Climate change is making horses fat

From The Telegraph

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

Brendan McFadden

29 November 2019 • 4:39pm

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.

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

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.

Full article here.

HT/shrnfr

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85 thoughts on “Climate change is making horses fat

  1. Horse schist!
    Last year, when we had a dry June and July (due to climate change) the complaint was that we didn’t have enough grass, crops were decimated etc.
    When you consider that the Telegraph is about as sensible as a British newspaper gets on climate change, but they still publish this load of manure, it tells you just how abysmally low the rest of the British media have fallen on this subject.

    • OK, I’m IN the horse business in the NE USA and there is NO doubt what’s making horses too fat is the EXACT same types of refined carbohydrates, legume and industrial seed oils that are making HUMANS fat: Soy and wheat in the manufactured (pelleted or extruded) feeds, soaked in soybean oil and laced with molasses (sugar). NONE of these items are foodstuffs a horse could forage on in nature. But they sure are cheap! And if you print pretty pictures on the bag, lots of people will buy it and feed way too much (most horses at the “maintenance” level of work, all “backyard pets” or recreational riding need nothing but hay, no “feed” at all). BTW, the more of this junk you feed, the more you HAVE to feed. Works just like Doritos, with similar results! 😉

      I have seen horses stand there licking the dirt after these “feed” pellets were gone for up to an hour–it’s THAT addictive–while ignoring the most beautiful hay or pasture imaginable. Every single vet on earth knows the quickest way to fatten food animals is grains, veg. oils, sugars and soybeans, which are also endocrine disruptors forcing the storage of even MORE fat. “But-but-but, Dobbin LIKES IT!”
      Then all these nice owners buy “supplements” they think the horse “needs” for some non-existent woo-woo “problem” made up by an ad agency, and load crap like turmeric, paprika, blue-green algae and “glucosamine” in his food besides.

      It ain’t the GRASS, pilgrim, and for those of us managing pasture, ample rainfall is God’s greatest gift!
      If this be Global Warming, please kindly give me MORE of it! That said, a very small subset of horses, usually small ponies, Morgans, and some drafties who have known metabolic issues cannot be allowed free access to rich pastures; but that hasn’t changed in HUNDREDS of years and is a minor point of knowledgeable management.

      Article is fake news.

      • I concur. I grew up on the back of a horse, ran a stable while I was in college and the vet I would call for anything said that all horses need is clean oats, some cracked corn in the winter, and good quality hay, a mixture of clover and timothy with the addition a couple times a week of alfalfa hay.

        I never had a horse founder or look like its belly was hanging down around its knees – EVER.

      • agree my now sadly missed fella Dougie and one sheep cleaned my 3 acres very well, missing them more every day I haveto go linetrim or slash excellent grass going to waste;-( mixed wild pastures up to 3ft high now theyre not here, and the odd clump of clover from the autumn no feed bought in bales.
        and this is pretty much a dry winter spring but even so the grasses are butt high in my yard,
        on roadside someplaces are easily 5ft+

        breaks my heart when so many animals are starrving all over aus at the present time.

        betcha that vet…sells DIET food for horses as a lucrative sideline!
        and you mightnt have time to ride but lunging a few days a week isnt that hard if you care enough tohave a pet horse then thats part of the deal.

    • For sure , u r what u eat .
      Fat horse caused by climate change .
      Gimmee a break
      Don’t see many skinny refugees or indigenous people today either .
      The climate refugees and suppressed indigenous are fat due to climate change
      Give somebody a grant and they will study it .

    • Pete Fox of Defra when questioned by Evan Davis BBC PM about chalk streams in the UK drying up. Fox said the UK has just had three years of drought – codswallop – but since that expression of stupidity it has rained every single day so someone was listening, creepy. Didn’t know Al Gore had ascended?

  2. This is great news for livestock owners, as increasing CO2 reduces the need for processed, less healthy feeds and saving them a great deal of money.

    The upside of increasing atmospheric CO2 is phenomenal! Is there no end to the good news? Others no end to the pathological, whiney, victimhood of the media?

    (Rescued from the spam bin) SUNMOD

    • Land use stats show how humans are destroying everything including the faith in consensus. /brad-arc

      Travel by sailboat. And remember: we’re only here because publicly listed oil companies used a couple of hundred million monies on us. We deny the climate, we don’t trust in the scientific hockey stick model one Greenland glacier (or one Statue of Liberty) of sea level rise, up to 10 degrees warming, end of snow, chocolate and hops, 100 million climate refugees, and dead kittens and polar bear pups. We work for the evil oil companies, and don’t heed the warnings of the General-Secretary of the WMO Petteri Taalas who said ‘Climate experts have been attacked by these people’.

  3. Well, keep them out of an alfalfa or pure clover field for sure, or they will founder and that has always been the case. Horses are fatter these days because the most of them aren’t used anymore much, except maybe some get ridden on weekends and no one uses draft horses much anymore. And people look after animals much better than they did in years gone by, feeding them grain when they aren’t burning off those high calories. Nobody from the animal rights movement will report a fat horse but they sure will report a skinny one. It is a good thing that the grass is growing better due to CO2, as are the forests of the world and everything else on the good Earth. The biosphere is reaching an optimum and the alarmists are calling it an emergency. I don’t think they know what a climate emergency is, which is usually a cold spell where things don’t grow as well.

  4. The article seems like a reasonable reminder to horse owners that they should monitor their horse’s diet and exercise to help maintain animal health. That rainfall from “extremely wet days” has increased somewhat over the past 60 years shouldn’t be a big deal. It means you’ll probably have to cut the grass more often as part of routine paddock maintenance. But I guess wedging “climate change” into any written work is almost required now to attract attention.

  5. Higher sugar grass makes horses hotter and more muscular if they are allowed to run and play, from my experience (I presently own 3 quarter horses and 2 donkeys).
    If I have any more grass from global warming, I can’t identify it. The growing seasons here around the Mississippi/Illinois confluence haven’t really changed that much since when I became a teenager in the ’60s. This year was about the shortest grass and Alfalfa hay season in recent memory. (You keep close track of those things when it determines the price of your hay.)
    As when my grandfathers had pleasure horses, you must always guard against founder by pasturing at the proper times and duration, especially in the spring. Donkeys are especially prone to obesity and foundering so they should spend most of their time on dry lot.

  6. How would a simple vet have such knowledge about past grass growth? Also should we have less grass? Less trees? Less food? Maybe less people?

    animal’s staple food has grown more rapidly than in the past 😐

  7. Back in the 1960’s and 70’s when I shared a horse with a friend, the horse was ridden about two hours every single day in the year, even in snow storms. The horses got pills to avoid colic in spring, when they came out into the green, green grass at home. – When have too much food growth ever been a serious problem? – Oh, I know, hoses these days waste too much time surfing the Internet, right?

    • Nope, but their owners sure as hell do, and much of what they read comes from unlicensed charlatans (equine homeopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists) or my personal favorite, “animal communicators” who will tell you what your horse is thinking for $50 bucks over the phone across a couple thousand miles! More proof a lot of folks are “educated” beyond their intelligence. . .

  8. We are doomed :
    – Horses eat more grass and thus fart more methane in the atmosphere.

    This is a positive feedback (more CO2 -> more grass -> more horses’ farts -> more GHG -> more heat -> more CO2 -> …) that will cause a pestilential climate collapse (in less than 11,4 years).

    • Horse farts are totally renewable as the methane is converted to CO2 and recycled. I need to get back to owning horses and see if I can apply for subsidies.

      • philin
        Subsidies – that’s the way to go.
        Once [If . . .] we leave the EU, and its all-embracing, smothering, CAP, I will apply for subsidies for keeping livestock [UK Food Security Department], and for not keeping livestock [quite a lot of livestock that I will not keep, millions of the varmints!], from the Department for Climate Change , Pork Barrels, and Boondoggles.

        Auto [Virtual Farmer-to-be]

  9. There are two versions of this story one from 13 JANUARY 2019 • 6:30AM
    with a headline that says
    Overweight horses are the ‘new normal’

    And the current story from 29 NOVEMBER 2019 • 4:39PM with a headline that says
    Climate change is making horses fat…

    The subject matter of the two stories are the same, the write-up and spin are different. One has to wonder what the conversation at The Telegraph between the editor and reporter Brendan McFadden exactly was. You know, how crass was it. “Hey Brendan, here’s a story from January that needs to be revised with a climate change angle. See if you can get some horsey bigwig to say it’s due to climate Change.”

  10. As I posted under a recent WUWT article titled “Climate Change is a Disability Rights Issue”:
    The time has now come to ask this one simple question: Is there anything . . . anything at all . . . that we CANNOT tie to—and, in some circuitous manner, blame on—“climate change”?

    I will not be so bold as to first ask for a clear definition of what “climate change” actually means in context.

    • “Climate change” definition :
      – ethereal entity that causes – directly or indirectly – anything that can be interpreted as being bad for someone, something, a community, a group or a species.

      Example :
      – Climate change makes horses fat.

  11. ‘Climate change is making horses fat’

    I misread the headline: I thought it said ‘Climate change is making horses fart’….

  12. I suspect horses are fatter because no one rides them any more: All the livery stables closed here because of the requirement for public liability insurance.

    The Arabs bought all the racing stables and them hosses ain’t fat.

    No siree bob!

  13. I used to think veterinarians would be fairly smart- no longer. Obviously everything is the fault of climate- can’t be the fact as many smarter (than Gilles) have pointed out that maybe people aren’t using and exercising horses as much while they’re inside being brainwashed by the “Telegraph”. Stupid grows new bounds every week with this alramist crowd.

    • Founder is now the fault of “climate” since it hasn’t a quick-fix with DRUGS–40 years ago the equine pharmacopia was very limited, so you had to solve problems with knowledge, management, and time. Today it’s throw a potion at it; same as with dogs, cats, and humans. There are also plenty of meds brought to market in search of an ailment . . . so they make one up. Pharma marketing knows no species barrier, believe me.

  14. Interesting that now TOO MUCH food from climate change is a problem too.

    After hearing for decades that climate change, now renamed the climate crisis/emergency was seriously threatening our food supply.

    I’ll use the observations and empirical data and go with the TOO MUCH food as representing the reality. In which case, the problem is easily resolved by cutting back on excessive consumption.

    http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/csdb/en/

    https://www.nass.usda.gov/Charts_and_Maps/Field_Crops/soyyld.php

    https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/yieldtrends.html

    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

    One thing those graphs show with certainty. Our crops and the plants/green stuff that most animals eat in the wild(and captivity) are telling us by their responses:
    Humans that tell us the climate emergency is threatening our food supply speak with fork tongue.

    • I didn’t mean to imply that we don’t have a serious problem with close to a billion people on the planet that are still not getting enough food and/or clean water.

      The increase in CO2 has been the best thing that could have happened from a food production standpoint for these people.

      We get the impression from the fake climate crisis narratives that the optimal climate was back before humans started burning fossil fuels. Back when the global temperature was 1 Deg. C lower than it is now and CO2 levels were below 300 parts per million, compared to the 410 ppm today.

      If we could turn back the climate clock and go back to those atmospheric conditions from just over a century ago, would this be a good idea?

      Doing so would cut crop yields and world food production by over 25%. The C3 crops that have benefitted the most from the addeded CO2, like soybeans and cotton for instance would suffer the greatest losses in yields.

      During the first year back to the old atmosphere, world stocks of all crops would plunge. Some markets that are currently over supplied would last the longest, maybe until the end of the first year before stocks plunged to precariously low levels.
      At that time, price rationing of the limited amount of everything would cause catastrophically rising prices of everything that grows. The world population is only approaching 8 billion people today because of the massive increase in CO2.
      Take that away or hypothetically drop it back down by 120 ppm and we would have a planet that could only be able to sustain 7 billion humans, maybe less. So a billion people would die (after several years) and even more would be suffering from lack of enough calories. The cost of food would at least triple, likely more than that.

      Oh, but a few crops would have up to 10% more of a couple of micronutrients like zinc(reversing the affects we are told that are happening now to the bin busting crops that cause our food to be less nutritious).

      What would you choose?
      1. Crops that have a tiny amount of additional micronutrients feeding 7 billion people?

      2. Crops that have a tiny amount less of those micronutrients that can feed more than 8 billion people?

      If we want to have enough food to feed 9 billion people, one of the best ways to accomplish that is to increase CO2 as much as possible.

  15. If this were true then one would certainly expect a noticeable increase in the incidence of founders disease. To my knowledge there has not been such an increase and unless there is I call BS on this claim.

    • To my knowledge there has not been such an increase …

      Research with good science and better education.
      See my comment regarding fructan, at 1:42 pm.

  16. Don’t insult the British veterinary profession on the basis of this article! The vet was mainly blaming ‘socioeconomic pressures’ , the climate change angle was added to make a headline – possibly by the journalist. As a veterinary surgeon and horse owner I can confirm that ponies used to get fat in the summer back in the 60s and 70s.
    I can also remember that my bit of marshland used to flood regularly in the winter, I don’t own it now but I drive by and haven’t seen it covered with water for many years.

  17. Simple solution: horse aerobics, equinocize, a new video called “The Barnburner Workout”, oh, … so much fun to be had with this one.

    It’s such an easy thing to blame climate, instead of blaming owners of the horses, isn’t it?

    So, in that spirit, if you spot a misspelled word above, then it’s because of climate change. If I catch a cold, then … climate change. If I trip on a banana peel, then … climate change. If my internet service gets interrupted, then … climate change. It’s a great way to avoid realistic responsibility for stuff.

  18. People who own horses should not be allowed to own cars. Then they would have to ride the horses and that would keep the horses nice and slim.

  19. So, now veterinarians are climate experts, too. Who isn’t a climate expert?
    It’s also arguable that climate change alarmism has caused many experts to become fat due to a very rich diet.

  20. I hate to use the term “fake news” but this is definitely fake news. Low-skill/no-skill horse owners don’t establish good feeding habits early on and the horses get fat. Climate change has little to do with it.

  21. “Owners are working longer hours so find regularly exercising their horses hard to do.”

    Owners not exercising their horses has been a problem long before climate change was a gleam in Al Gore’s eye.
    However, in the UK, climate change may well be causing owners to work longer hours so they can pay the skyrocketing utility bills.
    Taking horses off pasture and putting them in bare paddocks is going to make for very unhappy horses who get even less exercise and is not likely to be conducive to their fitness, weight or mental health. I can’t recall ever seeing a fat horse who’s only food was grass in a pasture. Methinks this vet is obsessed with Climate Change, not his patients health.
    Yes, I’ve owned a number of horses in the past. The only bigger holes than horses to throw money into are boats.

  22. But since we aren’t allowed to use motor vehicles any more, we’ll have to go back to horses. Then the horses will get plenty of exercise, and be slim again.

    • If you’re ever in Pennsylvania, take a look at the off-track Standardbreds pulling Amish buggies–they’re mostly all lean to just this side of bony! And if they founder, it’s from foot concussion on the road.

      Antique saddles seldom fit modern horses–our Quarter Horses, Warmbloods, etc. are much wider-backed and more muscular than our native breeds in days of yore.

  23. Hang on a minute, isn’t “global warming” being caused, in part, by horses eating grass an farting out lots of methane? – just asking!

  24. What makes horses fat ?
    Unlimited grass and little exercise .
    Nothing to do with climate change ,
    As Ian Magness said on the first blog this is Horse schist.
    I recall years ago our farm hack ( working horse for moving stock ) was in 40 acres of harvested maize after cattle had cleaned up the stubble .
    There was a lot of grassed areas around that could not be cultivated and the horse had more than enough to eat
    He stood up by the highway and talked to the brood mares across the other side .
    One day a lady from the SPCA arrived and wanted to inspect a starving horse that had been reported .
    On inspection she could see that he was in perfect working condition but she asked me if I would move him as a favour so that she would not get any more calls from people driving by who just saw a horse in a harvested maize paddock and presumed it was being starved .
    My grand daughters are into show jumping and eventing and they constantly have to restrict the pasture intake of their horses .Just common sense they don’t need a vet to tell them its global warning causing it .
    Proud to be a farmer and a proud grandfather of two very good horse woman .
    Graham Anderson.

  25. In Ancient Rome, there was a god for everything. If you were planning a trip to visit your pregnant sister in Naples, you made a sacrifice to the god responsible for safe travel. Along the way, you’d make a stop at the shrine of the goddess responsible for healthy baby girls and another stop at the shrine of the god responsible for healthy baby boys, just to be sure. You might pay homage to the each of the gods responsible for clean water, good weather, and inn vacancies, too. There was a god for everything, and every one demanded a sacrifice. It was a lot to remember, and very confusing. The gods, although very powerful, were also very fickle. Make the wrong sacrifice to the wrong god at the wrong time and you could be stricken with plague or wind up in a heap at the base of a cliff.

    We know better now. We need only pay homage to one god, Climate, who is responsible for everything. If it is too hot, Climate is responsible. If it is too cold, blame Climate. Too much rain? Climate. Not enough rain? Climate. Mass migrations from third the third world? Climate. Too many hurricanes? Climate. Tornadoes? Climate. Retreating glaciers? Climate. Advancing glaciers? Climate. Wildfires? Climate. Power outages? Climate. Not enough food? Climate.

    And just like all the other gods, Climate demands a sacrifice. We have failed to provide Climate with a worthy enough sacrifice. And the longer we wait, the greater will be the wrath of Climate.

    The diviners of Climate have been hard at work for many years to determine the appropriate sacrifice. Climate will not be appeased with the blood of rats, goats, chickens, or cows. Climate is a jealous and vengeful god, and is extremely vexed with us. Climate demands OUR blood. Oodles and oodles of it. And we don’t have a lot of time. The diviners tell us that Climate is impatient. Very impatient. So no half measures will suffice. We must cull the human herd to a level that pleases Climate, and to do so in a timely manner requires the abandonment of modernity and everything associated with it. That means no more cheap, reliable electricity. No more cars, busses, trucks, trains, or planes. No more factories. No more drugs. In order to appease Climate, we must abandon modernity and revert to an agrarian way of life.

    Well, not all of us. Some will need to remain in bubbles of modernity to better manage the remaining human herd. The diviners of Climate will be among them, obviously. Some politicians and their servants. Those who have paid their fair share in carbon offsets. The faithful. The rest of unworthy humanity will be offered up to Climate as a blood offering.

    Time is running out. The longer we wait, the worse it will be.

  26. What about the climate feedback effects of all these horse farts and manure? Surely, it must be considerable at 1 W/m2 or more.

    Someone please issue a grant to study it.

  27. I don’t know about horses ; but Academics, Jounalists, and Media Barons are certainly getting very fat indeed.

  28. Climate change is making me fat…I seem to carry a few more pounds than I use to and it trends right with the CO2 increase in the atmosphere…if I can plot it on an chart, it must be true

  29. “Charles Rotter ( Your sorrows. I’d like to have! )

    / 4 days ago November 30, 2019 From The Telegraph

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

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