Horses in Romania exploited, then slaughtered

Most horses in Romania are used for intense labor and transport, especially in rural communities. There are an estimated one million “working horses” in Romania. Years ago, the European Union clearly demanded that all horses must be identified and registered, but thousands of horses are never registered so they can be sold for their meat—which is illegal in Romania.


In 2013, the remains of hundreds of horses were discovered by a local journalist outside Galati, Romania. The investigation showed that the horses were killed for their meat.

In Smardan village, official veterinary records indicate that 200 horses disappeared during 2008-2011.


If you happen to born as a horse in Romania, your life is horrible. You are exploited, working day and night, often beaten When your body is in pain, you get no medical treatment.
If you get injured, you risk to be abandoned on a field, without water, to die. Some abandoned horses are attacked by wildlife and killed. If you get older and you get tired, nobody will care how you feel. You are at the mercy of your owner who might sale you for little money to illegal meat industry.

Injured horses forced to work

Horses in Romania are forced to carry and pull items that are way too heavy for them—and when they struggle, they are whipped and beaten mercilessly.

Injured horses get no medical care

Most horse owners either can’t pay or they refuse to pay for the veterinary bills of their injured horses.

In both scenarios, the owners utilize the horses until they die. They are pushed to extremes — even when they are severely injured—until they die from exhaustion, starvation, or disease.

The people who can afford health care for their sick and injured horses, prefer to spend their money on a “new” younger horse who will also be exploited.

40 horses found abandoned in awful conditions

When rescue mission started, the help arrived too late for some of them. The investigation revealed that the owner of the horses was a prosecutor who abandoned them on purpose and we are still waiting for the correct verdict against this criminal.

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It’s hard and disturbing, but if you can watch the video, you understand how the horses are suffering in Romania day after day. Silence is killing animals around us. Silence will never put an end to animal abuse!

As you read these lines, a horse has been sacrificed to the illegal trade meat market.
We can’t save them all. But together we can try to save as many as we can.

However, not all horse owners are ignorant!

“Please, don’t let my buddy die!” cried Ion, an impoverished local farmer.

A few years ago, Ion came to us for help. His horse had been injured and was never treated. The horse’s injury eventually turned into a tumor that grew to an abnormal size.

Ion lived alone. Ion’s horse helped him live a modest life. When Ion explained the situation to our staff, he was in tears. He begged us to save his buddy and not let him die.


“There is something special about Ion’s story that fascinates me and makes me feel humble and respectful. There is a drama that can’t be told in words.

It’s difficult but in the same time, emotional to see people of a certain age, that could be a parent or a close relative of any of us… surviving with dignity in misery and showing a major and sincere concern for their best friend, who is in most cases an animal: a dog, a cat… or in Ion’s case – a horse.

It says a lot about the humans’ bond with animals, but also about some humans’ nature, the simplicity and purity of a person who doesn’t have much to offer except his own kindness and friendship.

Together, we can save this horse – I simply know it because we care and because we helped so many animals in the past. Ion is counting on you, on us… and I am hopeful that I will find the right words to better explain you the drama of these seniors and maybe we can find a way to give constantly aid to these people who are genuinely concerned and caring about their pets, who doesn’t expect much anymore from their life and find a real joy to see their pets in good shape around them.”

— Dana Costin, ROLDA Founder

Thanks to our supporters, we were able to remove the tumor. Ion and his horse continue to live together. They remain best friends.

Together, we help more people like Ion to enjoy the company of their horses.
Together, we can become a stronger voice for horses who abused horses.
Together, we can make a step forward to build a home for senior, abandoned horses who deserve a safe retirement.

Help ROLDA build a horse sanctuary

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