Here’s a roundup of must-read horsey headlines galloping ’round in the media today.
This sports-meets-pop culture website just posted a thoughtful, vividly-written story entitled “Death and Tradition at the U.K. Grand Nation: Can England’s grand old steeplechase survive a recent spike in horse fatalities?” In it author Sam Wright outlines a history of English chasing, attends the 2013 running of the Grand National at Aintree, which saw two horse deaths this year, and contemplates the future of that race and the sport in general.
In this passage, he describes watching a horse fall (non-fatally) in graphic detail:
A giant’s claw came through the spruce. The air smelled suddenly of Christmas and a great black horse was falling. It was Paddy Mourne, an Irish outsider, and one of the things that TV doesn’t tell you is how far and how massively and how intricately these animals slide. I saw the short hairs of his belly, his hooves, and his head rising while his knees sought purchase. Everything was in motion, 20 feet from the jump that had tripped him. The rest of the field poured around him like water and then he was up and running with the herd. The jockey limped off, cradling his arm.”
Read the full story here.
A disturbing Associated Press story is making the rounds today, bearing headlines like “Horse meat found in nearly 5% of beef products tested in EU.”
The findings follow thousands of tests on meat products across the European Union, searching for horse DNA. An additional 3,115 samples were tested for the drug phenylbutazone (“bute”), to see how likely it was that the horse meat would carry it.
Results varied by country. According to the story,
Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Malta and Slovakia found no horse meat in their tests, but other countries detected higher-than-average percentages in products labeled as beef: French authorities found traces of horse meat in 47 out of 353 samples it tested, roughly 13%. In Greece, the number was 12.5%.”
Of the horsemeat found, 0.5%, contained bute. European officials have stated that ingesting such a small amount poses no health problems. “You would have to eat hundreds of horse burgers for months to have problems,” European Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent.
Read the full story here.
Earlier this week, we told you about the angry English soccer fan who punched a police horse following a match. Well, he is now offering a public apology.
The Sun reports that the man felt that he was acting out of self-defense but is sorry anyhow:
The horse was spooked by a fire cracker and charged at me.
“At first I tried to get him away from me with my left hand and then I punched him with my right. It was sheer panic. I believe it made contact with the horse.
“It was an instant reaction. The horse just came towards me and I reacted stupidly.
“I apologise for it — I did not actually go out to attack a horse. I love animals. I have got three dogs and a fishpond.
“To hit a horse, like — bloody hell — I don’t know what came over me.”
The man’s wife also spoke out, saying, “He normally never goes out anywhere without me. I let him out once by himself and look what happens.”
What a quote. Read the full story here.