A leading Irish animal welfare charity is warning that many horses will die this winter — and is blaming Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said Ireland is awash with homeless horses who may starve during cold weather.
“Everywhere you go there are fields and fields of horses,” said general manager Jimmy Cahill. “Most are emaciated now, so what will they be like when there is less grass?”
Mr Cahill blamed HRI and the economic crash for the problem.
A spokesman for HRI said the organisation has always promoted responsible racehorse ownership.
“Whether it is syndicates or sole owners, this is an issue we take very seriously, as do all in the Irish racing industry,” he said.
But the SPCA expects more than 1,000 horses to die this winter. Mr Cahill said the Dublin SPCA had taken in 84 horses this year and is having to euthanase them.
But Henry Beeby of bloodstock sales company Goffs said that while prices dropped by 40% in 2008 they are starting to improve.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (17 September, ’09)