Wild Horses Find Safe Haven in Private Horse Barns Under Ranchers' Care

(From Care for wild horses nationwide is costing taxpayers nearly $65m per year, The Independent Florida Alligator, September 4, 2013)

“A recent study co-researched by UF professor Madan Oli estimates that caring for wild horses could cost taxpayers about $1 billion by 2030.

Oli, a professor in the wildlife ecology and conservation department, was chosen by a national committee to study the issue. He said there are about 33,000 wild horses roaming the western U.S., and 45,000 more have been removed by the government.

“The law requires them to get rid of these horses,” Oli said. “But then the question is, what do you do with them?”

The law says the excess horses must be euthanized in “the most humane and cost-effective way possible,” he said. But because of public pressure, most of these horses go to long-term holding facilities owned by private ranchers.”

Caring for wild animals remains one of the government’s obligations to the environment, but this is something they can’t do on their own. As such, some of the wild horses that they round up are sent to private horse barns where the animals will be taken care of for the rest of their lives instead of getting euthanized. To control population numbers, horses may also be neutered or given contraceptives, although their current rate of reproduction in the country does not warrant such measures, at least not yet.

For now, much of the burden is placed on private ranchers who are typically well-equipped to meet all the needs of a horse. Food, water, shelter, roaming space, and healthcare facilities are standard features of custom horse barns, which also make the buildings attractive to individual horse-owners. Caring for horses is hardly simple as it sounds, however, since different breeds require different amounts of food, medicine, and exercise.

It takes a special kind of rancher to be able to meet the needs of both wild and domesticated horses in equal measure. But with them overseeing barn extensions and modular facilities, the animals are guaranteed to receive the proper care that they deserve. Although ordinary taxpayers would probably be burdened with $1 billion in horse care by 2030, at least they don’t have to do the actual work themselves. Besides, they’ll be doing their part in preserving the environment by making sure that even wild horses won’t have to be put down in the future.

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