Hobby Horses An Economic, Moral Debate
Boise--Idaho Sheriffs across the state have an issue on their hands: Abandoned Horses. Just outside of Emmett two weeks ago a passerby found 15 dead horses in a rotting heap, their brands cut from the hide.
Lee Kliman of the BLM told the Idaho Statesman that he's seen an increase in the number of horses abandoned on public land. "The area where the horses were found is still littered with carcasses -- deer, cows, older horses," Kliman said.
The BLM Ranger said it's tied to the economy. "People are having hard times financially and they're cutting corners. There is a right way to dispose of a horse without dumping it on public land."
In California the situation is far worse and authorities there are forced to deal with tens of thousand unwanted horses.
John Madigan, a professor in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis addressed a meeting of California experts in animal control to discuss the issue of unwanted horses.
"The legislation that banned slaughter facilities in California where over 100,000 horses were sent annually should have provided an alternative mechanism to deal with the continued life of those animals in a humane manner."
The current economic downturn has made the problem worse with too many horses on the market, crowding shelters and thousands of starving horses on the range.
"The need for a solution is vital," said Madigan. "We cannot afford economically or morally to ignore this problem any longer. Research is needed to find reasonable solutions and new guidelines for the management of unwanted horses, but funding is lacking."