Animal cruelty: Horse fighting in China
An inhumane tradition
Barbaric horse fighting takes place in China as hundreds of spectators cheer and bet on the result of the brutal clashes.
A mare in season is put in the ring to provoke the stallions into a frenzy. When she is removed, they bite and kick each other until one is knocked down and desperately tries to escape.
Mares are sometimes given hormones. If stallions are still reluctant they can be attacked, whipped, and have gunshots fired to frighten them.
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Hooves fly and teeth are sunk into flesh as the two horses fight fiercely. The battle only ends when one creature runs away all collapses injured. Sometimes, the brawls become a fight to the death and the horses are killed, often suffering slow, agonising deaths.
The horrifying scenes have been going on for hundreds of years and regularly attract large crowds of cheering supporters. In some countries such as the Philippines, horse fighting has been banned but with bribes to police officers and local officials it still continues.
The blood-filled scenes of pain and humiliation for the animals are some of the cruellest ever seen. Animal lovers are always upset at such distressing sights. But to the mobs who rejoice in the torment of the horses, this is entertainment.
Even though it has been condemmned as 'barbaric' by animal rights groups around the world, the Chinese people or indeed the government appear to have little respect for animal welfare.
The sadistic tradition continues, and was most recently photographed in February this year by the London Evening Standard. The newspaper showed a number of horses wuth flared nostrils and rolling eyes violently clashing with each other in the Guangxi province of south China.
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The deadly tradition has also been documented taking place in the Guizhou province and the Antai region. It also takes place in Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea. In many countries outside China it has been banned but still continues deep in the jungles.
Pictures from Mindanao Island, in the eastern Philippines, that were published in 2008 showed families and children cheering as stallions bit and kicked each other. The horses were left bloodied and injured.
Stallions do clash in the wild, but the fights stop after a couple of minutes when the weaker horse backs down or runs away.
When the fighting is done for human pleasure, the animals are forced to stay in the ring and continue fighting until one is seriously wounded or eventually killed.
In Britain, the celebrity horse rider and former glamour model Katie Price has condemned the sport and called it 'despicable'.
Animal rights groups such as Peta, Network for Animals and The Blue Cross, in addition to vets and animal lovers around the world have all called for the barbaric tradition to be stopped completely.