NSPCA investigators witness ‘brutal physical abuse’ of horses at army base

The treatment of horses by the SANDF is being investigated by the SPCA.
The treatment of horses by the SANDF is being investigated by the SPCA.
Image: LULAMILE FENI

The National Council of SPCAs has confirmed that it had to euthanise two army horses due to ‘brutal physical assault’ by members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) during an inspection last month.

In a statement on Wednesday‚ the NSPCA said that it witnessed the abuse firsthand.

“On July 23‚ the NSPCA was at the Potchefstroom base of the SANDF where they witnessed brutal physical abuse being committed to seven of the horses that were being ridden by the South African Army Special Infantry Capability (SAASIC) Unit members.

“Inspectors from the NSPCA were at the base to remove 40 of the 69 army horses. As they were leaving they observed SAASIC members excessively kicking and beating the horses that they were riding. The NSPCA Inspectors immediately intervened and stopped all equine activities at the Potchefstroom base‚” the statement read.

Two days later‚ it obtained a warrant and removed the seven horses.

“These horses underwent veterinary assessments; two of the horses had to be euthanised. “What we find especially concerning is that the members of SAASIC knew that the NSPCA was present on the base and yet abuse still took place. Clearly this is a daily occurrence and how the horses are treated by SAASIC in general. No animal should have to endure such brutal treatment‚” said Marcelle Meredith‚ NSPCA executive director. The NSPCA confirmed that it was the second time this year that it had laid charges of animal cruelty against the SANDF and SAASIC members.

“The NSPCA laid charges earlier this year following the gruesome discovery of horses that had been starved and were found in a shocking condition‚ 25 of which had to be euthanised‚” the organisation said.

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