When most people think of Argentina, they think of romantic tangos and perhaps of the musical Evita. But they will be shocked to know that Argentina is also a place where appalling, almost unbelievable abuse of carthorses takes place.
The horses, many of which are stolen, are literally worked to death, pull overloaded carts until they collapse.
Once stolen, the horses live for just a few months because they are so poorly fed and get no veterinary care. They are routinely flogged with iron-embedded whips to goad them into pulling carts overloaded with heavy cargo.
We can tell that many Argentinians are right-handed because so many carthorses are blinded in their right eye by drivers wielding vicious whips.
When the horses die their bodies are callously dumped, often in rivers that run through shantytowns.
There are some 100,000 carthorses in Argentina. Their lives are short, brutal and filled with neglect and abuse so extreme that it has to be seen to be believed.
In Argentina, Network for Animals is working with volunteers to end this disgraceful situation.
Ill-treatment of carthorses is illegal, but police and government mostly turn a blind eye to what goes on.
In Quilmes, a very poor area of Buenos Aires, there are an estimated 5,000 carthorses who endure lives of hell. It is cheaper to steal another horse than to care for one.
Local people are fighting to have the Argentinian government ban horse-drawn carts and Network for Animals is with them every step of the way. It will take a long time to get a ban, so in the meantime we work together to enforce the law that forbids ill-treatment of horses and we rescue every horse we can.
It’s dangerous work. Romina Port, a brave, passionate and dedicated volunteer told us: “I have had guns held to my head and my life threatened. Once when I was trying to rescue an injured, suffering carthorse, I told the owner I was going to give the horse a better life. He took out a knife and slit the defenceless horse’s throat, saying: “this horse doesn’t deserve a better life”.
On a recent rescue mission, we found Tessa. She was trying desperately to pull an overloaded cart, she had no horse shoes and was being whipped. If you could have seen her, head drooping exhausted, emaciated, frightened and starving. We rescued Tessa, now she is in a horse sanctuary where she will live happily for the rest of her life.
This is how we will win the battle, one horse at a time. I have pledged to fight for the carthorses of Argentina. Please, please help me. Give generously to Network for Animals to help us end this horror.
For the animals,
P.S. There is so much more to do. When I sent my team to Argentina I had no idea that the situation was this bad. I can’t bring myself to tell you about some of the nightmares they face. We saved Tessa! But I won’t rest until we end this cruelty. Please stand with me, donate today, and share this email.