There was a time, before the automobile, when equines were essential to our nation's prosperity and development. Humans depended on horses, ponies, donkeys and mules far more than they depended on us, yet no one was looking out for their welfare. The creation of the ASPCA in 1866 sought to remedy that, and we've been advocating for equines ever since.
Today, many Americans have never had the opportunity to interact with an equine—but while these noble animals may be out of sight for some, they are never "out of mind" for us. We are proud of our roots and successes, and regard the horse not only as an extremely intelligent, sensitive animal, but as an American icon.
Whether your home is a 50-acre farm or a 50th-floor apartment, here are our top ways you can help equines!
Be Their Voice
The best way to help horses is to be their voice in our nation's courts and halls of power. Make sure you are registered to vote, and actively support legislation that protects and preserves populations and living standards of equines both domestic and wild. At the ASPCA, we are doing our best to make it easy for you to participate in the legal process by posting timely information and action alerts in our Online Advocacy Center. Sign up today to receive targeted, location-based alerts that inform you how you can help America's horses. It's easy, it's free and it's important!
Protect the American Wild Horse
The ASPCA recognizes that America's wild horses and burros occupy a special place in our history and deserve to be protected. Please support federal and local legislation by writing emails, letters or postcards to your representatives. Sign up today to receive alerts that inform you how you can help America's wild equines.
Lead by Example
If you care about horses, make your actions consistent with your words—they speak just as loudly! Don't support or attend cruel activities, including "soring", high-diving horses and rodeo events. These activities do not promote respect for animals.
Be an Informed Consumer
Your spending dollar is a weapon—use it wisely! Some products, like the drug Premarin, are created through the suffering of horses. Premarin is a hormone-replacement drug prescribed to thousands of American women every year. The "magic ingredient" in Premarin is the urine of pregnant mares. Read more about Premarin horses here.
Adopt a Horse!
An estimated 100,000 American horses are slaughtered for human consumption each year. Currently there is no horse slaughter in the United States, but our horses are transported to facilities in Mexico and Canada, in a terrifying, cruel final ride. Most of these horses are healthy; beautiful former pets, race horses, carriage horses or formerly free mustangs. Please visit www.homesforhorses.org for horse rescue organizations in your area.
Two are Better than One!
If you are lucky enough to have an equine, you already know the importance of maintaining his or her health through regular veterinary care. But did you know that that equines are very social animals, and that their emotional well-being is a big factor in their overall health? Behaviorists recommend having at least two—horses, burros, donkeys and goats make the very best of friends.
Be an Ambassador for Equines
Not everyone is aware of the miserable lives of race horses, the inhumane practice of horse slaughter, or where Premarin comes from. You can help expand awareness by engaging friends, family, classmates, riding instructors and others in a discussion.
Support the ASPCA Equine Fund
The ASPCA Equine Fund awards substantial grants to organizations that make life better for horses. Organizations involved in horse protection and rescue can apply for one of these grants online at www.aspcapro.org. In 2010, we hope to distribute at least three-quarters of a million dollars through the Equine Grants program.
Volunteer Your Time
As anyone involved in an equine rescue group can tell you, there's no gift more valuable than time. Find a local group with a mission you believe in, and volunteer. Helping equines doesn't have to mean manual labor in a barn. Talk to the group about how you can apply your special talents to its cause. Maybe they need a graphic designer to whip up a new logo, a writer to help publish a newsletter or someone handy to make minor repairs-You get the idea!
Report Equine Cruelty
If you witness an act of cruelty or neglect involving a horse or other equine, don't keep it to yourself. Any abuse shown to this animal can be an indicator of cruelty to other species—including humans. If you're not sure whom to contact, please read our Report Animal Cruelty page as a first step.
Be Prepared in Case of Disaster Every horse should accept being caught, haltered, led and loaded on a trailer—this could save his life. You may also want to set up an emergency phone tree with other horse owners nearby. A communication plan will prove invaluable if you, or they, need to evacuate animals or share resources like trailers and pastures. Read more on equine disaster preparedness.
Plan Ahead For Your Horse's Care
Changes in your health, your horse's health or your financial situation are just a few of the reasons why you might need to find a new home for your horse one day. It's a good idea to research your options ahead of time. You also should think about providing for your horse with a pet trust and let your loved ones and family know what has been done to ensure a happy, healthy future for your horse.