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Silence of racing ‘fans’ over Government plan to supply China with horses is deafening

As horse racing pundits in the UK give lip service to the horse killings at the Grand National we do not hear many racing supporters condemning the move by the Irish Government to supply China with Irish horses.

The racing venture and racecourse proposed in China will require 600 to 800 horses for its inaugural year, which is targeted to have approximately 40 race days.

This venture is to be stocked with broodmares from Ireland, while stallions will also be sent out.

Also it does not seem to matter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Hong Kong is the only venue on Chinese soil where betting on horses is legal and that authorities are unlikely to legalise gambling on the mainland anytime soon.

While Ireland has no agreement regarding the export of horses, according to the DOA the changes are being drafted now.

We wish there was some hope that the new Ireland-China ‘deal’ would not mean untold suffering to Irish animals.

We only have to look at past and current horse events in China to foretell the future for our horses.

The following is a chronicle of known horse abuse already part of life in China:

l Not many know that in 2005 at the Beijing racetrack over 600 healthy thoroughbreds were reported to have been slaughtered in the Chinese capital.

This was as a consequence of the official reluctance by the Chinese Communist Party to tolerate gambling.

This mass killing was unprecedented even in the harsh world of horseracing.

l Zoos across China are still putting on cruel exotic animal performances, three months after they were banned by the government.

In one show in Guangxi Zhuang this month, crowds cheered as a tiger teetered on the back of a horse, while monkeys, with chains around their necks, rode bicycles around in circles.

l Horse fighting is still rife in China with evidence available from shocking photos of two stallions covered in blood and ferociously biting each other at the annual horse fight in Antai, China, where such animal cruelty is considered ‘sport’.

At the annual event, which dates back a staggering 500 years, horses are pitted against each other as thousands of locals watch, with many cheering them on and taking photographs.

The stallions are encouraged to fight by being led to a mare in heat, and then taking the female horse away when the stallions are aroused.

In a humane society, we would expect our legislators to condemn China’s animal and human abuses without any further delay.

Bernie Wright

The Ward

Co Dublin

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