Jason, Tawnee and Larry traveled back to the Oroville area today. Volunteers fed and cared for the horses, but didn’t manage to take any pictures. The long drive gave time to ponder on some very important things.
One of which is the upcoming gelding clinic. This is one of our most important programs, it has potential to keep thousands of horses out of the slaughter pipeline. We want to dedicate the rest of this blog as to why this program is so important.
We have received a lot of questions as to why we believe it is important to have a gelding clinic. We’ve heard so many times: “If the owner can’t afford to geld the horse, why do they even have a horse?” This is true, in a perfect world. Just like the dogs at puppy mills, where mobile spay/neuter clinics come and offer to spay and neuter. It’s for the animals, not for the people. The concept of low cost, or free, spay and neuter is a lot easier of a concept when it is related to the cat and dog world. We hope to help change that perception and make low cost gelding available to horse owners as well! This is a hard perspective for many horse owners, to put gelding in the same light as spay/neuter for cats and dogs. Professionals agree, it is just as important.
theHorse in May did an article on castration clinics for horses. Their article leads by saying: “Equine groups across the country are attempting to reduce the number of unwanted horses at the source, through subsidized castration clinics aimed to reduce the number of foals hitting the ground.” Click here to read the rest of the article. There are a lot of organizations out there that would like to offer gelding assistance programs, but the reality is, most horse people do not understand why they should support such programs.
Here is some of our experiences on why gelding clinics / programs are so necessary.
We see this scenario time after time at auctions. Someone gets a young colt. They think he is just adorable and would be a great pet for the kids. After a year or two, he starts showing stallion like behavior, which scares the family. He tries to mount their old mare and he is breaking down the fence to get to the neighbours horses. Not knowing what to do with him, they stick him in a small panel pen, and there he lives for a year or two. He has too many behavior issues, they are scared of him, and do not want to spend more money on an animal they cannot even pet. After awhile, they start trying to find a home for him, desperate for a solution. No one wants a stallion. One evening, the husband is at the bar with his friends, and makes up what he believes will be a great offer that will at least pay for the stallions food for a bit. One of his friends has a mare he wants to breed, and will pay the stallion owner $100 to breed his mare. The stallion owner is more than happy to get $100 out of the deal. The friend brings his mare over and another horse enters the world. It turns out the mare has a colt and the cycle starts all over again…
Frustrated, and not knowing what to do, they take the stallion to an auction. That is the only place that will take it. In the auction ring no one bids on him. The price drops very low. There is a rescue group there, but they are afraid to bid on him because they know they will not be able to find him a home with his behavior and they do not have the funds to geld him either. Soon the man with a huge out of state trailer buys him for just a few dollars. He sizes up the horse and knows he can make a few dollars off it. After the auction, he loads it up with all the other horses in the trailer, along with another stallion he purchased that day. As he pulls away from the auction, you can hear the fighting in the trailer, both stallions trying to claim and protect the mares. By the time the trailer stops, there will no doubt be blood all over. The man unloads the horses into a feedlot, to fatten them up and hold them until they are shipped to slaughter. At the feedlot there is already a stallion that is more than willing to defend his turf against the newcomers. The two new stallions and the stallion that was already there, spend most of their time fighting, injuring themselves and others, until they are crammed into yet a bigger trailer, where the fighting continues over the border to the slaughter house. If the stallions would have been gelded when they were a colt, and the people educated on how to properly care and train a young horse, he most likely would have never ended up in the slaughter pipeline.
Stallions on the whole are separated from other horses until breeding season when they are allowed to cover mares by breeders. In this poor stallions case, his neglectful owner did not want him to be with the mares, so he was locked in a 6×8 stall where he could barely turn around. He lived in horrible conditions for months at a time. If he had been a gelding, he would have lived out with the other horses and his quality of life would have been so much better. After he entered our rescue program, he was gelded and is now living in a lifetime sanctuary with other horses.
These are just a few scenarios of what we have come in contact with over the years. A gelding has a far better quality of life than a stallion does. A gelding is far less likely to end up in the slaughter pipeline than a stallion. A gelding cannot produce unwanted horses that will end up in the slaughter pipeline, a stallion can potentially produce thousands of horses. Just a simple procedure can result in saving thousands of horses the brutal trip to slaughter. Please help us make this years goal of 40 stallions gelded a success! Click here.
Last year, 20 stallions made their way to the clinic and left as geldings. This year, driving past their homes, it is nice to see that the mares are not pregnant. We can make the goal with your support, we still have a lot of funds in the matching grant. Your donation will be automatically doubled! Please help us help the horses.
Thank you for your support, both financially and emotionally. Constance W. and Scott C both donated to further our rescue efforts today, thank you so much!