House Bill 3294, An Act Relative to the Rescue of Foals
Sponsor: Representative Kate Hogan
This bill amends Section 78A of Chapter 272 to allow shelters to care for a foal. Currently the statute reads "Section 78A. No person shall sell, offer for sale or otherwise dispose of any foal under five months of age other than for the purpose of immediate slaughter or humane killing unless such foal is accompanied by its dam. Violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months."
Groups such as Lucky Horse Equine Rescue explain the problem. The foals that this group want to care for are the result of a process of using "nurse mares." This is a fertile mare of any breed that is bred for the purpose of forcing her to produce milk. The foal she ends up nursing is not the foal that she has just given birth to -- she ends up nursing a more "valuable" foal; a thoroughbred, for example. The thoroughbred's mother may have been sent elsewhere shortly after giving birth to be bred again. This leaves the foal from the nurse mare in need of care. And why the law should be changed to allow Massachusetts shelters to take in these foals.