Equine welfare: UC-Davis plan calls for network of community shelters for horses
Proposal calls for assessment stations, rehabilitation, adoption and euthanasia standards
Jan 1, 2009
By: James M. Lewis
A triage flow chart: A faculty group at the University of California-Davis came up with this diagram showing how unwanted horses could be handled much like dogs and cats are in animal shelters. They would be divided first according to whether they are adoptable.
DAVIS, CALIF. — A faculty organization at the University of California-Davis has come up with a proposal for dealing with unwanted horses and intends to create a template that communities anywhere in the country could follow.
Essentially, the plan is to create shelters that would deal with unwanted horses in much the same way that most animal shelters deal with unwanted cats and dogs.
The International Animal Welfare Training Institute (IAWTI), organized last spring, is part of the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and is directed by Dr. John Madigan, a professor and clinician at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Its members include more than 20 faculty members who have projects and research aimed at improving animal welfare across all species, and it has international links in the areas of global emergency and disaster response.
"A significant portion of society views horses differently than livestock," Madigan says. "This suggests to us that something similar to a normal community animal-shelter program for small animals is needed for horses."
The IAWTI has started a pilot program with foundations in northern California that have started similar programs, and it expects to use those sites to create a template any community could follow.
"Horse-rehoming facilities or horse-assessment stations need to be licensed, certified, inspected and have in effect the components needed for housing, assessment, adoption, maintenance, veterinary care, licensing with county animal services, temperament assessment for adoption, humane euthanasia, an operating budget and so on," Madigan explains.
"We are working now to create that infrastructure template to share with other counties in California and other states."
The system the group envisions calls for an "unwanted horse assessment station" that first would triage any unwanted horses brought in, determining whether they are adoptable or non-adoptable.
If adoptable, they would be placed in one of four groups: rehabilitation required, immediately usable, needing permanent housing and retirement, or used for outreach education in equine care.
If un-adoptable, the animals would be designated either for humane euthanasia with carcass salvaged for zoo feeding, nutritional use for animals or rendering; or for humane euthanasia, with the carcass disposed by tissue digester, composting or cremation.
"Some current (horse) rescue facilities are over their heads with regard to costs and caring for animals long-term," Madigan says.
"We believe this approach will provide a means for people to take their healthy animals — which they can't keep — to a place where they may be adopted out (sold) as a person would obtain a dog or a cat from a shelter.
"Adoption, housing and humane euthanasia are needed for the magnitude of this problem and for the benefit of the horse, in our opinion."
The IAWTI is inviting several agencies this month to a meeting at UC-Davis to explore the implementation and funding of such a program. So far, representatives from UC-Davis, Animal Services, California Dept. of Food and Agriculture, the California Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Grace Foundation, California Horse Racing Board and the Humane Society of the United States are expected to attend.
Anyone wishing to support the effort can send donations to the IAWTI at UC-Davis, Madigan says.
Last edited by Whoanellie; Feb. 22, 2009 at 12:00 PM.
If its the taxpayers who pay I care, I know a whole lot of otherones that would also.
But see, County, we live in this wondrous thing called a participatory democracy.
That means that sometimes, for the common weal, we end up paying taxes for things we don't necessarily support or agree with.
For example: I don't have kids. I don't LIKE kids. I will remain happily child-free for the rest of my life.
If we follow your thinking, WHY should I be paying to subsidize YOUR child's education? Isn't that YOUR responsibility? You made a very expensive lifestyle choice - having kids - which I elected not to make.
But if the tax exists, then as a U.S. citizen, I have two choices. I either pay it, understanding as I do that paying for everybody else's sprogs to get at least SOME form of education is a lot better for the common weal than ending up with generations of unlettered slobs... Or I try to put up a "conscientious objection" sort of defense when I'm dragged into tax court b/c I happen to resent the living f*ck out of paying school taxes. And I end up going to jail for tax evasion.
In the U.S.A., you pay to play. Or you leave, or you go to jail.
Quite honestly, any tax enacted for horse shelters would end up taking SIGNIFICANTLY less out of me than I privately donate to 501(c)(3)s every month. *Shrug* So I really DON'T care who pays. I just think it needs to be done.
"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief
Ambrey I agree but don't see what this has to do with slaughter houses? If someone wants to kill their horse thats their business I just see no reason to have the tax payer foot the bill. Less then 2% of people in this country own a horse the only one that should be responsable for the cost of killing one is the owner.
That means that sometimes, for the common weal, we end up paying taxes for things we don't necessarily support or agree with....If we follow your thinking, WHY should I be paying to subsidize YOUR child's education? Isn't that YOUR responsibility?
You don't - in Georgia it is property OWNERS who foot the bill
Somehow I don't think the MAJORITY see this as vital to the "common weal". The children we are paying to educate will be funding you in your drooling dotage, if they aren't already!
Last edited by Equibrit; Jan. 10, 2009 at 03:09 PM.
And sometimes you don't. I understand you agree with it, I think your having a problem understanding there are others that don't. My guess is that the majority of tax payers aren't going to want to pay for someone to kill their horse. Just a wild guess and knowing the people here.
As the ownership of horses is viewed by the masses as an elite type of activity, I doubt very much that they would care to pay for cleaning up the dross created by those selfish enough to dump their problems. The only reason cat/dog rescue is funded is because it is the MAJORITY doing the dumping etc.