By SHIRLEY PUGA, Executive Director
National Equine Resource Network
ENCINITAS, CA – The National Equine Resource Network’s (NERN) low-cost gelding clinic program launched earlier this year in California has already reduced the future equine population in the state by as many as 395 horses.
To date, NERN has held 7 low cost gelding clinics in partnership with local veterinarians and other non profit equine welfare organizations, in the horse-rich communities of Salinas, Cottonwood, and Oakdale, among others.
Shirley Puga, NERN Founder, said her organization initiated the gelding program as an effective and proactive tool to reduce the neglect, abandonment and sale for slaughter of horses across the country who are suffering from the economy, right along with their owners.
Since the average privately owned stallion will sire approximately 5 foals in its lifetime, the 79 horses gelded by the low cost NERN clinics has potentially reduced the burden of 395 new horses on the market.
NERN has several more clinics planned for the Fall in horse communities such as Ramona and Norco. By year-end, NERN should exceed its 2011 goal of creating 100 new geldings and reducing future population by 500 new horses.
“We are creating a template that can be used by local equine veterinarians, equine rescuers and other advocates,” Puga said. She commented that the program in California is designed as a model that can easily be used anywhere in the country. NERN wants to make the low cost gelding clinic model available to all interested parties, along with the necessary seed money to implement local programs.
A leading equine sanctuary in WA State has already committed to holding one of the first out of state clinics next year, and it is hoped that many more will follow suit as the final model becomes available.
“Although the so-called ‘backyard breeders’ contribute only a small part to our country’s excess horses, it is hoped by showing a major reduction in this area, commercial breeders will also take more responsibility for the over population by practicing more responsible breeding and not depending upon equine slaughter to deal with their living by-product,” Puga said.
An interesting additional benefit of these clinics is that they have provided valuable hands-on experience for numerous vet students and interns. Shirley extends her gratitude to the veterinary community for contributing their expert services at greatly reduced rates, to responsible, yet financially challenged horse owners.
NERN brings horse owners, equine welfare organizations, and veterinary professionals together to make them all part of the solution to the excess horse problem.
To help NERN continue to expand the gelding clinics and other proactive programs, please visit the website at http://www.nationalequine.org to make a tax deductible donation.
Source: Press Release