"Horses Fall Victim to Hard Times and Dry Times on the Range"

"AZTEC, N.M. — The land is parched, the fields are withering and thousands of the nation’s horses are being left to fend for themselves on the dried range, abandoned by people who can no longer afford to feed them."

"They have been dropping dead in the Navajo reservation in the Southwest, where neighbors are battling neighbors and livestock for water, an inherently scant resource on tribal land. They have been found stumbling through state parks in Missouri, in backyards and along country roads in Illinois, and among ranch herds in Texas where they do not belong.

 Some are taken to rescue farms or foster homes — lifelines that are also buckling under the pressure of the nation’s worst drought in half a century, which has pushed the price of grain and hay needed to feed the animals beyond the reach of many families already struggling in the tight economy.

And still the drought rages on. The most recent federal assessment is that parts of at least 33 states, mostly in the West and the Midwest, are experiencing drought conditions that are severe or worse. It is affecting 87 percent of the land dedicated to growing corn, 63 percent of the land for hay and 72 percent of the land used for cattle."

Fernanda Santos reports for the New York Times August 18, 2012.


"Ranchers Lose Hope Drought Aid Will Come in Time" (AP)

Source: NY Times, 08/20/2012