In response to the judgement of the CAS to uphold the appeal by a UAE endurance rider of a 20-year suspension (read more here) Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said:
“World Horse Welfare is bitterly disappointed about this week’s overturning of the FEI Tribunal’s 20-year suspension of a UAE endurance rider for horse abuse. It beggars belief that a case underpinned by such strong evidence of ongoing systematic horse abuse could be overturned in this way.
“This creates real challenges about the enforcement of animal welfare in the sport of endurance, and more widely, and calls into question just what needs to be proven before action can be taken.
“To take away evidence of injury by using nerve blocks to hide pain is grotesque horse abuse resulting in horses that are simply not fit to compete. The one positive that has evolved since this case is the development of better methods of detecting physical evidence of nerve-blocking which will hopefully help to deter this dreadful practice and benefit horses in the future by preventing similar tragic and unacceptable losses.”