Drought, High Hay Prices Impacting Horses

Horse owners see a bleak winter ahead. They're concerned about rising hay prices, as well as animal neglect and abandonment.

Both owners and animal rescue groups blame the drought, which
wiped out hay crops across the South and affected pasture land that
horses would normally graze through November.

Farmers say hay costs have risen from a few dollars for a square
bale to more than $7.50. They also say the price for a larger round
bale that sold for $20.00 to $30.00 has doubled. Transportation
costs also have gone up.

Cattle farmers also are facing a difficult winter because of hay
shortages, though they can more easily sell their livestock to
slaughter houses. That practice is banned for horses.

Also, while cattle can eat more types of feed, horse owners have
to be careful because their animals could die if they're given the
wrong feed or their feed is switched.


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  • by Ondine Location: Terrebonne on Nov 24, 2007 at 10:40 AM
    All horse owners will pay higher prices for hay due to the drought. Prices have been steadily rising so, as awful as it is, it is not unexpected. Horse slaughter is NOT banned, as the article says, however. American horses are being sent by the foreign-owned slaughter industry to be butchered in Mexico and Canada. The federal ban on horse slaughter, currently in Congress will stop this, though. Remember, over 90% of the American horses slaughtered are sound and healthy, according to the Dept. of Agriculture documents. They only died because the Belgian slaughter house owners want to make money off of their meat. They are laughing at us stupid Americans all the way to the bank! They even stoop so low as to get their lobbyists and supporters to put out false hysterical stories of huge numbers of abandoned horses that, when check out, prove false. Spin, spin, spin... Please go www.hsus.org and click on 'horses' to find out how you can help.
  • by Scott Location: Havelock on Nov 20, 2007 at 11:25 AM
    I have prepared for what I believe will become a price gouging situation by January. I remain loyal to a trusted supplier and don't price shop every time someone offers me a bale for 5 cents less. Anyone with an ounce of foresight could have bought hay. Those who wait will likely pay dearly for their bales. I truly hope that all those who worked so hard to close the horse slaughter facilities will do as much to handle the excess numbers of culls we will likely see. I realize it is a no win debate, and an emotional one. All I ask is the no kill folks use their own time and money to handle the monstrous costs we will see as we give horses status above all other livestock, that most of us eat. It is a sad end either way. I hope everone's horses winter well.
  • by Lynn Location: Havelock, NC on Nov 20, 2007 at 05:52 AM
    I own horses. I currently have them stabled at a wonderful barn, which saves me the worry of where to get my hay for the winter. I am assured the barn has plenty of hay for the winter. I am concerned about all the other animals that are not so fortunate. We should all pray that they are able to make it this year and pray for a good harvest next year.
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