Since the early 2000’s, a surprisingly cruel and unique form of theft has been on the rise- the theft of horsehair. It became more shocking when I started reading about what they were used for. Apparently there is a black market for this type of thing! Depending from the horse breed, their tail hair can be very expensive and these thieves who commit this type of crime usually sell it on the black market. This market is kept alive by interested parties all over the internet.
As everyone can attest, horses are incredible creatures, they can pull very heavy loads and travel for average of 50 km per day and above all they are incredibly beautiful, with their long hair and their free spirit. I didn't even know until lately that horse tail hair has been stolen for years and used within the black market. There is the well-known historical fact- that horsetail hair has always been imported by the US and was used for everything from paintbrushes, human hair extensions and many other crafts, but aside from that illegal horsehair theft today is called animal cruelty and you can be convicted up to 7 years of prison if you are actually caught.
It’s such an awful thing to do to such a magical creature but sadly a lucractive crime. Above all this is a crime on the rise, growing daily, and people are reporting it all over the US and Europe that their horse's tail hair is being stolen. The hair is then sold by the pound in US dollars or other currencies including the questionable cryptocoin. Many factories across different parts of the world like to import horse hair and even human hair and use it for different crafts, which are later sold worldwide.
It was a crime that struck me as particularly disturbing, as I have known many people who own horses. It seems that one of the more common reasons for this thievery is for the production of Celtic themed jewelry, which incorporates horsehair in a myriad of braided designs. However most people are unaware that horsehair is used in a slew of other products that include; baskets, belts, fishing lines and violin bows. Sold for hundreds of dollars by the pound, it is no surprise that unscrupulous people have turned to doing this to earn a quick profit. Over the last two decades, both American and European horse owners have had to keep their wits sharp, as this crime spree is happening on both sides of the pond.
Well, some are upping the security of their paddocks and stables, while others are arming themselves and waiting for would-be thieves to stray onto their property. Some are doing both. Police has been over the case for years now, from the first reports going back to the beginning of 80’s, it is still growing like a trend that is gaining peak numbers of reported thefts. Many of the horse owners have reported the crime, but the prevention of it, is still difficult to prevent. Owners desperate to protect their animals have started to use security cameras at their stables and also keeping a close eye on their horses, hoping that nothing similar will happen again, or if it does they can catch the thief. Police say that one of the ways to slow the tide of theft is to only buy horsehair from reputable dealers (i.e. not some guy on eBay or Facebook), as their horsehair is easily traced back to trusted source and is highly unlikely to be stolen.
Another suggestion by police is to use effective CCTV equipment and report any unknown persons entering the property at any time of the day or night, as many of the thieves are incredibly brazen with their tactics. Since there are hundreds and hundreds of reports every year, many owners wake up one morning and find their horses without tail hair, sometimes without hair at all and the prevention still looks far. Police only suggests the owners of horses to stay closer and keep an eye on them, but the market of their hair seems to be growing eventually and for the thieves this seems like easy money.
Considering that horses use their tails for communication, cutting horse hair is considered a crime since horses use their tails for both warmth and communication. It’s also not natural to cut a horse hair and leave him unprotected, since it can be considered a severe as cutting off a person's tongue- so every animal lover should be concerned that this trend is not showing signs of shrinking. Even if you don't have a horse, there are still things you can do to help stop these criminals. For example, as a lot of Celtic jewelery is crafted using stolen horsehair, and you can find this jewelery being sold across Facebook and other social media links, so you should openly question where the seller has acquired their hair... this can sometimes result in a post being deleted or even an innocent person being educated that they may have purchased stolen hair. If you see a person directly selling horsehair online, ask them for verification of where they procured it and, if they cannot provide that information, report them to the authorities as potentially selling stolen horsehair. It’s a step that many should be doing but for whatever reason are still sheepish about their afterthought to curbing potential animal cruelty.
Everybody who takes a look at this facts and reports will feel bad about what humanity does to the poor animals and what capitalism is doing to the modern era. Apparently nowadays everything could be sold and bought, as long as it is worth money. If we all band together, horse owners or not, we will be able to put a big dent in this industry, if we can't outright stop it in it's tracks.