Network for Animals were delighted to catch up with Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr this November, to offer thanks for his continued stance against Organized Horse Fighting.
Despite being illegal in the Philippines, organized horse fights take place in city stadiums, often with the support of local politicians. Raucous crowds of hundreds pay entry fees in anticipation of intense violence, gore, even death. Bouts take place over derby weekends, with 24 stallions subjected to terrible physical violence each day in gruesome one-on-one battles.
As a ‘prize’, the victor of each fight mounts a single mare, tied in the center of the ring, her scent having been used to stir the aggressions of the stallions. Although the assertion of dominance is a natural equine instinct, the months of training that a horse will endure for commercial fighting is far removed from natural practice. Almost as far removed as the repeated rape of the mare, twelve times a day by a different stallion each time, potentially for three days in a row.
Taking a stand against Organized Horse Fighting is dangerous. Local officials can be fiercely protective of the activity and generally defy the national government’s authority on the issue, to the extent that local police are often hired by the promoters for crowd control. The strength of organized criminal networks running these fights is a powerful influence in the continuation of this illegal blood sport.
Network for Animals were delighted in 2014 when Governor Zubiri stood against Organized Horse Fighting in the province of Bukidnon. His decision followed years of lobbying by our team members, and successful petitioning by our supporters. Almost three years later, his stance has been strong and he has repeatedly attempted to close down fights within his jurisdiction.
Network for Animals continue to monitor and pursue progress in Bukidnon and across the Philippines. Please support our efforts to prevent the abuse of horses us by signing our petition and offering a donation to support our work.