THOUSANDS of horses are being abandoned and slaughtered as Spain’s recession deepens.
An estimated 5,000 horses are being processed into food each month, as families can no longer afford their upkeep.
The figures reveal that slaughter has increased by 31% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to last year, with a staggering 19,793 horses killed.
Abandonment of horses has increased by 80% this year according to Dilfenio Rodriguez from the Burrolandia animal shelter.
“The number of horses we have to care for has increased dramatically with the crisis. People can’t afford to keep them and instead dispense with them,” Rodriguez said.
“We find them in terrible condition, often almost dead.
“They eat their own excrement and drink rainwater to survive.”
Government cuts on animal shelters mean that many organisations can no longer afford to save every abandoned horse from the knackers yard.
The meat is imported to countries which have a high demand for horse meat, including France and Russia.