The Minnesota Horse Welfare Coalition (MHWC) was developed in 2008 in response to the growing number of equine related humane cases in Minnesota (MN). MHWC includes the MN Horse Council, MN Animal Humane Society, equine rescues, University of MN, and MN Association of Equine Practitioners.
The Coalition's Gelding Project is made up of two programs that encourage horse owners to geld their stallions - "Education Earns Stallions to Geldings" and "Castration Clinics".
Education Earns Stallions to Geldings (or more simply, "The Gelding Project") encourages horse owners to geld stallions through education and financial incentives. Horse owners who enroll in the program can earn a voucher for a castration once they attend eight horse health and management education sessions. Session topics include general horse care, reproduction, nutrition, facilities/manure management, equine dentistry, vaccinations and de-worming, horse behavior, and unwanted horse or volunteering two hours at a MN horse rescue. Stallions must be halter broke and have two descended testicles. The voucher covers the cost of castration, anesthesia, post operative antibiotic and tetanus prophylaxis. The MN Horse Council reimburses participating veterinarian for the service. Participants must be 18 years old and a MN resident.
The second aspect of the program is a series of free equine Castration Clinics, the first of which was held in September of 2009. To be eligible, horse owners must be referred by a horse rescue, humane agent or veterinarian based on an economic hardship. Castrations are performed by veterinary students under supervision by licensed veterinarians.
At the first castration clinic, 18 stallions were castrated; including three Pintos, three Quarter horses, four miniature horses, two miniature donkeys, four Arabians, one Shetland pony, and one Peruvian Paso. The stallions ranged in age from four months to 19 years old. The horse owner demographics were 82% female, 75% 40 years old or older, 82% owned six or more horses and 27% operated boarding stables. Forty-five percent of participants stated they would not have castrated their stallions without the clinic, and 63% still had stallions on their property which had resulted in both intentional and accidental breedings.
K. Martinson, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
J. Wilson, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
T. Turner, Minnesota Horse Council, St. Paul, MN, USA
B. Colombo, Minnesota Animal Humane Society, Golden Valley, MN, USA
C. McKenzie, Sundown Horse Shelter, Hugo, MN, USA
D. Fitzpatrick, Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue, Zimmerman, MN, USA