The Horse Tale Rescue shelter in Vaudreuil-Dorion says their hay supply will last less than three months unless a province-wide shortage ends.
The non-profit horse rescue says it is in desperate need of hay to feed their 14 horses.
“We need to make sure we have enough stores to get through to next June,” executive director Mike Grenier said.
“You can’t just buy it at Walmart over the winter.”
They are one of the thousands of farmers and stables running low on feed supply as the province of Quebec and much of Eastern Canada experience a shortage. This summer’s record heat and little rain in the months of June and July caused a below-average harvest.
Grenier’s hay supplier says he managed to bring in only 30 per cent of what’s usually harvested.
“The hot, dry summer that everyone enjoyed has been detrimental to those that take care of animals,” Grenier said.
According to the Union des Producteur Agriculoes (UPA), the provincial farmers’ union, the summer has been a catastrophe.
“Droughts are more and more frequent in Quebec. This year is exceptional because every region is affected,” Patrice Juneau, UPA spokesperson, said.
Because of this, the price of hay has doubled.
“That is a major problem for thousands of farmers,”Juneau said.
“Everyone who feeds animals is in the same boat struggling to find hay,” Horse Tale barn manager Caroline Handy said.
A Horse Tale rescue was founded seven years ago. It takes in animals that were abused or are ready to be retired . The rescue relies on donations to operate. It’s expensive, costing at least $10,000 to care for each horse annually.
The spike in price for hay has created a turbulent situation.
“To have to worry about a lack of hay, potentially not be able to bring in other horses, it’s very stressful,” Handy said.
The rescue needs about 3,600 bales of hay a year to feed the animals. They are calling on the public to help get them through the struggle and are asking for donations through their Hay Drive.
Grenier says they will need at least $30,000 in donations to get through the year. That’s twice as much as usual.
Grenier is hoping September’s harvest will be fruitful and will replenish his supply. He is confident they will manage to find enough, but at a cost.
“We’ve given them a promise to be able to care for them,” Grenier said. “We will find it, but we will have to pay for it.”