Grave concerns at rural horse race

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) monitored a rural horse race in Idutywa in the Eastern Cape and were gravely concerned for the welfare of the horses.

Concerns highlighted during the event included free and excessive use of stock whips, incorrect and inappropriate saddling and tack, inhumane handling, unsuitable transportation and no veterinary checks for the participating horses. Horses had arrived already injured and the veterinarians were reluctant to act. The organisers were not cooperative and the situation became hostile when the NSPCA Inspectors attempted to intervene.

There were a number of thoroughbred horses participating – an anomaly in rural areas and one can only assume that these are ex race horses that have been discarded and have landed up in rural horse racing when they should be retired and living out their lives naturally.

A disturbing incident happened during this rural horse race when a dog ran across the track and was trampled by the horses. A clear indication that this race is not well managed and that general safety for both animals and humans is completely disregarded.

We are aware of more rural horse races taking place in the month of November where similar issues are expected – we humbly request the financial assistance of the public so that we can ensure our presence and intervention at these races. In a strained economic time, the NSPCA continues to work tirelessly towards a kinder world by alleviating suffering and improving the welfare of animals in all industries. It is an alarming financial season and we call on the hearts of the public to support the work that we do so that we can continue to improve the lives of the voiceless and vulnerable. Donations can be made via our website on

Grave concerns at rural horse race

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