by Jesse Bussard
Equine.com seems to think so with the announcement of their latest campaign “A Home For Every Horse.” Equine.com, a part of The Equine Network, has joined forces with the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition to help find homes for the nearly 170,000 horses in need of a home. Organizations such as Purina Mills and Tractor Supply Company have also signed on to help promote the effort.
The idea behind the campaign is to encourage horse rescues with current 501(c)(3) status to advertise their organizations and horses on the Equine.com website. They are doing this by allowing unlimited ads for rescue horses and also advertisements for rescue organizations through service ads. Through this effort The Equine Network hopes to increase adoptions of rescue horses across the country through their connection to over 1.5 million horse owners each month through print and online avenues.
Another effort from a broad-based group of Thoroughbred industry stakeholders is also showing promise here in my state of Kentucky. The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) has been formed to serve as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds retiring from racing careers and also as a vehicle to raise funds to support these facilities.
The initiative got its start from seed money donated by the Breeders’ Cup, The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association. Along with these prominent organizations, the TAA includes supporters from across the horse racing industry. TAA board president and Thoroughbred owner Jack Wolf stated, “It is our responsibility as owners, tracks, breeders, trainers, jockeys, bloodstock agents, and anyone who has a stake in the game to take responsibility for the aftercare of these great animals who are the keystone of our sport.” TAA’s ultimate goal is to be an industry-wide, annually funded program committed to the placement or second-career retraining of retired Thoroughbreds on a national scale.
Will these efforts work? It’s hard to say. But they certainly can’t hurt. It’s refreshing to see industry groups pulling their resources together to help end the plight of unwanted horses. Wolf’s statement that it is our responsibility as stakeholders to take responsibility for the aftercare of these animals is so true. With the issue of unwanted horses, it will take proactive measures such as these to make a difference.
Many in the horse industry believe bringing back horse slaughter would be a quick fix for this issue. The reality is though, at the moment it’s not an option and most likely won’t be again anytime soon, if ever. We can lobby, protest, and state the million and one reasons we think it would help the unwanted horse issue but in the end that does nothing to solve the problem.
Like my mother always said, “Wish in one hand, spit in the other, and see which one fills up faster.” So let’s stop sitting around, hoping, wishing, and reacting to the issue and do something proactive about it. Only by taking responsibility for the problem that we have created in the horse industry will we ever be able to solve it.