Good horse welfare should be a given. Unfortunately, some people acquire horses or ponies without having the necessary prerequisites to care for and nurture them. Therefore, it's crucial to think carefully if one is considering getting a horse. One thing is the acquisition of the horse itself, another is the responsibility that comes with taking good care of it. This article delves into the importance of thorough consideration when thinking about getting a four-legged friend.
On March 8, 2013, Last Stop Horse Rescue received the neglected 4-year-old stallion, Benny. The poor horse was emaciated and near death, but thanks to Last Stop Horse Rescue, Benny got a new lease on life.
When Benny arrived at Last Stop Horse Rescue, he weighed just over 250 kg. For a long time, the starved stallion was so weak that he couldn't stand or walk on his own. Fortunately, his rescuers didn't give up, even when things looked bleak.
With utmost care and thorough nurturing, Last Stop Horse Rescue devised a proper feeding plan and placed the frail horse in a sling to help him recover. Their efforts paid off! After 12 days of intensive care, Benny finally gathered enough strength to try standing upright on his own.
After wobbling on unsteady legs for several weeks, Benny began to find his balance. A month later, he could finally roam freely in the pasture without any issues. It took two long months of loving care and proper feeding before Benny started to look like a horse again. Today, he is a healthy and lively boy.
Benny's story is undoubtedly extreme, but sadly not unique. Not everyone realizes that when you buy a horse—or any animal for that matter—you're also buying responsibility. This responsibility entails doing everything possible to ensure the animal's well-being, whether it's about food, care, visits from the farrier, veterinarian, or anything else. If finances, time, or other circumstances prevent one from providing proper care, one should never hesitate to seek help.
Acquiring a horse can somewhat be compared to having a child. Neither the horse nor the child chooses who will care for them, but those who decide to have them undoubtedly also make a choice to care for them.
According to the Animal Welfare Act, horses must be "treated responsibly and protected as much as possible from pain, suffering, fear, permanent harm, and significant inconvenience." This is further elaborated as: "Anyone who keeps horses must ensure that they are treated with care, including housing, feeding, watering, and care, taking into account their physiological, behavioral, and health needs in accordance with recognized practical and scientific experiences."
It's vitally important to consider whether one has the necessary prerequisites before getting an animal. Perhaps one loves these four-legged creatures and often has the best intentions when buying an animal. However, good intentions are not enough if the means aren't there. If money is tight or time is limited, isn't one a true animal lover if they recognize this and decide to wait before getting an animal? In other words, there are multiple ways to be a good animal lover, and a genuine animal lover can wait. This is something we must remind each other of. It can be used as an argument when confronting someone who is about to get an animal without thoroughly thinking it through.
Sources: Retsinformation: Announcement of the Animal Welfare Act (2014)