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Utopia Talk / Politics / Climate change kills the horses!
Mon Dec 02 10:21:57

Climate change is making horses fat as it's causing an abundance of grass to grow, top vet warns

Horses should be moved into bare paddocks, vets have said, because an abundance of grass caused by climate change is making them fat.

Gillies Moffat, director of a veterinary centre in Hythe, Hampshire, said the wetter and warmer climate has meant the animal's staple food has grown more rapidly than in the past.

The vet warned a "significant" percentage of horses he treats are overweight because of a range of modern "socioeconomic pressures" including climate change.

It comes after the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) found in a study of 792 horses last year that 31 per cent were overweight, with vets citing a lack of facilities such as stables and bare paddocks (48 per cent) as reasons.

Their report's top recommendation to reducing their animal's weight was keeping horses in bare paddocks and giving them a weighted food diet.

Mr Moffat believes as a result of the pressures horse owners are struggling to control their animals' weight, leading to a number of painful physical conditions.

He said: "A significant percentage of the horses we see are overweight. It is partly a reflection on socioeconomic pressures.

"Owners are working longer hours so find regularly exercising their horses hard to do.

"Also, the term 'good show condition' has historically and subconsciously implied a more 'rounded' horse rather than a fit well muscled horse.

"Warmer and wetter climates also mean greater grass availability.

"This makes it more difficult for owners to recognise the importance of feed quantities and qualities for their horses in the 'battle' to manage weight.."

Impacts of global warming include warmer temperatures which has a knock-on affect to agriculture.

Mr Moffat said: "Warmer and wetter climates also mean greater grass availability.

"This makes it more difficult for owners to recognise the importance of feed quantities and qualities for their horses in the 'battle' to manage weight."

The Met Office says alongside warmer average temperatures, the amount of rainfall from extremely wet days has increased by 17 per cent since 1961.

Equine nutritionist Clare MacLeod urged owners to keep monitoring and assessing their animals.

She said: "They should measure, record and adjust the diet accordingly, rather than being influenced to make changes due to season, friends and marketing."
Mon Dec 02 10:47:10
Can’t they just employ someone to cut the grass? Or if they get more horses then there would be more horses to eat the grass and then no horse would get overweight. More horses should also mean a higher profit.
Mon Dec 02 11:37:42
Sort of why Florida is the biggest beef producing state in the USA. Everyone says Texas but in Florida they say how many head per acre. In Texas they say how many acres per head.
Mon Dec 02 12:40:58
Texas is approximately 5 times larger in land mass than Florida. Per acre Texas is the largest and produces 5.09 times Florida. Pretty much a toss up per land mass. Agriculture land used for cattle is the key to confusion.

deja vu

A little trivia: South Dakota has more than 4 times as many cattle as they do people.
Mon Dec 02 12:41:28
forgot the link. :)

Mon Dec 02 15:48:24
More horses doesn't really translate to higher profit. Horses are being replaced on ranches by quads when it comes time to work cattle. There is still money to be made breeding top horses for racing, cutting and rodeo but the working horse is fading away. My statement is US-centric but I am guessing the same is happening in other countries.

Part of the numbers for cattle has to do with farmland in the area. Most cattle are at some point and time fed in lots. Those lots are located near where grains are grown. Cheaper to keep the cattle near the food rather than shipping food to the cattle. Texas has a bunch of very large feedlots.
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