A total of 34 horses were injured and one killed when an angry mob of protesters descended upon stables at the Fairview Racecourse this morning (Thursday).
One of the owners of a few of the horses at the stables, Hedley McGrath and partner of the owner, Yvette Brummer, described the incident as “absolutely barbaric.”
According to McGrath, the whole situation started when a man who used to work there, allegedly stabbed a horse called Calgary, on February 7 this year. “He was dismissed after all the legal procedures were followed. He went to the CCMA but lost his case,” McGrath said.
He added that more than 40 workers left in solidarity after the incident seven months ago.
“What has happened here is horrible, 28 horses in barn 12 were injured and six in barn one. One horse is dead. These are all racehorses and there is not a single horse that doesn’t have any injuries.”
McGrath said that a shocked Brummer couldn’t bear to see all the pain that the horses were in and he had to take her home earlier today.
“I need to get back to the police because things are crazy here. It is a sad day in Port Elizabeth, a sad day for the world. We have even received calls from Hong Kong about this matter,” he added.
Police spokesperson, Col. Priscilla Naidu, said that a mob of approximately 150 to 200 protesters from the Fairview Informal settlement stormed onto the property of Fairview stables and freed about 28 horses early this morning.
“According to information on hand, at about 06:00, police responded to a complaint of the angry protesters who entered the property and allegedly broke the locks of the stables. The horses were freed and forced out of the property by assaulting them,” Naidu said.
“They were reported to be running in all directions with their abusers taunting them with sticks and stones. One horse was found dead about a kilometre away in an opening near the houses. It is alleged that it was stabbed and assaulted,” Naidu added.
All the horses have been accounted for and the injured horses are receiving treatment by the Port Elizabeth Anti-Animal Cruelty.
“At this stage, the exact reason for the protest and subsequent death, injury and release of the horses is not known,” Naidu said.
ALSO READ: PROTESTERS ALLEGEDLY KILL HORSE AT FAIRVIEW RACE COURSE
Public Order Policing, the community, security companies, specialised police units as well as Kabega Park police members assisted the stabling staff in rounding up the traumatised animals. “The horses are racehorses. Public Order Policing will remain in the area to avert further attacks.”
“A case of malicious injury to property is opened and under investigation. Additional charges may be added.
"Police are warning social media users to refrain from posting false information relating to the incident as this can cause the current situation to escalate into confusion and retaliatory conduct by the community. Any person who publishes, distributes, discloses, transmits, circulates or spreads false information or fake news is guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted.”
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