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Unwanted Horse Population


Dr. Nat Messer, DVM, presented statistics on “The Unwanted Horse” at the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ annual convention in December in Seattle. The following estimates are for 2004:


    • 60,000 horses were sent to slaughter in the United States.
    • 20,000 went to slaughter in Canada.
    • 4,000 went to slaughter in Mexico.
    • 17,000 feral horses were held in short-and long-term facilities by the Bureau of Land Management.
    • 20,000 mares and foals from the pregnant mare urine (PMU) industry (for making Premarin) were in need of homes.
    • 100,000 horses were euthanized or died of natural causes.

Messer also said that there are approximately 480 legitimate equine rescue facilities and individuals in the United States, but even if they averaged 30 to 50 horses per facility, the number of unwanted horses far exceeds the resources available to care for them.

(Editor’s note: Source of this information is the American Association of Equine Practitioners.)

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