A US initiative to stem the flow of breeding lesser quality horses by funding castration clinics has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) Operation Gelding program, now in its fourth year, has assisted in castrating 939 stallions at 79 clinics in 32 states. In the past year, Operation Gelding has been responsible for castrating 181 horses in 16 clinics across the country.
The initiative is one of several supported by the UHC, which had its annual meeting on Monday, June 23, during the American Horse Council’s National Convention and Issues Forum. At the meeting, attendees heard presentations by several member organizations, as well as from Janine Jacques, founder of the Equine Rescue Network, who explained how her program uses a combination of microchips and social media to track down and locate abandoned, neglected, lost, stolen, or otherwise “unwanted” horses.
Operation Gelding is able to continue thanks to the support and seed money provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation, Zoetis, and the UHC. Proceeds from the sale of Dr Jennifer Williams’ book, How to Start and Run a Rescue, also help fund the Operation Gelding program. And $10 from the sales from Ellen Harvey’s book, Standardbred Old Friends, will also benefit Operation Gelding. Books can be purchased via the UHC website.
Operation Gelding offers funding assistance to organizations and associations that wish to conduct a public gelding clinic under the name and guidelines of Operation Gelding. An organization that has completed an Operation Gelding clinic will receive funding of $50 per horse, $1000 maximum, to aid in the costs associated with the clinic.
Following the presentations, the group discussed ideas for new UHC initiatives, including an educational campaign and providing materials promoting the benefits of castration/spaying non-breeding quality horses, and creating a webinars sub-committee.