In the past few weeks, I have noted with great sadness the increase in ads for “free horses” in the classifieds. This probably is because of the current hay shortage and associated stupendous rise in hay prices. From the descriptions given in the ads, most of these horses would seem to be old, not very well broke, crippled or in some way not truly “usable” and therefore best described as “pasture ornaments,” i.e., horses no one wants or can afford to keep.
When considering what to do with such an animal, please factor into your decision-making process that it is likely these horses will not go to good homes but instead to slaughter in Mexico. They will die horrible, terrifying deaths after a horrible, cruel, multiday transport, likely without food or water, jammed into an over-crowded truck. Please consider that your moral obligation to these animals is not to close your eyes to this possibility and just hope for the best. Our moral obligation to the animals we choose to bring into our lives extends to the end of their lives and often involves the extremely difficult, but responsible, decision to employ humane euthanasia.