It's no small secret that strained financial conditions can destabilize sociological conditions throughout all tiers of society. There is evidence that this recession has led to an uptick in retail related crimes, white collar and business related crimes, and potentially violent crimes, although that correlation is less black and white.
For animal owners, the recession has already posed ethical queries over how to attend to family horses, dogs, etc. when the family doesn't have the funds to continue caring for them. I posted last year about a disturbing trend that emerged right at the start of the recession, in which owners were taking to abandoning horses and other animals to potentially die of starvation rather than arrange for them to be taken on by shelters. This year, the mind-blowing swath of horse slaughters in Miami-Dade County, Florida (apparently motivated by the blackmarket sale of horsemeat), an intentional poisoning of a herd of Saddlebred horses in California, a knife attack on a Hanoverian gelding in the U.K., and the egregious neglect of an entire farm of racehorses in upstate New York, highlight what may very well be a worldwide, recession oriented upswing in cruelty against horses.
Is the tense enconomic climate motivating this violence? Is the anxiety of financial distress spurring otherwise normal people to take out their frustrations on these vulnerable animals? Animal care workers from Scotland to Idaho seem to think so, and these recent sad examples in the equine world certainly suggest the same.