Posted on August 30, 2020 by  EquiJuri.

If you're too scared to put your horse in the pasture, like most equestrians in France are today,
you’re not alone. 

Right now I’m seeing a blurred screen. I'm in tears writing this post.

According to DW News, France's horse world is on edge.

A series of gruesome Mutilations attacks on horses In France is taking place Now

Attacks have left dozens of horses & ponies seriously wounded or dead. "It is cruel savagery of a kind we have rarely seen before," one official said.

"Ears are cut off, eyes removed and the horse is emptied of its blood to die in pain", said an expert during a visit to a stable in central France where a horse was recently attacked.  

The Washington Post has reported that attackers armed with knives, are cruely mutilating horses and ponies in pastures across France in what looks like devilish ritual mutilations.

Perpetrators are targeting donkeys, ponies & horses. In some cases, they take parts of bone or the animal's nose.

Attackers commonly mutilate an ear, usually the right one, recalling the matador’s trophy in a bullring.

At least 30 attacks have been reported this year so far and counting.

"It is cruel savagery of a kind we have rarely seen before," the president of the French Equestrian Federation, Serge Lecomte, told the news. 

This is shockingly horrible!

I can’t believe what I’m seeing & hearing in the news these days.

I was just reading yesterday the shocking news about the USA Olympic Showjumping Coach George Morris being barred for life at the age of 81 for sexual assault scandals against young riders!

What is going on in the world?

What environment, system, or thinking is motivating criminals like that?

What principles or beliefs can justify a human being to do such inhuman criminal acts?

What do horses have to do anything with this cruelty? And why are authorities unable to protect these amazing creatures, or at least find their offenders?

A total mobilization of horse owners, riders, groom and police in France and Switzerland should take place to stop this massacre right now and bring these criminals to justice!

These are the thoughts that baffle the horse world these days. Shouldn't we better spend our time caring about our horse’s well-being, feed, health, competitions & fitness?

Here’s a quick background about mutilation to give you an idea about the context of these gruesome attacks - heartbreaking to say the least.

What Is Mutilation?

The word mutilation is derived from (the Latin: mutilus). 

Mutilation is cutting off or injuring a body part of a person so that the part of the body is permanently damaged, detached, or disfigured.

Some ethnic groups practice ritual mutilation, e.g. scarification, burning, flagellation, tattooing, or wheeling, as part of a rite of passage. 

A joint statement released by the United Nations and other agencies opposes female circumcision as a form of mutilation.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has condemned non-medical male circumcision as a "violation of the physical integrity of children".

Horse castration is also a form of mutilation, if not done by a vet.

Mutilation is and has been practiced by many societies with religious significance.  These have been especially applied as a form of punishment as in the Islamic principle of “an eye for an eye”.

Are There Legal Sections For Mutilation?

From a legal perspective, Mutilation is a criminal offense.

An Anglo-French variant of the word is “mayhem”. 

Mutilation of cattle by others who are not their owners is considered as a malicious damage offense. 

In common law, under the mutilation offense, horses are considered cattle.

Under the Malicious Damage Act 1861 in Britain, the punishment for Mutilation of cattle was three to fourteen years of penal servitude.

What Is The Punishment For Mutilation?

In the old days, judicial physical punishment was allowed to cause pain, humiliation and to mark the criminal for life. The ears were the common target area.

For example, in England & Scotland, various people opposing the religious views of the Church had their ears cut off.

In Japan, Gonsalo Garcia is similarly punished.

Nebahne Yohannes, claiming the Ethiopian throne also had his ears cut off. This form of mutilation was common in middle-eastern regions for thousands of years. 

American jurisprudence is not any less brutal. For example, Judge J. McNairy sentenced Nashville's first horse thief, John McKain to 39 lashes, have his ears cut and cheeks branded with the letters "H" and "T".

According to the associated press, earlier this year,  a 12-year-old girl died in southern Egypt after her parents brought her to a doctor who performed female genital mutilation. 

Such criminal practices remain widespread in the region, according to an Egyptian judicial statement.

Now, Back To France in 2020

According to the magazine Le Point, with each attack, the mystery only seems to grow.

“We are excluding nothing,” Agriculture Minister J. Denormandie said Friday on France-Info.

According to the Indian Express, Nicolas Demajean, the owner of an animal refuge in France’s Burgundy, had a close brush with two of the suspected animal killers. 

The owner sustained a knife injury when he confronted the two men, who had broken into his property and slain two ponies and a horse.

It seems that many attacks are taking place at the Jura Mountain region on the borders between France and neighboring Switzerland.

Swiss Precautions

Swiss army, police, farmers, horse owners, riders, grooms in the Jura Region in Switzerland should be on alert and take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent this from happening in Swiss Jura Canton too. 

It’s easier said than done of course, but all parties involved should get together. Decide on preventative strategies and tactics to protect our lands and horses from these barbarian attacks.

Swiss Jura Region Should Remain Vigilant

Swiss authorities & horse owners have many measures in their arsenals to consider such as:

  • Border control measures and searching border crossers to ensure they are not in possession of knives or similar white arms. 
  • Cooperative committee of army, police, farmers, horse owners, riders, vets and grooms to take shifts ensuring that horses are protected 24/7.
  • Farm owners can install monitoring cameras or sensory lights to identify any attackers who trespass.
  • Guard dogs can also be helpful at night to stop intruders from moving around unnoticed.
  • Keeping horses in confined boxes (at least at night) can also prevent such unfortunate attacks from happening.

This is indeed a matter of national security in Switzerland that should be taken extremely seriously. Especially that the Jura is the land of native Swiss horses “Franches Montagnes” or “Freiberger” as they’re called in German.

One of every four farmers in the Swiss Jura Canton is counting on horses for a living. 

These farmers and breeders can’t afford any more problems than they already have at the moment because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Their normal day to day economic difficulties and physically hectic life is enough stress for them. 

Insufficient governmental financial support for their horse breeding activities is another thing that should be looked at. I will discuss this in a future blog post.

Whether these attackers are sick, belong to a satanic cult, or participate in a crazy online challenge,
let’s all pray & cross fingers that these crazy criminals are caught, that they don’t cross the borders into Switzerland, and for all these horrifying attacks to stop in France as soon as possible.

May God bless & protect all our French & Swiss horses & breeders in the Jura Region.

Let’s all say it together out loud: AMEN!

About the author 

EquiJuri

As an equine jurist, investor, coach & certified horse professional for over two decades, I manage EquiJuri, a premier equestrian sports digital agency that helps equestrians boost their confidence & improve their results in business, sports & life.Professionals, entrepreneurs & institutions hire me to start, secure, scale, or even sell their equestrian activities, businesses, or investments.I offer virtual legal, marketing, equestrian consultancy & coaching.

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