Animal Aid

VIOLENT UNREST: SPARE THE HORSES

Posted 21 December 2010

With the prospect of more anti-government protests a strong likelihood in 2011, the recent violent clashes between mounted police officers and students raises questions about the welfare of the horses used in these situations.

The horses, who had no noticeable protection to their bodies, were subjected to frighteningly high levels of violence. From one side, missiles rained down upon them and, from the other, police officers brutally kicked spurs into their reluctant mounts and used truncheons to drive the horses forward into terrifying and chaotic scenes.

Police horses undergo training for such mentally and physically demanding situations. However, in the testing circumstances of serious unrest, a horse’s impulse would be to flee but they are prevented from doing so by severe physical restraint. Submissive control comes from the use of multi-pressure double-reined Pelham bits, which subject the horse to considerable pain in the mouth and on the head - should the horse try to resist. And spurs, forcibly applied, intimidate the horse into capitulation.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘Brutal methods have been used over centuries to force horses into violent battles. Today, horses remain as tools for crowd control by the police. It is time for this animal abuse to stop and for horses no longer to be used in what is essentially a dispute between two groups of people.’

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