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minimum standards on horse care as defined by the states

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  • minimum standards on horse care as defined by the states

    so through my recent experience involving complaints about neglected/starved horses i've had a chance to take a look for the first time at the regulations of the NJ Department of Agriculture regarding horse keeping. if you have not read the regs of your state, you might want to. eye opening experience for sure.

    by way of example, in NJ, a horse with a body condition score of 2 or above meets the department's standards. so one could have a barn full of half skeletons and that's just fine with the state of NJ.

    i keep wondering how in the world did that BCS of 2 make it into the regs. who thought that it was acceptable? why do state officials sanction a standard that would horrify an average horse person?

    or maybe i'm wrong? maybe an average horse person is not horrified by the sight of a horse with a BCS of 2? what are vets taught about the long term effects such low weight has on the horses' well being?
    http://www.eponashoe.com/
    TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

  • #2
    Here is another thought. If all that happens when the DOA comes and finds a horse under 2 is that they order you to put it down, how does that prevent someone from starving horses? Or from animal cruelty/neglect? Suppose a persona starved a horse and was ordered to put it down....what if it drops dead in the field before it is "humanely" euthanized? Does the person get a fine then? Hmmmm I wonder. Basically it seems that you can starve a horse until it is moments from "the end"......and as long as you call the vet before its last breath......you are "humanely" euthanizing the animal. Don't get me wrong......i do believe the DOA has their hands tied. They do need to follow a set of laws and standards. I am still researching to find out exactly what they can and can't do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Different scoring used

      Shocked me too, but... the NJ DoA/State Vets use a a different scoring method of 1-5 and not 1-9 as everyone is used to with the Henneke BCS

      Ah, searched and found what they use... Carroll C.L. and Huntington P.J., Body Condition Scoring and Weight Estimation of Horses from the Equine Veterinary Journal, 1988.

      http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/...cts/98-101.htm

      Scroll down to Figure 3. Shows what a 2 is.
      Last edited by PaintedMemories; Jun. 5, 2011, 02:27 AM. Reason: included the info on scoring system used

      Comment


      • #4
        I think a lot of people would be shocked at the actual bottom line for horses' care. Someone explained it to me in a way that made sense. The Dept of Ag is looking at horse care from the husbandry angle. The standard is related to the question of when does the care make a difference in the usefulness of the horse? Not when does the horse start suffering or at what point is it not good for the horse. If the horse can survive and be of some sort of use that is good enough. In Vermont it is the police dept or, in some towns, animal control officers that investigate and enforce, or not, animal care laws. They do, however, rely on the ag dept's opinion on whether there is a problem or not. Law enforcement doesn't even take a look if ag says they don't see a problem.

        In Vermont, for example, the law allows trees, the side of a building or even a hillside to provide "adequate shelter". Water only needs to be "offered" once a day, not be available at all times. State ag dept officials have conceded that water does not have to be present and that they cannot do anything about a horse not having water until the horse is physically debilitated from dehydration because there is no way to prove whether or not water is offered once a day. The definitions of adequate shelter, body condition, illness and injury are interpreted by a vast variety of people who may or may not have any knowledge, experience or training in horse health. There is no incentive for anyone in government, local or state, to change this as they would then be responsible for caring for the horses that should be seized. Sort of like raising the bar for special education eligibility to keep special ed costs down. (I'm a special ed teacher.) Then there is the ag lobby that fights any sort of standards for animal care tooth and nail. Honestly when I watch the animal cops shows where horses are seized, often I have to admit that the same horses/conditions in Vermont wouldn't even be investigated, say nothing about being seized.
        "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp

        Comment


        • #5
          Not ok.

          Unacceptable. Or rather... it should be.


          Originally posted by arabenya View Post
          Here is another thought. If all that happens when the DOA comes and finds a horse under 2 is that they order you to put it down, how does that prevent someone from starving horses? Or from animal cruelty/neglect? Suppose a persona starved a horse and was ordered to put it down....what if it drops dead in the field before it is "humanely" euthanized? Does the person get a fine then? Hmmmm I wonder. Basically it seems that you can starve a horse until it is moments from "the end"......and as long as you call the vet before its last breath......you are "humanely" euthanizing the animal. Don't get me wrong......i do believe the DOA has their hands tied. They do need to follow a set of laws and standards. I am still researching to find out exactly what they can and can't do.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ptownevt View Post
            I think a lot of people would be shocked at the actual bottom line for horses' care. Someone explained it to me in a way that made sense. The Dept of Ag is looking at horse care from the husbandry angle. The standard is related to the question of when does the care make a difference in the usefulness of the horse? Not when does the horse start suffering or at what point is it not good for the horse. If the horse can survive and be of some sort of use that is good enough. In Vermont it is the police dept or, in some towns, animal control officers that investigate and enforce, or not, animal care laws. They do, however, rely on the ag dept's opinion on whether there is a problem or not. Law enforcement doesn't even take a look if ag says they don't see a problem.

            In Vermont, for example, the law allows trees, the side of a building or even a hillside to provide "adequate shelter". Water only needs to be "offered" once a day, not be available at all times. State ag dept officials have conceded that water does not have to be present and that they cannot do anything about a horse not having water until the horse is physically debilitated from dehydration because there is no way to prove whether or not water is offered once a day. The definitions of adequate shelter, body condition, illness and injury are interpreted by a vast variety of people who may or may not have any knowledge, experience or training in horse health. There is no incentive for anyone in government, local or state, to change this as they would then be responsible for caring for the horses that should be seized. Sort of like raising the bar for special education eligibility to keep special ed costs down. (I'm a special ed teacher.) Then there is the ag lobby that fights any sort of standards for animal care tooth and nail. Honestly when I watch the animal cops shows where horses are seized, often I have to admit that the same horses/conditions in Vermont wouldn't even be investigated, say nothing about being seized.
            Do you know this from personal experience? Not being snarky, just curious. I had a Bill before the General Assembly regarding horse sales a couple of years ago and I found the Ag lobby to be my biggest obstacle. I'm wondering if anyone on COTH has tried to change their state law regarding minimum care for livestock?
            Debbie Hanson
            www.ratemyhorsepro.com


            Comment


            • #7
              Frankly, those 'minimum care' laws scare the bejeebies out of me.

              There is an open door for folks with no idea to implement impossible to follow rules and regulations.

              I do agree that a BS of 2 is on the effing low side and a really bad thing. But how do you formulate it into law without opening the door to more ridiculous demands?

              We have chewed through the demands for shelter for a few month since last October.

              Offering water once a day seems a bit on the low side - but frankly, horses don't drink 24/7. But those are the things that make the good idea an icky one: It would make it illegal not having water out there all the time, no matter how silly, as well as shelter requirements can turn anyone into an abuser when the paddock just does not have one when the horse is left out there for a couple of hours.


              Adequate food - sounds good, but who decides?
              Originally posted by BigMama1
              Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
              GNU Terry Prachett

              Comment


              • #8
                If you look at the link, that BS score of 2 is more like a 3 1/2 or 4 on the scale they're using.

                Minimum care for livestock can be a slippery slope. Be careful what you wish for.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                  If you look at the link, that BS score of 2 is more like a 3 1/2 or 4 on the scale they're using.

                  Minimum care for livestock can be a slippery slope. Be careful what you wish for.
                  Ah, right, just looked at the graphics and the description: a 2 is about maybe a shade thinner than your average fit endurance horse or racer...
                  as in 'can't see the ribs, but feel them'
                  Originally posted by BigMama1
                  Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                  GNU Terry Prachett

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've seen event horses thinner than New Jersey's body score of 2...which again, is a 3 1/2 to 4.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RNB View Post
                      I'm wondering if anyone on COTH has tried to change their state law regarding minimum care for livestock?
                      Last session there was a Bill in Virginia regarding care of livestock. The language of the Bill cleared up ambiguous language, and did strengthen the states animal cruelty laws. It's part of an effort to reform some of the animal care laws - as over time little changes here and there have made a bit of a jumble out of them.

                      It was a Bill fully supported by the horse industry, animal shelters, breed associations, as well as the ag lobby.

                      AR groups howled. They hated the Bill. Farmers (and by extension the horse industry) were accused of condoning animal abuse, acting to lessen standards so that we could profit off the suffering of animals, we were compared to slave owners, you should have seen some of the inflammatory rhetoric. It was ridiculous.

                      The truth was that AR groups (HSUS, PETA) didn't come up with the idea or the language, so it was just a knee jerk response to "oppose" it. The Bill language was crafted with the input of several groups from within Virginia - industry pros and shelters. It added some teeth to the care laws - without becoming this draconian, unrealistic, ridiculous set of standards that few could meet.

                      It was a good Bill. I wouldn't call it perfect - but it was solid and well supported.

                      (Yours was too, by the way. I hope one day something can be worked out that satisfies buyers and sellers).
                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                      -Rudyard Kipling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        AR groups need their own hunting season. Like only months that have at least one Sunday in them.
                        They're the biggest block for any strong animal welfare laws. They're also the biggest block for land conservation and wildlife conservation.

                        Non-livestock educated people are also a huge pain in the arse at times when issues are brought up concerning livestock, zoning, right to farm and even wildlife issues. At various town hall meetings you could spend your time there either with your jaw hitting the floor or banging your head on the wall due to the ignorance shown. Saddest part is, the more ignorant they are...the more vocal they are.


                        Offering water once a day seems a bit on the low side - but frankly, horses don't drink 24/7. But those are the things that make the good idea an icky one: It would make it illegal not having water out there all the time, no matter how silly, as well as shelter requirements can turn anyone into an abuser when the paddock just does not have one when the horse is left out there for a couple of hours.


                        Adequate food - sounds good, but who decides?
                        An issue found often with drafting laws that can be implemented in a way that protects animals more and doesn't hinder owners and/or doesn't cause loopholes.
                        The "who decides" issue and the "adequate ______" being able to be determined.
                        The determination of an adequate water source and/or adequate shelter allowed is a really tough one. If water is not present in each livestock occupied area...how can the law be upheld? There isn't a way to monitor if livestock in stalls or turnouts without a water supply are only in there so many hours/times per day. There aren't enough resources to have the facility checked multiple times daily to make sure the animal is being offered free access to water. And the only way to check if the animal was without water for too long to be healthy is a vet check for dehydration. Neither scenerio works IRL. And if you don't have a law stating fresh/palatable water available at all times to circumvent not being able to check...then people can dehydrate their animals without worrying about breaking the law.

                        Same with shelters...if the shelters are there but not being used...there isn't a way to determine use of shelter at various times/days/weather conditions. Of course we all know animals that will ignore a shelter in bad weather or not be allowed into one by an alpha...so it can be a catch 22 there also. But like back w/the PP issue...the judge did try to determine if the available shelter was being used. Not just be going on what neighbors/AC said but asking the owner specifically. The owner did state she didn't feel a need to use it. So not sure if that's setting up others in the future to be possible abusers for not having shelter in every turnout.

                        The "who determines" should be determined by those trained to know these things. If it's an issue of first contact/offense then AC needs to educated individuals on what appropriate feed is. If it's an issue of multiple offenses, then a vet is usually called in to determine the problem or advise the judge/AC.

                        The biggest problem is finding and hiring the *best* ACs for the jobs. An AC has to have prior knowledge of all types of animals/care they will be encountering in their jobs. In many cases I simply do not agree with AC being educated about animal care after getting the job. They should have to be tested on their knowledge and not just appointed to the position. Testing should be done and evaluated by actual professionals in the various fields. Background checks also done to avoid those with connections that can hinder the job (such as a 'good ol' boys' issue or any connections to any AR groups, etc).

                        And the only way this gets done? By the public. Open your mouths...get out there to town hall meetings...join your farming/livestock and equine councils. These things never ever change for the better unless the public stops ignoring it, stops wringing their hands about, starts acting on it. And before problems occur...not as a reaction to a problem. Be proactive folks! Stop squabbling and picking nits...let your voices be heard in agreement of better laws and better AC IRL. And for once...since it's the topic of protecting animals...freaking agree on something.
                        You jump in the saddle,
                        Hold onto the bridle!
                        Jump in the line!
                        ...Belefonte

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                          AR groups need their own hunting season. Like only months that have at least one Sunday in them.
                          They're the biggest block for any strong animal welfare laws. They're also the biggest block for land conservation and wildlife conservation.

                          Non-livestock educated people are also a huge pain in the arse at times when issues are brought up concerning livestock, zoning, right to farm and even wildlife issues. At various town hall meetings you could spend your time there either with your jaw hitting the floor or banging your head on the wall due to the ignorance shown. Saddest part is, the more ignorant they are...the more vocal they are.




                          An issue found often with drafting laws that can be implemented in a way that protects animals more and doesn't hinder owners and/or doesn't cause loopholes.
                          The "who decides" issue and the "adequate ______" being able to be determined.
                          The determination of an adequate water source and/or adequate shelter allowed is a really tough one. If water is not present in each livestock occupied area...how can the law be upheld? There isn't a way to monitor if livestock in stalls or turnouts without a water supply are only in there so many hours/times per day. There aren't enough resources to have the facility checked multiple times daily to make sure the animal is being offered free access to water. And the only way to check if the animal was without water for too long to be healthy is a vet check for dehydration. Neither scenerio works IRL. And if you don't have a law stating fresh/palatable water available at all times to circumvent not being able to check...then people can dehydrate their animals without worrying about breaking the law.

                          Same with shelters...if the shelters are there but not being used...there isn't a way to determine use of shelter at various times/days/weather conditions. Of course we all know animals that will ignore a shelter in bad weather or not be allowed into one by an alpha...so it can be a catch 22 there also. But like back w/the PP issue...the judge did try to determine if the available shelter was being used. Not just be going on what neighbors/AC said but asking the owner specifically. The owner did state she didn't feel a need to use it. So not sure if that's setting up others in the future to be possible abusers for not having shelter in every turnout.

                          The "who determines" should be determined by those trained to know these things. If it's an issue of first contact/offense then AC needs to educated individuals on what appropriate feed is. If it's an issue of multiple offenses, then a vet is usually called in to determine the problem or advise the judge/AC.

                          The biggest problem is finding and hiring the *best* ACs for the jobs. An AC has to have prior knowledge of all types of animals/care they will be encountering in their jobs. In many cases I simply do not agree with AC being educated about animal care after getting the job. They should have to be tested on their knowledge and not just appointed to the position. Testing should be done and evaluated by actual professionals in the various fields. Background checks also done to avoid those with connections that can hinder the job (such as a 'good ol' boys' issue or any connections to any AR groups, etc).

                          And the only way this gets done? By the public. Open your mouths...get out there to town hall meetings...join your farming/livestock and equine councils. These things never ever change for the better unless the public stops ignoring it, stops wringing their hands about, starts acting on it. And before problems occur...not as a reaction to a problem. Be proactive folks! Stop squabbling and picking nits...let your voices be heard in agreement of better laws and better AC IRL. And for once...since it's the topic of protecting animals...freaking agree on something.
                          I do agree with you on the principle.
                          But considering the batshit crazy loonyloones that tend to scream down reason...
                          You know where the ideas are headed then!
                          Originally posted by BigMama1
                          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                          GNU Terry Prachett

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                            (Yours was too, by the way. I hope one day something can be worked out that satisfies buyers and sellers).
                            Thanks, JSwan....I thought so too! And who knows, I may just try again in the not so distant future.
                            Debbie Hanson
                            www.ratemyhorsepro.com


                            Comment

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