International welfare organisation Network for Animals (NFA) has escalated its efforts to bring the brutal underground Filipino horse fighting events to its knees. With a man on the ground, they are now planning to strike a crucial blow to this illegal act of entertainment that pits stallions against each other in a battle to the death.
So barbaric is this sport that some fighters sharpen their horses’ teeth for maximum bite damage. In many cases, terrified mares are mounted and raped by the winning stallions, and the losing stallion is left bloody and dying in the arena. Wounded animals often bleed from their eyes, as if they were crying blood.
Though illegal, according to national law in the Philippines, it is widely practiced on the island of Mindanao where over a thousand horses are bred annually for this sordid purpose.
“This shameful form of entertainment is extremely cruel to horses. We aim to put an end to it by collecting the evidence we need and taking it to the decision-makers. We believe this appalling tradition has gone on for far too long and now is the time to strike,” said NFA’s chief Asian campaigner Paul Seigel.
“When we received the dispatch from our brave campaigner Medino ‘Dino’ Yebron on the island of Mindanao, it brought tears to our eyes. Dino is putting himself in extreme danger to collect evidence against this barbaric sport. But he recently struck a breakthrough that we are primed to take advantage of.”
Seigel said he was informed that they have one shot to secure deals with influential decision-makers that will finally shut down horse fighting in specific localities. He said the key to stopping these events was through raids, and NFA has been working with local police and politicians to provide them with the evidence and motivation they need to strike.
Two critical raids that NFA helped fund has so far sent six people to jail.
“Now these horse fighting event organisers are all wary of getting caught. It’s not easy to change a culture that’s been on our islands for 50 years but we’re making great progress,” said Dino.
And while he continues to do the groundwork, NFA has also been using its funding and donations to provide food for rescued horses and construct stalls to keep rescued fighting stallions separated at a special sanctuary.
“Dino and all of us at NFA are truly grateful for every horse that public donations have helped to save, and for every criminal taken to jail,” said Seigel.