Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Abandoned Horses of Dunsink

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.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi - I have just returned from Ireland. I have spent an amazing two days with the Irish Horse Welfare Trust and representatives from Fingal County Council who jointly have put in place a strategy to combat the plight of abandoned horses at Dunskin. International reports have exaggerated the numbers of horses roaming on the old dump and some of the horses grazing on the land are owned and well cared for by members of the local community. Every horse running on the dump has now been rounded up, microchipped, passported, de wormed and de loused in this joint project with the IHWT and the Council. A club is being formed by the community to ensure that good standared of equine welfare will be monitored and met from now on and the IHWT is also running eductional courses. Every person I met wants the best for their horse and put pressure on those that did not turn up and those that have abandoned their horses to hand the horses over to the IHWT. 75 horses have been passported and chipped and twelve have been taken into care. This is the true number of horses running on the land. For the first time in thirty years there were no horses running on the dump on Thursday night. The events of the 9th and 10th February have changed many lives and touched my own on a deep level. This project shows what communication can achieve in a very short space of time as it has only taken a few weeks to implement all these changes. Well done IHWT, Fingal County Council and the dedicated horse owners from Dunsink. Together they have made a real difference and are implementing strategies that will ensure that the events of the past will never be repeated.