The Unwanted

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

First Advisor

Susan Hertz

Second Advisor

Jaed Coffin

Third Advisor

Thomas Haines


The closure of the last American equine slaughterhouses in 2007, combined with a steep economic recession, produced a glut of unwanted horses with few viable options for long term care. In the ensuing decade, animal advocates, equine professionals and the American public have all struggled to identify the most ethical and just options for handling unwanted horses and to define the contemporary role this unique species holds in our society. This thesis explores the unwanted horse crisis in the United States primarily through the lens of narrative journalism, and includes interviews, research and reporting from first person visits to equine rescues, auctions and non-profits. Also included is one fiction piece showing how the unbreakable bond between a rescued horse and a young girl has the capacity to heal.

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