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European Journal

Ireland: Abandoned Horses on the Emerald Isle

When the Irish economy was booming, demand for expensive horses likewise rocketed. Now that the global financial crisis has destroyed that new prosperity, many of those horses are simply being set free.

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Irland Landschaft bei Connemara Leben an der Küste

Landscape Connemara, Ireland

The number of abandoned horses has been estimated at 20,000. They have been discovered along highways and other roads, in residential estates, parks and forests. The animals tend to be in an emaciated condition. Activists are trying to rescue the helpless animals, which include Irish draft horses, Shetland ponies and above all thoroughbred racehorses. Many of these former prized possessions once cost up to 30,000 euros, but their owners evidently judged their upkeep to have become too expensive.