I spent many years, until 2004 precisely, living just outside Newmarket. That is the 'racing capital of the world' in terms of breeding, training and so on, for flat racing at least. There is a fair bit of jumper breeding and training too plus polo ponies. So there are thousands of horses. Relatively few make the grade for the course but very few people question their fate. I have tried to buy a couple in my time, but it doesn't happen. The place I was trying to get them from was less than 400m from my door, 200m if I take it from where my allotment was. I asked my neighbour, a polo pony breeder, but even after 20 years knowing each other he would not give a straight answer. However, a head stable lad was retired off by one yard, took badly to it and began to talk. He told several people in the village that they were sold on to other countries such as Ireland as breeding stock. In fact, as he said, that included geldings who had no breeding value but after the sales nobody questioned. They went there or on elsewhere for slaughter.
It was always fairly obvious that given the number of horses bred locally to begin with that the racing industry could hardly sustain large numbers so we simply made our own picture in our minds. My neighbours who are strict vegetarians and compassionate about animal cruelty were always delving. Beyond hearing panicked animals in the transporters we never really knew. Most people just did not want to know, a few did.
The sad truths have emerged over recent years and the horse meat issue is bringing more out into the open. There are probably far more people engaging now than before. It is possible to draw attention to the issue by putting up something on avaaz or change.org who both allow individuals to start campaigns, indeed want it. I'm suggesting that as a means of perhaps getting somewhere with the issue but would not put it up myself because I already have other issues up. Put up too many and over too many areas and get a name for being just a 'moaner'. However, I would sign if it was running and believe many, many people would too.