In these sour economic times, some bigger animals seem to have proportionally bigger problems. Horses are one (sad) example.
A few weeks ago, a newspaper story told about retired race horses who had been sold for slaughter. Their racing and breeding work was done and it was too expensive to continue boarding and caring for them. So, the creatures who had never had a say about whether they wanted to race in the first place, and who in many cases had nevertheless made skazillions for their owners . . . weren't even allowed to spend the rest of their lives in a green pasture somewhere.
The last horse slaughter facility in the US was closed a couple years ago, but horses are still trucked to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. So much for the one-time "stars" of the racing industry. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/sports/24tour.html?emc=eta1
But why are we surprised? Horse racing is an awful "sport." Innocent animals are ruined and killed in the process, and now we simply know more about what happens to many of them if they survive to retire.
On another front, in this area, a number of horses were out of a home and up for auction. Their current owners -- one-time horse lovers; kids who had to have a horse, then tired of it, etc., -- claimed they could no longer afford to keep them. So, as humans already do with dogs and cats, they "surrendered" the horses.
Disposable animals: how convenient.