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Another case of starving horses/misuse of donations

Discussion in 'Horse Rescue / Adoption' started by Whoa, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Whoa

    Whoa Senior Member

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  2. TheSnowLeopard

    TheSnowLeopard Senior Member

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  3. Whoa

    Whoa Senior Member

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    Read somewhere she took in $700,000 in donations over the last few years. Has a felony charge for a bounced check. She didn't geld/separate the colts. :mad:
     
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  4. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    With hundreds of horses on the property, taking in $700,000 "over several years'', may not actually be much.

    Several years....say she took in $350,000 in one year. The counts in the letter are confusing, but let's say she has 400 horses(there were 260 in one herd).

    Now...my numbers here probably don't represent the whole picture. But to realize how LITTLE $700,000.00 is, let's play it through.

    That's a budget of about 800 dollars a year per horse. That's about $133 dollars a month for the 6 months they have to be fed hay (again, speaking conservatively, it's likely to be more).

    Again, very conservatively, say she buys big bales. Cheap hay. Maybe each horse can be fed through that period for $133 dollars a month. I think that's a stretch if they're living in range conditions without any shelter, but let's say that works.

    But that leaves no money for maintaining the farm or range, paying her a salary (if she gets one, that wasn't stated), routine or emergency veterinary care or farrier care.

    Now....how well does one take care of horses when one has 400 of them on a range situation and that limited a funding?

    Is it reasonable to expect they be kept like show animals?

    No. And they are not. And I don't think even one person here expects them to be kept like that.

    It appears these horses are kept in a ''Western Range Management'' situation. No shelter. No supplemental feeding except a small amount of hay in winter.

    It is important to note that some of the horses actually appear to be in a tolerable condition. So how much less feed is she buying than is appropriate?

    Is she taking donations and spending them on herself and just letting 400 horses starve?

    I think that's the real question. It's a range management situation - some are going to die.

    IN THEORY the foal crop each year will just barely replace the losses. In other words, in a perfect balance, the horse herd reaches a ''sustainable'' number and stays about there. If the weather is extraordinarily bad one winter, more horses die. And the foal crop each spring gradually builds the herd back to a ''sustainable'' number. You wouldn't geld colts. You'd just let ''nature take its course'' and many would die ''naturally''.

    The question is, is it an ADEQUATE range management situation? Are an unreasonable number dying? What's ''reasonable'' in this situation?

    Are 400 horses on 400 acres? They won't get enough grass in that kind of environment. You can't stock 1 horse per acre in that kind of country. There are places out west where 40 acres per horse isn't enough.

    LET US SAY - for fun and giggles, because we aren't given any real information - that she buys an ADEQUATE amount of hay in the fall for the 400 horses. And let's say she stocks them at a reasonable rate, and has enough land to support them adequately during the grazing season.

    Even in this situation, horses will die.

    And it is reasonable to expect that they be put out of their misery when they are suffering from injuries and diseases that are terminal or that the owner cannot afford to treat. They can simply be shot. That doesn't cost a lot.

    It would mean someone observing the herds in detail every day, and even then, some would say it was unacceptable for an acutely injured animal to be left to suffer for 24 hours. Depending on the size of the property, checking every individual once every 24 hrs and destroying those that were hopelessly injured, could be a full time job.

    But it appears that this is not being done anywhere near quickly enough.

    If one has 400 animals on a range, without shelter, some of them are going to be very thin. Some of them are going to starve to death. A dozen in a year? Possibly. That's under 4 per cent. And in a range situation, foals are going to die. A fair number of them, in fact.

    Why do they starve? Their mother fails to lactate, for one. Or they may have lameness, leg injuries, chronic illness, problems with their teeth, hereditary disease of the heart, eyes or lungs, or simply old age. They may be pushed away from the food, even if a great deal of food is provided, even if they are fairly healthy and only a bit weak.

    So with those animals, is it reasonable to expect her to put those animals in stalls so there aren't others pushing them away from the feed, give them special feed, dentistry or other medical care, and nurse them back to health, or maintain them in stalls and individual paddocks if they can't ever return to the range herd situation?

    If her donations are accurately represented here, no. She can't afford to do that.

    It is reasonable to expect her to destroy animals that she can't afford to treat or provide special housing for? Perhaps. However, if she culled the herd like that, I am sure she would face a horrified public.

    My vote is for culling the herd, if her donations and everything else remain the same. Culling it ruthlessly. Avoid suffering. Terminal animals are destroyed immediately. Animals that might survive on a farm in a protected environment, but cannot be cared for adequately due to the budget, are euthanized immediately.

    In other words, the first and most basic principle of animal care is avoiding suffering. If one can do no more than that, one still MUST do that.

    She cannot afford to provide anything other than a very basic range management setup. That means only the strong survive. There will be predators, injuries, disease, and even just dominant animals pushing slightly weaker ones away from the hay in winter. Animals with slight defects of vision may run into fences and be killed. Minor injuries untreated may end lives.

    Is a range management situation like this appropriate for mustangs? Most people would say yes as it is 'closest to their natural life'. I don't agree that mustangs ever had a 'natural life', but that's a matter for another thread.

    Should she have a much smaller number of horses?

    It depends on what is going on. Has she got an ADEQUATE range management system and this under 4% loss is reasonable and expected? Or is she overstocking, not feeding, not destroying hopelessly sick or injured ones and those she can't afford immediately?

    No matter how much land she has, no matter how much hay she buys, no matter what her stocking rate, it does NOT appear that she is destroying the hopeless cases or the ones she can't afford to care for, quickly enough.

    SAY she does have an appropriate stocking rate, buys an adequate amount of hay, and the public - and even the person who worked for her - can't tolerate what is a decently managed range kept herd?

    If the public decrees that they don't want wild horses kept in a range management situation, if the public decrees the rescue must provide a higher degree of specialized care for weak individuals, and also maintain them indefinitely, she either has to collect more money or have fewer horses.

    If she has to provide specialized care for all weak individuals, and for some indefinitely, she couldn't even have 40 and afford it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  5. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    In a natural environment horses only starve in exceptionally hard winters or draught years. The surplus offspring and the old ones are taken care of by predators, not by starvation.

    Just look at Zebras in Africa or deer. Except in unusual weather/climate conditions they look healthy and well fed all year round.
     
  6. Whoa

    Whoa Senior Member

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    slc, no, just no.
     
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  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    slc, yes, actually. You didn't read what I wrote(at all), and the article said nothing about how much land they were on or how much hay she bought. It didn't even say how much money the rescue actually took in. 700,000 over "a couple" years was what some poster suggested ''she had heard'', implying that anyone could maintain such a huge herd given that much money.

    Which is nonsense. And my criticism is at this point (til facts come out in court, or God forbid, in the media), is of the article, as is almost always the case, the article is incredibly deficient in hard facts.

    How much land does she have, how much hay she bought, what is her budget, what's a reasonable stocking rate for that area, NONE of that is included. FURTHER, is this a chronic problem year after year? No information. Without FACTS no accusations against her are going to stick in court.

    My first concern when I see pictures like this is where's the evidence, and what's going to happen in court. What's the court going to say? This: "I want facts".

    Look. You can read another article that is slanted her way, she's a poor, hardworking farm girl who loves horses and oh so generously donated her land to support them, but due to ''hard times'', decreasing donations and a drought, she got caught in a ''horrible situation'' she could do nothing about. And no one would take any of the horses. So what could she do?

    Well, for starters, she could have estimated the budget better and euthanized all that could not be adopted out til she got to a number she could sustain. She could have not taken so many in the first place. She could have stumped a bit harder for more donations or grants. She could have STARTED with a more reasonable budget. She could have started with land that could support horses at the stocking rate she intended. She could have done a lot of things.

    I don't think ANY of you realize how much money it takes to support such a large herd. The costs are astronomical. 700K over two years is a pittance per horse. It's not enough to geld yearlings, treat weak foals, or do ANYTHING but provide a tiny amount of hay over six months(NOT September through May, which is what this is looking like).

    My post was on whether 700,000 was a lot of money ''over a couple years'' or if she could provide adequate feed, farrier care, veterinary care, dental care, on that amount of money. You missed the whole point. My point was that it is VERY unlikely that $700,000.00 ''over a couple years'' is adequate to support this number of horses.

    I also stated that no matter what, if you have 400+ horses in a range management situation, you have losses. No one can say if the losses she sustained were 'reasonable' given the information at hand.

    She has some very thin horses. In such a large herd, some will be thin, granted. Is the number she has, 'reasonable'? I can't say as I don't know how much land she has or how much hay she bought.

    But no matter how much hay she buys, she is going to have some that need special care. They have to be taken out of the range situation and managed differently. If that's all the money she has, she can't do that.

    AND as I stated some will need to be humanely destroyed. Is she doing that in a timely fashion? It doesn't appear so. Not given the pictures posted.

    So at the very minimum, she is guilty of not humanely destroying injured, down and dying animals immediately.

    Unlike you, I go step by step. It's clear she isn't destroying terminally injured or ill animals. It's likely she is not providing specialized care to weakened animals.

    Can she provide specialized care? Not on 700k. In fact as I noted she can barely afford to winter these horses on hay for that, let alone vet care, farrier care, dental care, support of weak animals and those needing specialized care.

    What you ASSUME, is that by saying she doesn't have enough money to provide decent care (if 700k is what she had over several years), that I am somehow EXCUSING HER for what appears to be an insane mess. And that's horse hockey. I NEVER excused her. Stop implying things I never stated.

    In fact, I think it makes it far worse. Far, far worse.

    In fact, I regularly excoriate people for not having enough money to provide vet care or adequate feed, and always have. I think it's insane to take on hundreds of horses if you don't have huge amounts of money, land and help. To count on a pittance of donations is crazy. Donations are -- donations. They aren't guaranteed income!


    And in this case, she's got animals in such a condition that she has to start buying hay not in October or November, but August. Is that due to stocking rate? No one can tell from the article.

    To decide if she is not buying enough hay, I need some facts. How much hay did she buy? How much land per horse, and what's an appropriate stocking rate?

    And something else I didn't mention in the first post - is she a victim of this year's drought, or is this something that she does every single year?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2016
  8. TheSnowLeopard

    TheSnowLeopard Senior Member

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    I think she is saying no to your super long posts.
     
  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Because they attract idiots who want to profit from them or want to ''rescue'' them (or both) and don't have anywhere near the means to do so. My whole point was that ''700k over several years'' is an absolute pittance compared to what it would take to care for these animals even to the barest of minimums.

    Why do they attract these people? Because of romantic notions about ''America's wild horses''. Any time you mix in emotions of that type, you have people who want to 'help' them flocking around.
     
  10. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    And I say no to her super short posts. If it's too long my advice is fine, then skip it. Don't just take one sentence out of context.
     

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