A New Buyer for Status-Symbol Horses in Spain: The Abattoir
Alberto Martín, a third-generation horse breeder, riding Farruco. Mr. Martín says he has sold 50 of his 70 mares to a slaughterhouse over the past two years.
CHAPINERÍA, Spain — Like his father and grandfather before him, Alberto Martín breeds horses, raising them on two farms, one of them here on the outskirts of Madrid. But even as a third-generation breeder, nothing in his experience had prepared him for times like these. Over the last two years, Mr. Martín says he has been forced to sell 50 of his 70 beloved mares for about $400 each. That is all the slaughterhouse would pay.
Some of the horses had cost him as much $24,000 when he bought them before 2008, the start of the financial crisis. But now, Mr. Martin said, ‘’it sadly makes more sense to sacrifice horses for close to zero money rather than continue to pay for their upkeep, knowing that nobody seems to want to buy horses anymore.’’