Slaughter of horses quadruples
Horses have become one of the major casualties of the recession.
Racing may once have been described as the sport of kings, but in the final years of the economic boom horse possession became relatively commonplace.
But as money has gotten tighter over the past two years the number of horses slaughtered in abattoirs has quadrupled.
Last year saw 12,575 horses being put down in abattoirs supervised by the Department of Agriculture.
The latest statistics, secured by the independent TD Tommy Broughan, from Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, reveal that the numbers of horses being killed escalated sharply as the downturn hit.
The figures do not include smaller horse abattoirs.
Mr Coveney was unable to confirm if any of the horses were registered as thoroughbreds. However, a recent report by Professor Des Leadon, of the Irish Equine Centre, revealed stud farmers, racing trainers and keepers of horses on behalf of others had "no alternative to slaughter" when owners could no longer afford to pay for their keep.