I know this is off topic, however I felt it was important to draw some attention to the situation in Iceland where horses are trapped by the toxic ash that blankets their land.
The area hardest hit near the eruption is one that is agriculturally significant, is heavily populated by horse breeders and other livestock. Breeders in this area raise their horses and livestock in a free range manner so there is no where for these animals to be housed and shielded from the toxic ash clouds swallowing up the land. Reports state that some areas are pitch black in darkness during the day and most horse owners are left helpless. Winds are not expected to change for at least 2-3 more days.
Sounds of the eruption, combined with the lightning and bird cries are being described as 'something from a horror film'. This is the time of year when birds are migrating. Farmers report witnessing entire flocks of geese fly directly into the ash clouds, cry and then fall to their death.
'The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority released an announcement this morning, asking that all horse owners who keep their herds outside be on the alert due to ash fall. Where there is significant ash fall all horses must be sheltered indoors.'
The volcano emits toxic flouride gas and has a devastating effect on livestock and humans. The last time this volcano erupted in 1821, it lasted two years. This gas is easily absorbed through skin and eyes and a quantity as small as 28 mg per kilo of body mass is fatal.
Flourine poisoning will affect calcium levels in horses causing severe damage to teeth and bones in growing foals as well as hypocalcemia in pregnant mares - a life threatening condition. (One can only imagine the impact it has on children and pregnant women)
In past eruptions, it is not the eruption itself that causes the highest deaths amongst animals and humans, it is the toxic gases and ash that follow, continues for months and causes massive devastating effects on resources.
In 1783 it poisoned the vegetation, pastures etc. This resulted in a loss of approximately 80% of the sheep and 50% of the horses and cattle.
One fifth of the human population perished from starvation. Extreme winters followed the eruption due to the sulphuric gases. This combination of extreme winter and lack of livestock/vegetation/crops proved devastating.
The present volcanic eruption could continue to cycle through ongoing periods of rest and eruption over several months ultimately impacting water, hay and feed supplies.
So while most media reports seem to focus mainly on the impact on air travel, there are far more significant impacts occurring that could lead to a repeat of events in 1783.
Click here- http://dagskra.ruv.is/sjonvarpid/4497965/2010/04/17/0/ to see a local news report in Iceland. The report is not in English but language is not needed to understand the desperation of such an event. (Video will take a moment to load, middle of the video is just reporter talking but beginning and end provide a clear picture of a not so clear future)