Horse scandals at the Olympics: criminal charges against IOC and equestrian association

Horse scandals at the Olympics
Criminal complaint against the IOC and the equestrian association

The equestrian competitions at the Olympic Games continue to cause a stir. A Swiss animal welfare organization is taking legal action against the IOC and the equestrian association. It’s not just about the modern pentathlon, but about cruelty to animals in all competitions.

After the dramatic incidents in the modern pentathlon during the Tokyo Olympics, another organization has taken legal action. The animal welfare organization based in Switzerland IG Wild bei Wild filed a criminal complaint against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Equestrian Federation (FEI) with the Lausanne Public Prosecutor’s Office.

IOC and FEI are accused of violating animal welfare legislation as well as several articles of the Animal Welfare Act and the Animal Welfare Ordinance. According to media reports, “the whole world was able to observe animal cruelty in equestrian sport on various days, especially on August 1st, 5th and 6th, 2021”, the letter says, in the incidents in dressage, eventing, show jumping and in the pentathlon at Olympia are given as a reason for the display.

In addition to the much discussed “Schleu” case, the animal welfare organization also names the German dressage riders Isabell Werth and Dorothee Schneider. As “Evidence D” and “Evidence D 1”, the winners of the gold medal in the team competition are introduced as examples of questionable methods such as the roll cure, in which the horse’s neck is systematically overstretched.

Also a complaint against Schleu

The German Animal Welfare Association had already announced a criminal complaint against the modern pentathlete Annika Schleu and national trainer Kim Raisner. As the organization announced last Friday, it accuses Schleu of animal cruelty and Raisner’s aid to animal cruelty due to the events at the equestrian competition.

The horse drawn by Schleu had refused in the course in Tokyo, Raisner had the crying Berliner with the words “Hit it!” prompted to use the device. Animals have no place in a performance-oriented competition between people, said Tierschutzbund President Thomas Schröder. The ad also serves to fundamentally clarify this problem. “Of course, an athlete fixated on Olympic gold is under enormous stress at the moment. But that is no excuse for cruelty to animals,” said Schröder.

In an interview with the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”, Schleu recently defended himself against the accusation that she had tortured her horse in a competition. “I did not treat the horse extremely harshly. I had a crop that was checked beforehand. Just like the spurs. I am really not aware of any cruelty to animals,” said the 31-year-old. But she also confessed that she might have said earlier, “okay, it just has no value”.