Unwanted Horses Overrunning State

By: Jon Sonnheim Email
By: Jon Sonnheim Email

Kentucky is well known for the Derby and its thoroughbred horses, but officials say thousands of unwanted horses are overrunning the state. Many horse farmers say it's now nearly impossible to make a living.

There are about 15 Rocky Mountain horses roaming around Forrest Bryant's farm these days.

"15, 20 years ago, they'd sell for five or six thousand a piece. Now, get $1,500 out of one," Bryant said.

That's a sign of the times, if you ask Bryant horses remain a hobby for him, but others in a now overpopulated industry are simply running out of options.

"They'd have to have something else besides the horses, it'd be impossible," Bryant said.

Officials point to a public backlash against slaughterhouses for the overpopulation. Instead of taking horses there, they say some owners are just letting them starve, or turning them loose in the countryside leaving many who care for their horses, like Bryant, wondering if the slaughterhouses just might be the best solution.

"What you gonna do with half million horses that's unusable. What you going to do with them," Bryant said.

This story unfortunately doesn't end with someone riding off into the sunset.

"I've got no answers," he said.

No answers, just more horses that no one knows what to do with.

Anti-slaughter groups hope the overpopulation will sort itself out by forcing owners to breed their horses less often, thereby creating fewer unwanted horses.


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