We in the States have weathered this recession in myriad ways, but our horses have often had to pay the price for our unexpected job losses and diminishing bank accounts. When the economy tanked in 2008, shelters (and slaughter pens) began filling up with abandoned horses, leading many to question how to humanely deal with the glut of unwanted horses born of the boom years in the decades prior. Over the past two years we have seen breed registries and sale prices contract along with the financial markets, as American horse owners have struggled to choke back the overabundant equine supply.
Our situation, however, while still dire in many regions, seems to pale in comparison to that currently reaching a head in the Dunsink region of Ireland. As reported today in the New York Times, horses are being abandoned there in the thousands, cast out to graze on diminishing winter grasslands by owners unable to pay for their upkeep. Huge free roaming herds, comprised by some estimates of up to 30,000 abandoned horses, are currently scouring the landscape outside of Dublin to find enough bits of forage to stave off starvation. The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals maintains a budget of $500,000 for the care of the few equines it takes into its stabling facility, but that obviously can't cover the needs of the tens of thousands of horses currently cast out on their own.
If your New Years resolution involves a donation commitment to one or more charity efforts, the Dublin SPCA might be a good bet. If you are lucky enough to be able to tuck your own horses in warm and safe beneath their blankets every night, consider whether you might be able to provide assistance to the many others which will stand shivering throughout the long Irish winter.