Horses are classified as livestock and I want to explain why it’s important for them to stay that way. There’s lots of talk about the definition of companion animals or pets, and many feel the domestic horse should be recognized as a pet. I have a different take on this and here’s why.
There are companion animal laws in place, and to make my argument I’ll use the one law all dog and cat owners can relate to. Today, because of companion animal laws it has become mandatory to pay for an exam at the veterinary hospital before your pet is treated for anything, including routine vaccines. This is an extra $40 -$60 charge on top of the fee for the vaccines. I understand that this mandatory law had good intentions to protect pets from disease, but the truth is, it’s made veterinary care so expensive many people can’t afford a trip to the vet at all! Let’s not overlook the fact that veterinary hospitals make the majority of their money from vaccines…. which cost about $3 bucks each wholesale. Just thought I’d throw that in. So this law is better for… who?
How Companion Laws Could Affect Horse Owners
As a horse owner, I’m quite aware of the high cost of equine veterinary care. If horses are brought into the companion animal sector it would be a financial nightmare to horse owners. This could mean mandatory spendy routine exams by a veterinarian for vaccines. If that doesn’t sound so bad then allow me to remind you that the average horse gets vaccines two to three times per year. Performance horses, sport horses, or those in frequent transport are often vaccinated every eight weeks. The average cost of a farm call is $55, plus an exam, plus vaccines, and that all adds up to what only a few have… BIG BUCKS.
Companion animal laws state that no animal parts can be removed by anyone other than a veterinarian. Sounds acceptable, until a farm doc recently told me that could include trimming a horse’s feet for shoeing. It could mean that all shoers would have to be certified or have a veterinarian present for shoeing. Well that would mean the price of shoeing a horse would be so expensive that horses would not get proper care, and farriers would have a hard time making a living.
Maybe the rich or big shot show barns can afford to pay these expenses, but recreational horseman can’t… and probably won’t. So I’m wondering how companion animal laws benefit animals if their level of government controlled care is too expensive for owners to abide by.
Always check your voters ballot for new laws that boast to protect animals… read the fine print. Not all laws for animals are better.
amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch