What Does Trump Administration Mean for Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   27th Nov 2016   •   905 views   •   0 comments

In trying to think of a lead-in for this article, I could only think of one word... Ugh. The events of the past while are enough to make me want to drown it out by dowsing my pancakes and back bacon in a liter of maple syrup and sleeping it all away in a fat and sugar-induced stupor. But, no matter how you voted, or what your opinion, you have to ask, what does this mean for horses and horse owners? It would be a fair question regardless of who you voted on, or where your sympathies lie.

Wild Horses
I think itís reasonable to say that under the pre-election administration the fate of the wild horse herd was a difficult issue. The BLM was trying to find a cost-effective way to control herds and appease ranchers. Interest groups were trying to impede them, either claiming they needed no control, or that the methods tried were inadequate or inhumane. Is there potential for a positive change when the administration changes hands in January? The party that won made no mention of animal welfare during the lead up to the election. That may not be a bad sign. But more worrying is that there are no animal advocates within the government on the horizon. Quite the opposite in fact.

Amongst those in line for key positions are keen trophy hunters, factory farming advocates, anti-animal rights promoters, and those who staunchly supported horse slaughter and argued against the legislations that brought it to an end in the U.S. Activists are very concerned that the deck will be so stacked against animal rights, that horse slaughter will be allowed to resume in the United States. Back in September, the BLM recommended that horses rounded up off the range be killed. That could seal the fate of the approximately 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities.

Our Own Horses
So itís likely bad news for Mustangs, but what about our own horses? If the slaughter laws are repealed, itís possible that the price of horses will bump up slightly. While $10,000+ horses will not likely be affected, the lower priced horses that most of us can afford could become a bit more expensive. Those horses now in Ďlimboí will be worth something by the pound, setting the base price for the average riding horse. That might be perceived as a bad thing since you might have to save up a bit more before buying a horse. Or, it might be perceived as a good thing, since it could put horses out of reach of those who really canít afford them in the first place. Also on the negative would be people inclined to breed horses, knowing there will be some sort of market for them no matter what.

One issue that could easily go by the wayside is soring. There were several people within the pre-election administration who championed the cause of legislation to end soring. Now, with those who are less likely to be sympathetic to any animal right cause in power, any work to halt this horrific practice could end.

Of course, how the economy fares will affect us all, horse owners or not. Horses are a luxury, and that means if the economy takes a dive, luxuries are the first place families cut back. At this writing, so far so good. Letís hope that holds. But, just because the economy is grinding along smoothly, doesnít mean that those who arenít sympathetic to animals, and specifically for us, horse issues, will suddenly become so.

What to Do
I in no way want to turn this into any sort of a political debate. Thereís enough mud slinging on social media and political sites. And, while it may pass the time, and provide some smug instant gratification, it doesnít get things done. As animal lovers, no matter what our political leanings, I think itís important to let our politicians know exactly what we feel about animal rights. We have to pay attention to whatís going on, and speak up when what is happening doesnít align with what we believe is right. If we donít think the issues of soring and slaughter should be ignored, we have to make noise. This means writing a letter, sending an email or calling the appropriate government official. It might mean peacefully holding a sign at a demonstration, or donating money to an animal defense organization. When you feel something is unjust, do something. I often remember the words of British statesmen Edmund Burke, ďAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.Ē
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