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Estimating the Availability of Potential Homes for Unwanted Horses in the United States

By Emily Weiss, Emily D Dolan, Heather Mohan-Gibbons, Shannon Gramann, Margaret R Slater

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There are approximately 200,000 unwanted horses annually in the United States. This study aimed to better understand the potential homes for horses that need to be re-homed. Using an independent survey company through an Omnibus telephone (land and cell) survey, we interviewed a nationally projectable sample of 3036 adults (using both landline and cellular phone numbers) to learn of their interest and capacity to adopt a horse. Potential adopters with interest in horses with medical and/or behavioral problems and self-assessed perceived capacity to adopt, constituted 0.92% of the total sample. Extrapolating the results of this survey using U.S. Census data, suggests there could be an estimated 1.25 million households who have both the self-reported and perceived resources and desire to house an unwanted horse. This number exceeds the estimated number of unwanted horses living each year in the United States. This study points to opportunities and need to increase communication and support between individuals and organizations that have unwanted horses to facilitate re-homing with people in their community willing to adopt them.


Spencer CW Au

Date 2017
Publication Title Animals
Volume 7
Issue 7
Pages 9
Publisher MDPI AG
Location of Publication Basel, Switzerland
DOI 10.3390/ani7070053
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adoption
  2. Animal housing
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Horses
  5. Mammals
  6. rescue
  7. slaughter