Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stupidity is International

Normally, I try to focus on equine-related idiocy close to home-- if not in Wisconsin, then at least the USA. However, I sometimes feel like that puts America in a really negative light. While it's true we have too-lax animal cruelty laws, apathetic animal control officers and some pretty bad practices, when compared with many countries, we're not that bad...or at least not any worse. That's hardly a standing ovation, but anyway, take a moment and check out some foreign horrors. WARNING: graphic images ahead.

Ban-ei Races, Japan

I've often criticized American horse racing for forcing inbred, fragile, too-young animals to perform sprints while under the influence of various drugs. However, in Japan they force inbred, fragile, too-young animals to perform sprints while towing one-ton sleds up and down sand hills under the influence of drugs. The drivers don't carry whips, but often haul back sharply on the reins with their full body-weight to stop the horse and set him back on his haunches, presumably so that he'll lunge forward when released. They're not above lashing with the reins either. Ban-ei racing, thankfully, is not as popular as it once was.

Bull Fighting with Horses, Spain, France, Portugal, Latin America

Ah bullfighting-- the process by which humans prove how much more brave and superior they are by slowly killing cows, with pointy sticks, in front of a cheering crowd. But hey, the bulls don't get all the glory! Horses (often blindfolded) are shoved into the ring as well, either as mounts for the bullfighter or mounts for the bullfighter's backup team. Here's a great article on these poor horses. This is often what happens to them:

Yep, he's literally running over his own intestines there. Click to enlarge.

Cruel Bits & Bad Tack, Everywhere

I've often posted links about how tom-thumb bits suck, how a curb bit in the hands of an idiot can be a jaw-breaker, etc. But really, when it comes to bits and tack in general, America is easily one of the most enlightened countries around. All over the world, people use equines as beasts of burden and make their equipment out of whatever crap is lying around. So we get nasty bits with sharp spikes, and thin-strapped, ill-fitting harnesses that cut through flesh. Organizations like FOMHUK help distribute free humane bits and educate people about their use. World Horse Welfare does great work with tack-improvement projects everywhere, like hula carts and fly fringes, cheap efforts that improve a working animal's life a hundred times over. If you're even basically proficient at sewing, you can make nose chain covers for donkeys working in the middle east. Here's the pattern and the address to send 'em to, thanks to Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land.

Manganas (Horse Tripping), Mexico & USA

Here's yet another reason to never, ever give your horse away for free, and to always have a buy-back contract signed when you sell. Cheap horses who don't go to slaughter often end up in Mexican rodeos, where cowboys win points for lassoing a horse galloping at full speed. Articles here and here. Horses regularly break their legs, necks and backs. It's been outlawed in some states here in America, but still takes place wherever there's a large enough rural Hispanic community-- and of course it goes on all the time in Mexico.


Feral Horse Slaughter

It isn't just America's wild west that has trouble with feral horses. Other places also have populations of roaming equines that, while not native, have kept breeding in the rough countryside for decades. This eventually results in the need to cull the herd. Australia has "Brumbies," New Zealand has "Kaimanawas," and Hawaii has a population of donkeys that's in such need of control, a donkey rescue group recently paid for over 100 of them to be flown to America's mainland so they could find homes rather than be euthanized.

Chinese Horse Fighting

I've mentioned before that China has no anti-animal-cruelty laws. We're talking about a country where dogs, frogs and other critters are skinned alive before being eaten, because some people believe doing so improves the flavor and health benefits of the meat. It's no surprise, therefore, that one of the most popular rural sports in China is horse fighting. Much like dog fighting, two stallions, trained to fight, are brought together near a mare in heat. The last horse standing is the winner.

Irish Idiocy

This video is more of an isolated incident than a sport, but Irish "Travelers" (gypsies to us Americans) are well known for dog fighting, horse abuse and general scary stuff (think Brad Pitt in Snatch). Check out these guys trying to settle a bet-- by racing their poor horses on the hard roads of a major highway. What, you haven't seen "Snatch?" Go watch it NOW! Also, if you can translate any of the Irish-Pikey gibberish in this video, please give us a clue about what's going on.

Okay folks, that's all for now. I'm sure there's a ton more types of international horse abuse done in the name of culture out there, but my brain has had enough. Stay tuned, because this is the 98th North Horse post-- we've only got one more to go, and then it's prize give-away time!


1 comment:

  1. A up and coming trainer who is from Australia but trains race horses in Japan, posted this video, when he was asked to help with a horse at the track.

    Its obviously NOT a thoroughbred. I wondered why he was working on a horse that you can clearly see is half or more draft...
    Thanks for sharing the information!