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Animal cruelty: Horse fighting in China

Updated on February 20, 2012

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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Two horses fight in front of crowds in south China's Guangxi Zhuang region
Two horses fight in front of crowds in south China's Guangxi Zhuang region
Two more stallions clash at the festival in Guangxi Zhuang
Two more stallions clash at the festival in Guangxi Zhuang

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.

A stallion goes to bite its rival at an event in the Philippines
A stallion goes to bite its rival at an event in the Philippines
A stallion with a severely cut face is about to fall over
A stallion with a severely cut face is about to fall over
The frenzied horses sweat as the excited crowd looks on
The frenzied horses sweat as the excited crowd looks on

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.


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    • profile image

      undercover productions 

      7 years ago

      We are looking for support for our horsefighting documentary. Check it out here :

    • profile image


      8 years ago



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    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 

      8 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      OMG!!! what kind of sick entertainment of animal of any kind fighting! I never knew they had horse fights.WRONG on so many levels! those poor creatures. I cried over this hub. We need to stop this somehow.

    • Rickrideshorses profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from England

      Some very antediluvian people out there.

    • Kalux profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      Oh my goodness! I never knew horse fighting existed! I'm quite surprised and disgusted.

    • profile image

      gabriel horne 

      8 years ago

      the chinese are horrible people. even in the west, they are selfish and barbaric but they hide it well because they are also very cunning. ban shark fin soup!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is gross!!! This just shows that China has no respect for gods great creatures!!! For one who has horses this absoultly heart breaking!

    • profile image

      audrey B 

      8 years ago

      i cant believe what i`ve just witnessed on a TV show tonight (when good pets go bad). i`ve never seen anything so shocking, horses actually being made to fight each other. i`ve heard of the ugly world of cock & dog fighting, which is so sickening, but now this. are chinese people sub-human, why is this cruel practice allowed to happen? the eyes of the spectators were on fire with exitement while the huge, white eyes of the terrified horses told another story. it`s a pity the horses didn`t break out & trample those barbarians to death. please ban all chinese products & tell anyone & everyone about this dreadful practice.

    • profile image

      Henry Jines 

      8 years ago

      This really pisses me off man. The looks on there faces says it all, these people have no emotions. And I don't mean to judge all chinese or asians. But the evidence hits you so hard in your soul, in this case my soul. I can't help but to feel like my blood is boiling rightnow. From watching this and other videos.We have to boycott everything China right now. And any celebrity or individuals sporting minks or fur attire, we must beat the crap out of them. This is how I feel. This is so sick..

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      l'horreur continue ! ces gens n'ont aucune morale non content de torturer nos amis chiens et chats avant de les manger!!! sans aucune empathie. ils pratiquent la cruauté ,la torture,en toute conscience il n'y a qu'à regarder leurs visage sur les vidéos du net !!!ça en dit long sur leur état d'esprit!!!un pays ou les droits de l'homme ne sont pas respectés ceci explique celà!!c'est une ignominie!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Sometimes,when I go through the |Chine shopiing center in Belgrade,i can`t stop thinking that chine people have no emotions ,they like a robots,made only for work...i`m not surprised for thing like this ... they eat everyting and do everyting...sad sad sad very sad...and the civilisation like them survived a couple thousands years...:-(((

    • equine profile image

      Melissa Kanzelberger 

      9 years ago from Hillsboro, MO

      Oh my goodness! This is horrendous! Michael Vick reincarnate!!

    • Rickrideshorses profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from England

      This has nothing to do with poverty, it's about people in these countries having no empathy or care for animals and actually enjoying seeing them suffer.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Some use arguments like poverty in China, Philippines etc driving people to eat dogs, cats etc WHAT ABOUT THIS??? Is this also a mean of survival?????

    • profile image 

      9 years ago

      They are actually sick in the head.. some days I wonder why god allowed people such as this to be put on the earth.

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      9 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      This is completely disgusting and heartbreaking. And I wonder why we fight so endlessly for the end of animal abuse. People are so damned ignorant and evil, sometimes, that it makes me sick. Thank you, Rickrideshorses, for having the fortitude to share this ugly, heinous side of "human" (sub) behavior....something needs to be done immediately....I support any and all who fight against this despicable and outrageous cruelty. This type of thing really makes me angry!!!!

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      9 years ago from now on

      Well not surprising that a country that has no respect for human rights treats animals like this! great hub to bring attention to life as a Chi-Com.


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