Castration Clinics Snip Away at Unwanted Horse Population

Equine groups across the country are attempting to reduce the number of unwanted horses at the source, through subsidized castration clinics aimed to reduce the number of foals hitting the ground.

Stallion to Gelding Support is a national program designed by the Horse Protection Society of North Carolina. The program has been offering vouchers for free castrations since February. Owners must submit an application and be approved for a voucher, which can be used anywhere in the United States.

Director Susan Lurz said the economy has been the main catalyst for the program.

According to Lurz, 32 stallions have been gelded, or approved for gelding, through the program. Based on the number of times those stallions reproduced last year, 126 births have been prevented.

"This program is the future," Lurz said. "We cannot continue to let our rescues be inundated with horses that have been neglected or are in poor health as a result of poor breeding practices."

Tawnee Presiner, founder of NorCal Equine Rescue in Oroville, Calif., agrees that castration is key to solving the unwanted horse problem.

"If a horse (that is not stallion quality) is gelded, he has a much better chance at a good life," she said. "There's so many times we're at auctions and see stallions go through that nobody wants."

The NorCal program has so far subsidized castrations for 20 area stallions. One owner used the program to geld six of her stallions.

The Minnesota Horse Council is offering a program that aims to not only castrate stallions, but educate owners.

"We followed the lead of the Unwanted Horse Coalition: through education and teaching people to 'own responsibly,' we can reduce the number of unwanted horses," said Tracy A. Turner, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, chairman of the Minnesota Horse Council's Unwanted Horse Committee.

To obtain a gelding voucher, owners must attend eight horse husbandry seminars, designed to give the average owner a basic understanding of responsible horse care.

For more information on Minnesota's gelding project contact Krishona Martinson at 612/625-6776, or Julie Wilson, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM at 612/625-3745.

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Liz Brown

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