“The Survey can still be downloaded at no cost from the UHC website at http://www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org/,” said Caslin “but we received requests for a printed version and wanted to make it available. The hard copy is $10, which includes postage and handling.”
The survey was conducted from November 2008 to January 2009 by an independent market research company. More than 23,000 horse owners, equine industry stakeholders, rescue and retirement facilities and nonhorse owners participated.
More than 90% of those who took the online survey believe the number of unwanted horses, as well as those neglected and abused, is increasing. Almost all participants [87%] indicate that in the past year, the issue of unwanted horses has become “a big problem,” compared with only 22% who said the problem was important three years ago.
Participants believe the economy to be a top contributor to the problem of unwanted horses today. The closing of our nation’s processing facilities, change in breed demand/indiscriminate breeding, and the high cost of euthanasia and carcass disposal are also mentioned as major contributors.
Regarding placement options for unwanted horses, 63% of equine rescue/retirement facilities that participated reported that they are at near or full capacity and, on average, turn away 38% of the horses brought to them.
Survey respondents listed the most appealing solutions for solving the problem of unwanted horses as horse ownership education, increasing the ability of private rescue and retirement facilities to care for unwanted horses, reopening U.S. processing facilities, and increasing resources for humane euthanasia and carcass disposal.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition
The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care and disposition of these horses. The UHC grew out of the Unwanted Horse Summit, which was organized by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and held in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in April 2005. The summit was held to bring key stakeholders together to start a dialogue on the unwanted horse in America. Its purpose was to develop consensus on the most effective way to work together to address the issue. In June 2006, the UHC was folded into the AHC and now operates under its auspices.
View all Releases