05/24/24 One Horse Beaten with a Branch, Another Collapsed Overloaded with Wood

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Animal Friends Croatia Filed a Report to the Police and the State Attorney's Office Against the Horse Abuser in Podgarić

- The law generally prohibits the use of horses for pulling logs and carrying firewood.

Animal Friends Croatia reported an unknown person who overloaded and abused horses with wood in Podgarić yesterday. The association stated that a witness, who happened upon the shocking scene while mushroom picking near Garić Town, found a young man forcing horses to carry wood on their backs, with the weight so heavy they couldn’t walk. One horse collapsed under the heavy load, while another overloaded horse nearby couldn’t move and was being beaten with a branch by the young man.

The posting of photos of the unfortunate collapsed horse on her Facebook profile rightly sparked a wave of concern and appeals for help for the abused animals. Friends of Animals emphasized that the brutal treatment of the horses by the currently unknown person constitutes the criminal offense of killing or torturing animals, which carries a prison sentence of up to two or three years if the offense is committed for profit, and the abused animal is confiscated. The abuser also committed a misdemeanor against public order and peace by abusing the animals in a public place, for which a fine of 200 to 1000 euros is prescribed. Friends of Animals also announced a report to the State Inspectorate.

"The Animal Protection Act prohibits the use of hoofed animals for pulling logs from forests and for carrying firewood, except in difficult-to-access areas. It is clear that such exceptions are very rare and that a professional report must be drawn up to confirm that the area is indeed inaccessible to any machinery, which is necessary to prevent the misuse of this legal prohibition. Horses forced to perform heavy physical labor are exposed to injuries not only from the wood but also from equipment that causes hematomas and wounds on their bodies, so such torture of horses is rightly prohibited by law," emphasizes Snježana Klopotan Kačavenda, project coordinator at Animal Friends Croatia.

She adds that during heavy physical labor, horses also suffer injuries to their legs and backs. Prolonged exposure to the weight of a rider alone can disrupt blood and lymph microcirculation due to constant pressure on the back muscle tissue. Tissue deformation in the horse's back begins after just 12 to 15 minutes of exposure to the rider's weight, and after 30 minutes, pain is present, while anything over 30 minutes leads to partial or complete muscle dystrophy. Horses overloaded with wood, whose weight far exceeds that of the rider, and even the horses themselves, are subjected to unimaginable pain and callous neglect of their health and lives! They can easily fall, injure themselves, and break a leg or neck. After a torturous life filled with pain, they end up in slaughterhouses.

The use of animal power in forestry, which became completely unnecessary, was abolished in the last century when forest machinery was developed that can work on any terrain, even very steep ones, much more efficiently than any animal. Experts believe that using horses as working animals has no purpose in the 21st century when heavy physical tasks have been transferred from humans and animals to modernized machines such as: forest articulated tractors and machine operators, where one machine and two people can replace up to ten pairs of horses; machines with cranes that grab and load logs; cable cranes for steep terrains; tractors with winches, etc.

Animal Friends Croatia urges citizens not to allow the mistreatment of horses and to immediately call the police if they come across scenes of animal torture.

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