From the Twin Cities to Tower, the northeastern Minnesota community where four horses were found dead on a dilapidated farm in March, horses have fallen victim to changing economics and rural demographics. Hay and fuel prices are up, interest in 4-H activities is diminishing and the role of horses in plowing fields is virtually gone.Additional grim details at the link.
"You can sell off beef, dairy or swine, but not horses," Martinson said, noting that the federal government stopped funding USDA inspectors for horse-slaughter facilities, essentially banning horsemeat from being processed in the United States since 2009. "The extreme drought in Texas has forced a spike in hay prices," Martinson said. "Unlike five years ago, there are more unwanted horses than ever. It's devastating."..
It costs up to $4,000 a year to maintain a horse, said Keith Streff, chief investigator for the Animal Humane Society. Streff, who investigated the Dokken and Hanson horse pens, says that for many economically challenged horse owners, caring for an elderly horse "is like being saddled with a 1,000-pound feral cat...
Photo credit David Joles, StarTribune.