06/01/19 Laden with Logs, Horses in Zagreb Turned into Walking Trucks

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Animal Friends Croatia witness agonizing scenes of animal torture and call police immediately

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- The use of horses for transportation of timber forbidden by law – report to the State Inspectorate follows

Late in the morning on Saturday, Animal Friends activists witnessed a gruesome sight in Zagreb: on the way from Mihaljevac to Sljeme, on Gračanska Road, piles of wood are stacked on the right side of the road and logs are being unloaded from horses every five to ten minutes by workmen. This unhidden abuse of horses and violation of the law is happening right before the eyes of the citizens, in the vicinity of the city centre. The activists were quick to call the police due to the violation of the Law on Offences against Public Order and Peace, which sanctions people for “abusing animals or in any other way maltreating them” in a public place. Animal Friends will also file a report to the veterinary section of the State Inspectorate.

Animal Friends once again warn that the Animal Protection Act prohibits “the use of hoofed animals to extract timber from forests and transport firewood, except in hard-to-reach areas where it is impossible to do so without the use of hoofed animals,” which is definitely not the case here.

Luka Oman, president of Animal Friends Croatia, emphasizes: “We strongly condemn the violation of the Act and, given all of the modern forest machinery, we are astonished at witnessing the sight of horses laden with logs and turned into walking trucks in the 21st century, practically in the centre of Zagreb.” The Act allows for an exception to the ban on the use of horses only in the case of hard-to-reach areas which have been confirmed, on the basis of a professional study, as inaccessible to any kind of machinery. Oman concludes: “Given that all of this is happening not so far from the construction site of the new funicular, this is a terrible contrast between the application of modern technology and a primitive attitude towards animals.”

Animal Friends believe that the city of Zagreb will not allow for the torture and exploitation of horses in any way, much like the city of Split, which has recently abandoned the use of horses for the purpose of timber extraction and has decidedly taken a stand that no horse will be exploited on Marjan. The law is clear and its misuse should not be allowed for the sake of anyone’s interest.

Extracting timber from forests and carrying logs is exhausting and difficult for horses, as well as detrimental to their well-being and health, while their work performance is relatively low. Carrying and extracting timber from forests can easily cause injuries, falls, broken legs and necks, and even the death of the horse. Injuries also arise from carrying equipment – belts and pack saddles cause hematomas and wounds along the neck and body, while the chains scrape the horse’s legs. Regardless of the way of exploitation, none of the above is natural or good for the horse; rather, it is violent and grotesque.

Animal Friends say that forest machinery can work much more efficiently than any animal on any given terrain, even a very steep one, and that there can be no claim that the area around Gračanska Road necessitates the use of horses. Regardless of the Act, exploitation of horses is an obsolete and cruel practice and it is disgraceful and inadmissible to subject horses to pain and possible injuries!

More information can be found here.

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