No foal should be raised without their mother, however the Nurse Mare Program DOES exist, and will continue to exist. Therefore, we try to make the best of the situation for the foals by helping them to survive in every way we possibly can.
Nurse Mare Foals
Nurse Mare Foals (NMF) are a by product of the horse breeding/race horse industry. Basically, the expensive mare is bred to a very expensive stud. 11 months later she foals or has her baby. 7-10 days after she gives birth she has her heat cycle again and to remain profitable she must be bred back immediately so she can have another foal in 11 months.
The catch to all of this is that her 7-10 day old foal cannot travel back to the stud/stallion's farm with the broodmare. Why the foal can't go with her is because of safety and insurance reason (her foal is worth big $$ usually). So, instead of putting this foal on milk re-placer they rent a broodmare from a nurse mare farm.
In order for the nurse or wet mare to come into milk it must have had a foal. So they breed the mare, let her give birth to her foal, and once they get the request from the expensive foal's farm they take the mother away from her foal and ship her off to be a surrogate mother to the expensive foal.
If the nurse mares foal isn't saved by someone (rescue or private citizen or sometimes the farm for further use in their program) then it is left to die or sent to slaughter. The hide of these foals is especially valuable as designer handbags, shoes, belts, etc. I have also been told foreign people consider the meat of a foal to be a delicacy (like veal is here). Some nurse mare farms will occasionally give the foals away, but most sell them discreetly for profit.
Nurse Mare Foals are usually available in January/February-ish. This is when the "season" so to speak starts and foaling begins. Generally, the "season" runs from January to around June.
The next time you want to welcome a horse into your life, please consider making it a Nurse Mare Foul.
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