Along with Greece, the financial crisis took Ireland by surprise. During the boom years, many Irish purchased expensive horses. Now during the crisis, they're simply being abandoned.
Current estimates say around 20,000 horses have been released so far, and are now wandering on their own over the country's highways, major roadways, housing developments, parks and forests. Many are starving. Animal protection activists are trying to save the horses, which include farm and pony breeds, but also highbred racehorses. Some of the animals would have had a market value of around €30,000 before the crisis, but keeping them became too much of a financial burden for their former owners.