A record 4,500 horses were put down in slaughterhouses over the first six months of this year, compared with 3,400 in 2011 as a whole, news agency Novum reports on Friday, quoting newspaper NRC.next.
The paper says the Netherlands has a horse surplus, due, in part, to the economic crisis. Many horse owners now want rid of their animals and are offering them for sale via internet or taking them to slaughterhouses.
Many of these horses are not old or crippled, the paper says. Animal welfare groups say many horse owners have under-estimated the cost of keeping and looking after an animal.
Police also report a rise in reports of neglected and abused ponies and horses.
The farming economic institute Lei estimates there are between 300,000 and 500,000 horses and ponies in the Netherlands.
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