The animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has once again asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban all equestrian sports and events from the Olympic Games.
The RTL video footage of Ludger Beerbaum, which allegedly shows the Olympic Rider training horses while they are being "hit" with an illegal method of "rapping", has sparked PETA's repeated request to have equestrian sports removed from the Olympic programme. “Whacking a horse’s shins with a wooden rod to force him to jump higher is abuse—and it’s apparently routine at the highest levels of this entertainment disguised as sport,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the IOC to keep all cruelty out of the Olympic Games and leave the competition to willing human participants only.”
According to the FEI General Regulations art. 142 "rapping" is forbidden during an FEI event or at any event and training other time. It is defined as horse abuse.
The FEI put out a statement right after releasing the footage. "The welfare of the horse is at the heart of everything the FEI stands for and we strongly condemn all training methods and practices that are contrary to the welfare of the horse. The FEI has strict rules to protect the welfare of horses, allowing action to be taken both at FEI events and beyond. The FEI absolutely condemns any form of horse abuse and the training methods shown in RTL's video footage are completely unacceptable from an equine welfare perspective and in violation of FEI regulations."
Also Ludger Beerbaum already responded to the video footage and claimed that "the well-being of the horses a top priority is" for him and his team. "The scenes shown in the riding arena article have nothing to do with parallel bars", stated Beerbaum.
Yesterday, PETA shared the contents of the letter sent to IOC President Thomas Bach, where they ask the IOC to remove the equestrian events from the Games. In addition, PETA stated that its German branch has filed a criminal complaint against Beerbaum.
PETA stated that this latest revelation "is the last straw." PETA: "We first urged the IOC to ban equestrian sports in August 2021 after Jet Set, a horse ridden by a Swiss competitor in the Tokyo Olympics, was injured and had to be euthanized and after an Irish competitor forced a horse named Kilkenny to finish the course even though he had blood pouring from his nostrils. Pentathlon competitor Annika Schleu was caught on camera whipping and trying to force a terrified horse onto the course. PETA feels that this latest revelation is the last straw."