its just by one or two foals.. In a way this can be beneficial to you, again I bring in the law of supply and demand. If you lower your supplies, in theory the demand will go up. (So if your horses truly are of spectacular quality, having less will boost their prices.)
Stallion owners can also do their part. You can approve and limit the amount of outside mares you allow breedings to. If you are a good judge of quality (assuming so, since your stallion is of upmost quality if he is kept a stallion..) then don't allow breedings to mares who don't seem like they will produce outstanding babies. (Ask for pictures, pedigrees, foal references, etc.) If you don't want to get that technical, than just limit the number of outside mares. Again the law of supply and demand dictates that your stallion will be more valuable (provided he truly is a quality animal) as a breeding stallion, especially if he throws spectacular babies.
I think I've made my point. Any other suggestions for controlling population growth?
^Goldurnit, drop_your_reins, there's nothing there to argue over. You disappoint me.
Well, here, I'll add a tidbit, instead:
Too often I hear "Well, Miss Sassy has a crooked leg/ is untrainable/ can't walk right/ doesn't like people/ is blind in both eyes so we can't ride her, so therefore we decided to make her a broodmare." Now, tell me, how does this make sense?
Now, DYR, nobody's going to read this and comment unless we make it interesting....gotta get the message out somehow, so, uh....let's make this exciting.
How do you propose to make people follow the above guidelines, eh? Because we all know that people are ignorant, arrogant, and greedy. I say that there's no possible way to enforce good breeding techniques, and that we still need an "outlet" for unwanted horses.....unless you want to keep sending them to Mexico!
Should I have called you a bad word, too? Hmmmm....
vry well said DYR.... i've seen way to many "perfect mares" in foal with too many imperfections.. it boggles my mind
Well said DYR :) I had a filly that was sold to us prior to learing she was HYPP pos. We were ignorant first time buyers. The breeder who sold her to us told us that "at least she could be used as a brood mare". She finally died from it (see Fancys story in memorials) But anyway, I couldn't believe someone would breed a horse like that. I'm not sure if the individual horse registrys should be responsible for inforcing breeding laws if they were inacted or what the answer is. Because as bubba said there will always be ignorance, arrogance and greed involved.
Drop_your_reins I completely agree with you and all those people that breed the "perfect horse" that no one wants are the reason slaughter houses should be legalized and that is why I believe in horse slaughter, it isn't a bad thing when its helping society and horse life in itself.
I am sorry but I absolutely don't agree with you. Have you ever done a search on "Horse slaughter"? Do you have any idea what the shipping of horses for slaughter is like, or what the poor animals face when they get to the slaughter house. The sheer brutality of the whole process is horrendous. I saw one video where a stock truck arrived with a horses hoof stuck through one of those openings in the side of it. They cut its foot off so that they could get it out, then hauled the poor animal out with a chain. Horses are not fed or watered for sometimes several days at a time on the road as it affects the schedule. The people (and I use the term loosely) in the slaughterhouse, hit them, scream at them, all in an effort to keep the line moving. The bolt gun used to stun them isn't always effective. The target is moving, so instead of one good shot where it does what it is supposed to do, it might take as many as four shots, each time causing only more pain and terror. And horse slaughter is banned in most of the states, but apparently not all. So the extra horses that you see standing in auction yards all over the country are going to be subjected to long trips, without food, without water. And there are no laws to protect them. They are victims.
They are victims of everyones need to let their mare have one baby because they are so cute. They are victims of people who turn that sweet mare that has obvious problems that preclude her from being a working horse, into a broodmare. Next time you drive by a field full of babies frolicking in the sunshine, ask yourself how many of them will wind up on the killing floor.
I have two mares that have never been bred. They never will be and I moved from one side of the country to the other so that I could buy a piece of property that had fields for them to wander in until the end of their days. People like me are horse lovers, we love them enough not to bring more into the world.
Good for you. But on one cares about what /you/ have or what /you/ do. Its what other people do. If your such a /horse lover/ why would you rather let a horse starve to death in a pasture? Or die slowly from a painfull illness? Then send it to slaughter and have it die to end that pain? I'd rather have my horse go though a sever ammount of pain for a day or two. Then pro-long that pain till the ends of his days, thank you very much. People wont listen to breeding regulations. What about large throughbred farms that make tons off money off their "foal crops". What about PMU farms? There is too much money involved. Rememberits not what people should do that matters. Its what they do
Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:
Hmm, I can't figure out if you are angry at me, or what? And did I mention anything about letting a horse starve in a pasture? I don't think so. Nor did I suggest that horses should suffer pain until the end of their days. And are you for PMU farms or against it? Personally, I am a menopausal woman and made the decision not to take estrogen treatments, because I didn't want to support the PMU industry which is a crime against horses for all kinds of reasons. I get the hot flashes and the whole nine yards but that's fine by me.
If every animal that went to slaughter, was treated kindly and with respect, and not beaten or starved, or....well you get my drift, during that process, I would have less of a problem with it. But the facts are that they do endure all of these things on their way out of this world. And if one of my girls was sick and in pain, I most assuredly would not send her to slaughter "to end that pain". What a horrible thing to do to a friend. She would have a little visit from the vet after a good meal of her favourite things and it would be peaceful and quiet around her at that last moment on this good earth.
I think my last statement says it all, nobody should be bringing more horses into the world for the sake of "having just one baby around, cause they're so cute, and we want that experience once".
You seem very angry at me for mentioning that we moved across the country for the sake of my horses. Why is that? May I ask, do you board your horse because you can't afford to buy your own place for it? If so, I am sorry for that, because I'm sure you'd rather have a different situation . I hope that someday things will change for you in that regard if that is your wish. I feel very fortunate that my girls have the lives that they have and I wish that was the case for all horses.
The problem is that people in general seem to believe that animals are a commodity to be used (and yes abused) at will and tossed aside when they are no longer convenient or useful. I don't feel that way and hope that by being involved in discussions like this and giving my opinion and yes, mentioning what we've done in our lives as evidence to back up that opinion, that more folks will begin to realize that we all have a responsibility to take care of our animals.
Slaughter is a very sensitive issue for me. I understand where this topic is coming from. Here are questions that always seems to pop into my head:
What is "Breedable"? What is "Good Enough"? What is "Perfect"?
I don't agree with Slaughters being legalized but there needs to be a firmer hand and much more education in the breeding field. 8)
Same goes for those that breed Top-Quality horses. They are bringing more horses into the world too and I don't think it should just be the "backyard breeders". :wink:
I think that artificial insemination and such is going a little out of line. As horse_luver has said...don't mess with Mother Nature. Sometimes, in cases I think it's sick. But that's jut me. :oops: Having a mare pregnant with a foal at her side as well? I just don't agree.
I don't mind people leaving colts with their male parts actually. As long as they are rightfully cared for and all...and kept away from mares...it's ok I guess.
I don't know... :?: :)
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