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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

RTÉ investigates the Irish and European horse industries in a major new investigation


Brown horse

In a major new investigation to be broadcast this Wednesday and Thursday night on RTÉ One and RTE Player, RTÉ Investigates examines the Irish and European horse industries.


Using hidden cameras, RTÉ Investigates exposes the abuse horses can suffer after they leave the spotlight.




Horses hold a very special place in Irish life - for pleasure, leisure, racing, showjumping, and even as pets. RTÉ Investigates goes inside the equine industry to show how some of these horses are slaughtered here in Ireland, while others are given new identities and traded in deals across Europe.


White horse

The racing industry alone will receive €76m in State support this year. But thousands of horses are bred each year to sustain this and other equine pursuits. What happens when they are no longer useful or too expensive to keep?

The investigation exposed evidence of systemic flaws in the traceability of horses and how this was threatening the human food chain across Europe. The work has already prompted investigations across Europe.



In Ireland, RTÉ Investigates analysed data which allowed, for the first time, to profile the background of horses that were sent for slaughter. It has never been possible to fully see the link between the racing and slaughter industries until now.


Horse in the shadows

The data allowed RTÉ Investigates journalists to track back and identify thousands of horses that passed through Ireland's only licensed horse abattoir.


The majority of the horses were thoroughbred racers, competitors who between them had raced more than 3,000 times, earning their owners more than €1.5 million on tracks across Ireland, the UK and France as well multiples of that for punters.



Viewers will be shocked to see the hidden camera footage in Wednesday night's documentary capturing evidence of the systematic abuse of horses and activities that threaten the safety of the food chain.


Brown horses

Professor Christopher Elliot, founder of Queen's University Belfast’s Institute for Global Food Security: "I've visited lairages and slaughterhouses for probably about 45 years. I have never seen anything like this. This is ... like nothing I have seen ever experienced before it just is unbelievably distressing."

The wide-ranging investigation will be revealed in a hard-hitting hour-long documentary, RTÉ Investigates: Horses - Making a Killing to be broadcast this Wednesday night, 12 June at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and in an additional special report on Prime Time on Thursday night at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.



Both the documentary and special report across the two nights will be available to stream live and catch up on the RTÉ Player to viewers across Europe and worldwide. www.rte.ie/player


Watch RTÉ Investigates: Horses - Making a Killing, this Wednesday 12th June at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.



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