I have decided to do a weekly, to bi-weekly post, at least until I feel like I’ve exhausted my resources, on the current state of the Horse Industry. As an industry professional, I think it’s important that public become educated on policies that they have helped perpetuate either directly or indirectly. Maybe you’re not in the horse industry and find that these policies don’t directly affect you; however, I hope you’d take from this that the same groups that are responsible for making changes in the Horse Industry (HSUS and PETA) are the same groups that could make owning pets for the rest of you more difficult or costly; they’re often the same groups that can cause an increase in prices in the cost of agricultural goods and services. I hope to show the correlation through these series of posts.
Before we get too involved, I’d like to run through some numbers. In 2005 the American Horse council did a study on the Industry. The numbers are big, interesting, and are the best place to start this conversation.
You can buy the study in its entirety here but we’ll highlight most of the relevant points:
- There are 9.2 million horses in the United States.
- 4.6 millions Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees and volunteers. Tens of millions more participate as spectators.
- 2 million people own horses.
- The horse industry has a direct economic effect on the US of $39 billion annually.
- The industry has a $102 billion impact on the US economy when the mulitplier effect of spending by industry suppliers and employees is taken into account. Including off-site spending of spectators would result in an even higher figure.
- The industry directly provides 460,000 full- time equivalent (FTE) jobs. (And as someone who has made a living working in the industry I can tell you, that there is no 40 hour work week- to do it right you plan to work 60-80 hours a week. That includes help, not just the trainers).
- Spending by suppliers and employees generates additional jobs for a total employment impact of 1.4 million FTE jobs.
- The horse industry pays $1.9 billion in taxes to all levels of government.
- Approximately 34% of horse owners have a household income of less than $50,000 and
- 28% have an annual income of over $100,000. 46% of horse owners have an income of between $25,000 to $75,000.
- Over 70% of horse owners live in communities of 50,000 or less.
- There are horses in every state. Forty-five states have at least 20,000 horses each.
Of the 9.2 million horses used in the United States the numbers are as follows:
- Racing- 844,531
- Showing- 2,718,954
- Recreation- 3,906,923
- Other- 1,752,439
“Other” includes farm and ranch work, rodeo, carriage horses, polo, police work, informal competitions, etc.
The economic impact of the industry is huge:
The study documents the economic impact of the industry in terms of jobs and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is greater than the motion picture services, railroad transportation, and some types of manufacturing. It is only slightly smaller than the apparel and other textile manufacturing industries.
The study’s results show that the industry directly produces goods and services of $38.8 billion and has a total impact of $101.5 billion on US GDP.
It is strong in each activity with racing, showing and recreation each contributing between $10.5 and $12 billion to the total value of goods and services produced by the industry.
Now that we have some idea how big the industry is we’ll be better ready to delve into the subject later this week. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll compile a list of them to answer as need be.