Almost 60 horses have been rescued from appalling conditions at a Co Antrim farm.
They were left wallowing in their own mess without a blade of grass on the field.
The largest equine rescue in the USPCA's history took place at a property near Muckamore.
A charity spokesman said: "The animals were signed over to the charity having endured atrocious conditions surviving in a sea of filth.
"The result of over-population, a severe shortage of fodder and the lack of essential veterinary care, they are the latest victims of the recession."
He said the economic downturn has seen equine assets transformed into living liabilities.
"Without our intervention these animals would not have survived the winter that lies ahead," he added.
"We will do our utmost to ensure they find new homes with families who appreciate the time and financial commitment required."