Questions Raised about Dead Horses Dumped Outside Kuwait Equestrian Clubs

At least 14 horses have been found dead in front of two equestrian centers in Kuwait, according to Kuwaiti news reports, an animal protection organization, and a local resident. Many of the horses appear to have died from gunshot wounds to the head or lethal injection.

Horse carcasses in various states of decay were found abandoned in the sand outside the perimeters of the Ahmadi Governorate Equestrian Club (AGEC) and the Farwaniyah Governorate Equestrian Club (FGEC) in January and October, respectively, The Arab Times and Alam Al Yawm (a local newspaper) reported. Some of the horses were still wearing racing bandages, and some were bound with ropes.

Dead horses found in Kuwait desert
COURTESY PAWS

PAWS discovered more than a dozen dead horses outside the Ahmadi Governate Equestrian Center.

"It appeared to be a battle scene, and the horses had lost," said Meghan McCabe, an American resident of Kuwait and a horse enthusiast. McCabe discovered the carcasses in front of the AGEC in January and notified the media and the Protecting Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), a group operating in Kuwait.

The PAWS team found a fresh carcass the morning after a racing night, showing "clear signs that his death was not humane, gentle, or easy," said Barbara O'Neill, a PAWS representative, suggesting that horse owners might kill their horses as a response to poor performance or following a debilitating injury.

However, Abdullah Al-Haddad, owner of El Janah Stud, which is housed in the AGEC, denied such claims.

"Our religion and culture forbid the killing of any animal except for rare reasons such as serious infection or diseases," he said. Al-Haddad said the horses found outside the AGEC probably succumbed to colic or respiratory disease.

Alam Al Yawm reported that the horses at the FGEC might have died from contaminated feed or as a result of infectious disease.

Al-Haddad said horses that die within the AGEC facility must be transferred to a proper disposal site by the owner.

But, Al-Haddad noted, many horse owners tie the dead horses up and use a car to pull them off the Club grounds. The area beside the main road is managed by the municipality and has scheduled clean-ups for garbage. Al-Haddad said the photos of the found carcasses show landmarks that indicate the horses had been dumped too far away from the public area, and the municipality clean-up crew might have overlooked them.

In response to media coverage of the carcass discoveries, a marking method to identify horses and regular stable checks were established by the Public Authority for Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources in January, but thus far the new measures have not been enforced, O'Neill said.

"I am sorry to see that this has happened in our country and in our horse club," Al-Haddad said. "We hope the AGEC will assist owners in disposing of their dead horses using respectful methods."

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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