Economy Hurts Farm Animals

According to studies by Michigan State University, the economic recession is bad for farm animals, particularly horses. While no concrete numbers are available, researchers believe that the rise in animal neglect over the past several years is connected to the nation’s economic health.

Over the past several years, horse rescue organizations have been overwhelmed nationwide. Since 2007, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of unwanted and abandoned horses across the country. A 2009 survey revealed that about 89 percent of horse rescue groups feel that the number of unwanted horses is a problem. In part, this is due to the bad economy. With animal feed costs rising, some farmers cannot afford to keep their horses.

Another cause of this horse abandonment is the closure of horse slaughterhouses in 2007. When those facilities closed, many farmers resorted to giving horses away for free or abandoning them altogether.

A new federal law reauthorizing the slaughtering of horses for human consumption may help reduce the number of abandoned animals. Critics, however, argue that horse slaughterhouses are inhumane and that the real cause of animal abandonment is over breeding by farmers.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer