Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Agriculture
Aslihan D. Spaulding
A survey to measure the perceptions of the unwanted horse population in the state of Illinois was developed. Horse owners, non-horse owners, and equine industry stakeholders in Illinois were the focus of the study. Participants were surveyed on their perceptions, awareness, and knowledge of the unwanted horse population in the state. Each survey included questions of current knowledge of legislation, background with equine, current methods to control the unwanted horse population, and methods they believe would benefit the population. A block style survey was developed, emailed to a statewide equine association listserv, and advertised through articles online. Findings show that on average horse owners will spend $3,343 annually on equine expenditures. There was a significant difference of the average annual cost of horse owners that keep their horse on their own property and owners that do not keep their horse on their property; t (304)= 9.83, p< .000. Findings show 58% of horse owners view equine as companion animals as opposed to livestock or working animals. Current methods of managing the unwanted horse population were found to be ineffective (2.15) on a five-point Likert-type scale (level of effectiveness 1= very ineffective through 5=very effective). Using frequencies to determine the mean score, horse owners agreed financial hardship (4.68) as the highest rated reason for why horses become unwanted. It was found that reducing the cost of euthanasia, carcass disposal, or rendering (4.07), allowing horse processing facilities to reopen in Illinois (3.83), and creating regional euthanasia centers (3.55), can most effectively manage the unwanted horse population with in the state. The results of this survey may lead to a greater awareness of the unwanted horse population in Illinois. Furthermore, the results may lead to discussion about future legislation within the state on supporting and managing the unwanted horse.
Schueler, Kelsey Annette, "The Perceptions of the Unwanted Horse Population in Illinois 2015" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 438.