The American Agriculturist reports hay could reach $400 to $500 a ton. For those who don't get it, that's double the average price!
The drought has taken over more than half the United States. Where I am in the Northeast, most farmers got a nice first cutting of hay in late May or early June. If, big if, we get at least a moderate amount of rain in the next six to eight weeks, most farmers should be able to swing a second cutting.
Parts of the Midwest, Southwest and West have seen so little rain that the horses out there have had little grazing, and hay production is way down. Grain costs will rise dramatically this fall. Throw in the massive fires out West and it is clear that there will be a hay and grain shortage.
Farmers and ranchers are already planning major sell offs of cattle as they face shortages of food for the winter months ahead.? A group of horse owners in New Mexico support the opening of a slaughterhouse. Not because they want to eat horsemeat, but because rescue groups are already overwhelmed. There will be more voices for humane horse slaughter plants as horses face starvation across much of the U.S.
Humane slaughter certainly isn?t the fate you want for your beloved horse, but neither is starvation and abandonment.? My proposal: Equine Food Pantries on a nationwide scale.? We can model them after human food pantries. It may be impossible for us to feed all the horses from drought and fire areas, but if we work together we can save at least some of those horses. Isn?t it worth a try'
We've set up a dedicated email address for this event: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer a phone, please call Horse Journal at 315-468-0627. Leave a message (like you, we pretty much live in the barn). Now, let's save some horses!
Article by Contributing Veterinary Editor Deb Eldredge, DVM