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AZ Central

Legendary horses latest victim of Spain's bust

April 18, 2013

ALMONTE, Spain -- The southern Spanish region of Andalusia, famed for flamenco and Moorish castles, is also home to a legendary breed of horses that carried conquistadors into battle in the Americas, featured in Hollywood epics and more recently became trophy acquisitions for Spaniards during a giddy economic boom. On his grassy ranch in the territory's heartland, 73-year-old Francisco Mesa breeds these "Pura Raza Espanola" -- Pure Spanish Breed -- horses with a passion that comes from years of pampering the elegant beasts known for their intelligence and affection for humans. He enters a muddy pen and is immediately surrounded by mares and foals who nuzzle him with tenderness, oblivious of their almost certain fate: the slaughterhouse.

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