Swiss police arrest animal breeder after shocking photos show mistreated horses

Police arrested a breeder on a farm in Hefenhofen in the canton of Thurgau on Monday after photos emerged of severely malnourished and mistreated animals at the property.

Swiss police arrest animal breeder after shocking photos show mistreated horses
File photo: AgaKoniara/Depositphotos
During the raid Thurgau authorities seized the farm’s 300 animals, which included horses, pigs, cows, goats, sheep and even llamas, and took them to a safe place under veterinary supervision, Thurgau police said on Tuesday. 
Warning: distressing photo below
The raid was carried out by a special task force put together after photos emerged in newspaper Blick last week of severely malnourished horses. 
The photos were taken by a former employee who lodged a criminal complaint against the breeder, claiming that 13 horses had already died of hunger and others were extremely malnourished. 
The breeder already had several convictions for animal cruelty, reported Swiss media. However the farm had been subjected to many inspections in recent months and no evidence of mistreatment had been found, Thurgau interior minister Walter Schönholzer, leading the task force, told the press after the raid.
However, authorities decided to act quickly after the photos were authenticated by the prosecutor, proving that the animals were neglected and housed in inadequate conditions, he said.
The breeder was taken into custody and will be investigated under cantonal animal welfare laws on suspicion of mistreating animals. He was also issued with an immediate ban on breeding animals.
Supporters of animal rights demonstrated outside the Hefenhofen farm on Sunday and Monday morning as well as outside a Frauenfeld building housing the cantonal authorities, urging them to act, reported Blick
They were protesting at what they saw as the authorities’ inaction over several years, when the breeder’s alleged mistreatment of animals was widely suspected in the community. 


PETA offers cash to ban Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls forever

With the news last week that the Spanish city of Pamplona in Navarra has been forced to cancel its bull running fiesta for the second year running due to the Covid crisis, animal rights activists have seized on the opportunity to call for it to be banned permanently.

PETA offers cash to ban Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls forever
A shot from the encierro on July 7th 2019. Photo: AFP

PETA are writing to the mayor of Pamplona with the offer of €298,000 if the Navarran city ceases the use of bulls during their fiesta altogether.

“People around the world, including in Spain, say it’s past time the torment and slaughter of animals for human entertainment were stopped,” says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk in her appeal to Pamplona mayor, Enrique Maya.

“Now is the moment to be on the right side of history. We hope you will accept our offer and allow Pamplona to reinvent itself for the enjoyment of all.”

Each morning during the eight day festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, which bursts into celebration at midday on July 6th, six fighting bulls and six steers are released to run through the narrow streets of the old town to the bullring where the bulls are killed in the evening corridas.

Hundreds run alongside the animals in the morning dash which often results in gorings, and injuries from being stomped on after runners lose their footing in the crowds.

The festival, which was made world famous by Ernest Hemingway, who set his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” during San Fermin, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the party each year.

The festival, which sees Pamplona’s population swell from just under 200,000 to more than a million, is estimated to bring an annual boost of €74 million to Pamplona businesses, according to an association of fighting bull breeders.

PETA’s offer is the latest in a long campaign to ban what it calls “Pamplona’s annual bloodbath”.

Together with Spanish groupAnimaNaturalis, the activists stage peaceful protests ahead of the start of the festival year.

The city’s former mayor, Joseba Asirón, supported the protests, describing them as “fair and honest”.

Speaking to reporters about the groups’ calls to remove bull runs from the festival, he said, “[T]his is a debate that sooner or later we will have to put on the table. For a very simple reason, and that is that basing the festival on the suffering of a living being, in the 21st century, is something that, at best, we have to rethink.”

Since the pandemic began festivals across Spain have been cancelled but corridas were allowed last summer with limited occupancy and with social distancing and Covid-19 measures in place.

But although Spain’s bullfighting lobby is strong, there is a general trend away from it.

In a poll published in 2019 by online newspaper El Español, over 56 percent of Spaniards said they were against bullfighting, while only 24.7 were in favour. Some 18.9 percent said they were indifferent.

Support was significantly higher among conservative voters, it showed.