Horses immediately spring to mind when you think of Texas, long famous the world over for being a cowboy state. With this in mind, NFA was shocked to discover that Houston, the richest city in Texas, has one of the biggest stray horse populations in the USA. The north-west side of the city is particularly notorious for this problem. These horses are nearly always emaciated, with severe health issues. In some cases they have been dumped on a neighbourhood street and left to die. The “lucky” ones like the two in the picture above, who were found neglected and covered in lice, have a chance of survival.
The idea of a “stray” horse will be difficult for many people to comprehend. The thought of someone dumping a dying horse on the street is even more unfathomable. But it’s rife in Houston. Why on earth is this happening?
One of the reasons is that every three months, a series of rodeos and parades come to Houston and surrounding areas. Many people want to get involved, and look into acquiring a horse. This is very often done by any means possible. This may mean buying one for next to nothing at an auction, or even stealing one. But because most people have nowhere to keep a horse, mares and stallions are often found tied to trees or fences for weeks at a time with no food. Unbelievably, some owners then return and try to ride these poor animals. When the horse inevitably collapses, due to malnutrition, dehydration and exhaustion, these “owners’ leave the horse where it fell.
Rodeos aren’t the only reason horses are bought, then left to die. It seems that some people in Houston feel that owning a horse is just something they should do because of Texas’ cowboy heritage. But they just can’t afford to look after it, nor do they have the space to home one. NFA discussed the issue of dead or dying horses being found dumped on the street, with Jennifer Troxell, who works for Houston Humane Society. She explained;
” We think it’s because the owner knew the horse was going to pass soon, and didn’t want to have that financial obligation to take care of it when the time came to properly dispose of the body. I think some people think you have to have a horse if you live in a cowboy state. But the truth is, there just aren’t very many areas in Houston that are rural enough to have a horse. People think it’s a good idea to buy a horse at an auction for $100 not realizing how much they eat or the room and exercise they require. Not to mention the vet bills associated with a large animal. It’s a horrible situation and something we will most likely be dealing with for some time.”
Some people are using this tragic situation, which is entirely due to abhorrent human behaviour, to suggest that horse slaughtering should be brought back. Something which