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PETA yet again calls on IOC to ban equestrian events from the Olympic Games

Saturday, 15 January 2022

The animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has yet again asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban equestrian events from the Olympic Games.

It’s RTL’s video footage of Ludger Beerbaum, which allegedly shows the Olympic Champion training horses while they are being subject to what the RTL in their reporting has defined as the illegal method of “rapping” [also known as poling, or “Barren” in German], that has sparked PETA’s repeated request to have equestrian sports removed from the Olympic programme. “PETA is calling on the IOC to keep all cruelty out of the Olympic Games and leave the competition to willing human participants only,” said PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo

Under the FEI General Regulations art. 142, "rapping"* is prohibited during an FEI event or at “any other time” – and is defined as horse abuse. In Germany, national regulations draw a line between what’s referred to as permitted touching and forbidden barring. 

Following the publication of the RTL video footage, the FEI released a statement saying it has stringent rules in place to protect horse welfare which allow action to be taken both at FEI events and elsewhere. “The FEI absolutely condemns any form of horse abuse and the training methods shown in RTL’s video footage are totally unacceptable from a horse welfare perspective and against FEI Regulations,” the FEI stated. 

Both Beerbaum and the German Equestrian Federation have released statements too, with the Olympic Champion declaring that the RTL Extra report is demonstrably false, defamatory and libellous of honor on numerous points, and that the scenes showed in the RTL video footage “(…) have nothing to do with the illegal practice of “Barren”."

Yesterday, on January 14th, 2022, PETA shared the contents of its most recent letter sent to IOC President Thomas Bach, where it asks IOC to remove equestrian events from the Games. In addition, PETA informed that its German branch has filed a criminal complaint against Beerbaum.

PETA first urged the IOC to ban equestrian sports back in August 2021, following the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “This latest revelation is the last straw,” PETA stated on its website yesterday about the RTL report. 



*Editor's note: Under the FEI General Regulations art. 142, "rapping" is prohibited during an FEI event and at “any other time” – and is defined as horse abuse. In the FEI Jumping Rules, "rapping" is described as follows: 

"The term "rapping" is construed to include all of the artificial techniques intended to induce the Horse to jump higher or more carefully in Competitions. It is not practical to list every possible means of rapping, but in general it consists of the Athlete and/or dismounted assistants, for whose behaviour the Athlete is responsible, either hitting the Horse's legs manually with something (no matter with what or by whom) or deliberately causing the Horse to hit something itself, whether by building obstacles too large and/or too wide, setting false ground lines, placing trotting poles or the elements of a combination at a false distance, intentionally pulling or pushing the Horse into an obstacle or otherwise making it difficult or impossible for the Horse to negotiate the practice obstacle without hitting it."

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