Are horses sports accessories?
Following a complaint from the German Association for the Protection of Animals, the Potsdam prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in early October 2021 into modern pentathlon Annika Schleu and her coach Kim Reisner. A German athlete is accused of animal cruelty and Kim Reisner of complicity because of their behavior during the equestrian competition during the Olympics this summer her coach, was not satisfied with a few spurs on the flanks, but also hit him 11 times with a whip.
in Spiegel returns to this sad episode, which casts a shadow on the image of equestrian sports, to demonstrate the ambiguous attitude of people towards animals, even towards those to which they claim to be close. Is it really justifiable to demand performance from an animal for the sole purpose of winning a medal? More broadlytokyo drama“not only highlights the brutal lack of empathy of the ill-trained rider, but also raises the ethical issue of using animals in sport, seen as mere accessories.
However, since the creation of the modern pentathlon and the inclusion of the classic equestrian disciplines (show jumping and dressage) in the program of the 1912 Olympic Games, society’s view of horses has completely changed. For many people, they have become, like dogs and cats, companions and partners who should be treated with respect. This respect is specifically recorded in the jurisdiction of Germany, as the Animal Welfare Act states that “no one can cause pain, suffering or harm to an animal without a good reason“and that the civil code states thatAnimals are not things and should not be treated as such..
The gesture of a pentathlete is rather an expression of incomprehension, explains equine behaviorist Margit Zeitler-Feucht; Annika Schleu made the mistake of thinking that the problem she was having was due to discipline, ignoring the mental state of the horse, frightened and unable to express its suffering. This superiority of man over animals seems self-evident even to the most prestigious representatives of the equestrian sport, such as the multiple rider Isabelle Werth, who does not perceive the sporting partnership of man and animals as a relationship that establishes equality. According to her, it is the person who gives the orders to which the horse must respond. Thereby, “training a horse is very similar to training a child“…
Lifeless horses in modern pentathlon
For an equestrian magazine St. Georg, it is obvious that during the test by the Olympic Games, the horse, like the pentathlete, was completely suppressed. But this latest example should put an end to the dubious practices already seen in previous competitions. The state of health of horses loaned for the modern pentathlon would have been deplorable, said a veterinarian who was able to observe their very poor nutrition and injuries due to transportation. At the 2021 German Championships, which were far from meeting the required standards, some were particularly emaciated and one even had to be euthanized. After years of silence, the Tokyo incident now allows for an official position and a decision is likely to be made as early as November. Thus, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) is calling for a reform of the event, the rules of which “endanger animal welfare and clearly damage the reputation of the sport and the athlete“. But the International Federation of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM), if it agrees to “revision“who would take into account”the importance of horse welfare and athlete safety“By reducing the number and height of obstacles, for example, it abandons the principle of drawing lots, which gives the competition all its drama. Faced with such stubbornness, the German Olympic Committee for Equestrian Sports (DOKR) has finally just responded to the repeated indication that horseback riding”is about a partnership between man and horse, not about viewing the horse as a sporting accessoryThe equestrian magazine welcomes this announcement, albeit belatedly, and joins animal rights activists in inviting its readers to sign a petition calling for the abolition of equestrian sport in modern pentathlon.
On Thursday, November 4, UIPM announced its decision to cancel equestrian events after the 2024 Olympics.
Reintroduction of wild bison to diversify German forests
Started less than a decade ago, a pilot project to reintroduce wild bison in Westphalia is causing controversy, according to the headline of the weekly. Die Zeit. And yet, none of the opponents of their stay can claim to have seen these 25 animals, more than discreet, despite their colossal appearance. Disappeared in Europe in the early 1920s.and century, despite being the largest land mammal on the continent, the wild bison survived in an enclosure, only to be re-introduced into the wild in Poland in 1950. In 2013, the Wisent-Welt-Wittgenstein association sent 8 copies, which have since been invested in the Rothaar Mountains. But the planned 4,300 hectares of land was not enough, the bison actually use up to 14,000 hectares, flowing into the lands of neighboring farmers, who are dissatisfied with the fact that the bark of their beech trees is being gnawed. I must say that a male bison can reach 2 meters in height and up to 3 meters in length; it weighs about a ton and eats 50 kg of wild herbs and bark daily. Enough to cause some damage to the Sauerland… Without denying the damage caused, which will be compensated, the expert report acknowledges, however, that these animals represent real ecological values for the region. They help disperse the seeds that enter their fur and create microhabitats where rare plants grow and where wild bees fly to breed and bask on worms, lizards and dragonflies. This increase in biodiversity, confirmed by the presence of several species of dung beetles, some of which were already considered extinct, does not bother the loggers; they want to block the bison on an area of 840 hectares.
Dead animals feed the forest
In the Bavarian Forest National Park, wildlife ecology professor Marco Heurich makes some very unusual observations. Coming here regularly to pile up the corpses of animals, he intends to reconstruct the biological sequence of decomposition, to observe the impact on the surrounding ecosystem. The first visible phenomenon: a very strong effect of fertilization, the presence of raspberry shoots, indicating the concentration of nitrogen in the soil. Thus, a 30-kilogram carcass of an animal provides as much nitrogen as industrial fertilizer for 100 years, clarifies the popular science magazine. PM Store. The phenomenon of decomposition actually occurs in two stages, during which many living organisms perform highly specialized tasks. The first phase corresponds to internal degradation, which begins with autolysis, during which the cells consume themselves, starting with the liver, then muscle and fat. Processing flies arrive a few hours later to lay their eggs; the larvae then feed on the flesh for the first 5 days, causing it to rot. Then the second phase of decomposition begins, corresponding to putrefaction. The presence of flies and their larvae, as well as the smell of putrid gases, attract other visitors: birds, insects and small predators (badgers, martens or foxes). After all, this ready-to-eat meal can also tempt larger scavengers such as lynx or large carnivores. The carcass then became a mini-ecosystem in its own right, also breeding plants and especially fungi that use flies to spread their spores. The researchers counted a total of about 200 necrophilous species in and on animal carcasses, capable of leaving only hair, dry skin and bones in just one month. So it’s one of the most natural and efficient forms of recycling… that contributes significantly to biodiversity.