One horse has been killed and others have been wounded during a protest by former Fairview racecourse workers over alleged Unemployment Insurance Fund non-payment…
In a video of the protest, which has been circulating on social media, a large group of people can be seen entering the racecourse and running toward the horse sheds.
It’s alleged that the group arrived at their former place of employment at around 06:00 on Thursday, used a panga to kill one horse and stabbed others.
A Fairview spokesperson told TimesLIVE on Thursday that the protesters dispersed.
According to a statement by the International Racing Club (owners of many of the horses at Fairview Race Yard), workers who were fired for standing in solidarity with a fellow employee who stabbed a horse, protested on the grounds and “chaos” erupted.
— HeraldLIVE (@HeraldPE) September 17, 2020
In their statement, club spokesperson Michael de Haast, whose horses were affected, condemned the manner in which the protesters raised their grievances.
According to De Haast, the circuit has a court interdict against some of the former employees.
“Something has to be done to stop this incredible violence and abuse against these animals,” he said.
De Haast called for action and urged trainers and other yards to stop racing until the matter was dealt with.
The yard managers said that some of the horses would have to be euthanised due to their injuries.
Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu said between 150 and 200 protesters stormed the property, broke the locks of the stables and freed around 28 horses early in the morning.
“The horses were freed and were forced out of the property by assaulting them. They were reported to be running in all directions with their abusers taunting them with sticks and stones,” she said.
“One horse was found dead about a kilometre away in an opening near the houses. It is alleged that it was stabbed and assaulted.”
Just got a press release about what happened at Fairview Racing Yard in Port Elizabeth today.
I am sitting at my desk sobbing. It’s just deplorable. Those poor horses, and their trainers.
What is wrong with South Africans? So much anger and hatred. Something is not right here.
— Brent Lindeque (@BrentLindeque) September 17, 2020
She said all the racehorses were accounted for and the injured ones were being treated by the Port Elizabeth Animal Anti-Cruelty league.
“At this stage, the exact reason for the protest and subsequent death, injury and release of the horses is not known.
A case of malicious injury to property was being investigated and 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.”
On Thursday morning, leading owner, Hedley McGrath issued a press release on the incident:
To all of the detractors who think they are clever by spreading false stories about what happened at Fairview this morning, make sure you check your facts and tell the truth!
I would like the owners of ALL of the race horses that are currently stabled at Fairview with the various trainers to know that it was not just Yvette Bremner’s grooms who took part in the riots this morning. It was also the grooms from the other yards who were part of the attacking and rioting.
The same grooms who are employed to look after their horses were part of this riot! They need to ask themselves how safe are their horses really?
There are currently many false stories being spread, and I am not sure what the purpose of this cover up is, but this morning was one of the most barbaric, savage attacks I have ever seen and pray to God we never see again!
The injuries sustained by these horses was not simply from them being let out of their stables and chased!
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