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Animal cruelty: High diving mules forced to dive into pool of water
These are the shocking images that show two mules being forced to high-dive into a pool of water in front of jeering crowds in San Antonio, Texas.
The two terrified animals, called Smokey and Dipsey Doodle, are forced with a whip up a steep ramp to a ledge.
From there the terrified mules - a cross between a donkey and pony - plunge headfirst into a 6ft deep pool of water 22ft below.
They emerge shaking and frightened - only to be forced to do the same thing again to please baying crowds of up to 300 people.
Scroll down to the video (some people may find it upsetting)
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The sick show - called All American High Diving Aqua Mules - was started by redneck Bill Rivers - who claims to be an 'animal trainer - and it is the climax to a rodeo at the Pipe Creek ranch, which he owns.
It has been said that the stunt is like a scene from MTV show Jackass where people jump from heights into small pools.
Viewers pay $6 each to watch the show which follows a two-hour rodeo featuring sheep-riding kids and cowboys. Texan and American flags decorate the pool and the ramp as they glorify the horrendous animal cruelty.
In a video from just one night of the stunt, Smokey is seen walking up the steep ramp. He reaches the steep drop at the top but is scared, and repeatedly backs away from it. But at the bottom of the ramp a whip is being cracked and down below next to the pool are children wearing Stetsons who chat 'jump, jump'. After being frightened and trying to get away for more than a minute, Smokey eventually inches closer to the edge before diving into the pool below.
During a practice runs, which sees Smokey the mule bell-flop into the 'pool', Bill is heard yelling 'yee haw'. His excitement is clearly visible.
Laughter and chanting can be heard from a 300-strong crowd in a secret video of the event recorded by former British newspaper, the News of the World, one of many excellent examples of its work in exposing animal cruelty.
- What is a Mule?
A mule is only half a horse, a cross between a male donkey and a female horse. Reverse the formula, female donkey and male horse and the product is called a hinny. A male mule is called a John, the female a Molly.
Despite the outrage from audiences around the world, the police and and local authorities in the town where this cruelty happens do not have a problem with the show, or the poor treatment of the mules. They have even allowed the mule show to continue. The mule-diving show is not banned in Texas, but it is illegal in four other states.
But animal lovers and welfare groups are sure to be outraged by the scenes - which undoubtedly cause immeasurable suffering to the poor mules.
Equine creatures do NOT swim underwater - and being submerged is completely unnatural and frightening to them.
The impact of belly-flopping onto the water will cause damage to their sensitive joints - as well as psychological trauma. Furthermore, their hearts will be put under massive strain because of the shock of leaping from such heights.
Bill Rivers claims that the animals have done the jump thousands of times and that it's 'pretty good' and they 'enjoy' it.
'We're getting some flack over it, and it's mostly from people who have never seen the act,' Bill Rivers of the Lightning Ranch said. They are just making assumptions before they really know what they are talking about.'
But British and American vets have condemned the appalling stunt - but still it is allowed to continue.
Even though there are innumerable fears for the safety of the animals, they are still being humiliated in the show. So what can be done to help stop this shocking case of animal cruelty?
- Contact the Bandero County Judge Richard Evans to make him aware of the appalling treatment. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
- Report this event to animal welfare charities in the US
- Alert people around the world to this abuse and cruelty by sharing this hub