Species Unite Is Calling For An Animal-Free Olympics

 

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there was global outrage when video footage showed Germany's modern pentathlon coach Kim Raisner punching a horse with her fist and urging athlete Annika Schleu to “really hit” the horse when he refused to jump.

 

The incident happened as Schleu struggled to control the horse, Saint Boy, ahead of her show jumping round, and garnered widespread criticism from around the world with shocked viewers branding the incident as “cruelty to animals”.

In the modern pentathlon, athletes do not use their own horses for the show jumping event. Instead, horses are randomly assigned and given around 15 minutes to warm up with the animal before competing. Before the incident, Schleu was in the lead with a 24 second edge, but when Saint Boy bucked and refused to trot around the course, a frustrated and tearful Schleu repeatedly used her whip on the horse as her coach urged her to “hit it”.

Now, animal advocacy group Species Unite is calling for a complete ban on all animal-related events in future Olympic Games.

“This is not sport, it’s animal abuse,” reads the petition. “Animal events in the Olympics are cruel and outdated. No animal should be abused, controlled, kicked, and beaten for our so-called “entertainment”, and this year’s Olympics has shown that it is not a safe place for animals.”

The Modern Pentathlon federation (UIPM) said Raisner had been disqualified because of her actions during the show jumping. 

Germany's Olympic team chief Alfons Hoermann also confirmed the coach has been disqualified. 

"We also consider that an urgent review of the incident is necessary, especially in terms of animal protection, and that the national and international federations draw their conclusions," he said.

But Species Unite says that “this is not enough”. 

This year’s equestrian Olympics saw further tragedy for horses. Jet Set, a horse ridden by a Swiss competitor Robin Godel, saw the animal rupture a ligament and had to be removed from the course. Due to the extent of his injuries he was later euthanized.  And Kilkenny, ridden by Ireland’s Cian O’Connor, was forced to finish the show jumping course despite blood streaming out of both nostrils.

“The Olympics should be about celebrating human skill, not forcing animals to compete against their will”, reads the petition. “That’s why Species Unite is calling for the first animal-free Olympics.

“A medal is not worth their life.”

https://www.speciesunite.com/news-stories/species-unite-demand-an-end-to-animal-sports-in-the-olympics-after-horse-is-punched-repeatedly

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Species Unite Is Calling For An Animal-Free Olympics