Drought Leads to Abandoned Horses
Dry times throughout much of the Western United States have resulted in thousands of horses being abandoned by struggling farmers and ranchers.
At least 170,000 horses, possibly more, are on their own in states like New Mexico, Texas, Missouri and Illinois due to the ongoing drought.
Some of the animals have been taken in by rescue farms or foster homes. But the large number of abandoned horses far exceeds what volunteers can do to help the situation.
Many farmers let the horses go after it became difficult to feed them, due to the skyrocketing cost of feed that’s been impacted by the drought. Debbie Coburn, the owner of The Four Corners Equine Rescue in New Mexico, told The New York Times that a bale of hay costs five times more than it did just ten years ago, and the price is expected to rise even more during the winter months.
At least 33 states, mostly in the West and the Midwest, are enduring severe drought conditions or worse. The lack of rainfall is affecting 87% of the land used to grow corn, 63% for hay and 72% for raising cattle.
To Learn More:
Horses Fall Victim to Hard Times and Dry Times on the Range (by Fernanda Santos, New York Times)
Rescue Facility Hard at Work for NM Horses (by Elizabeth Piazza, Farmington Daily Times)
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