The Disturbing Fate of Horses Bred to Look Like Cartoon

Khryss | Published 2017-10-26 00:33

An alarming trend that vets warn to soon harm horses.

Fast and beautiful in their own way but still not enough for some. So, what about we do some minor tweaks and do countless breeding? Guess we're about to reach the horses' version of pugs.

‘Close to perfection’, that's how its breeders at Orrion Farms, an Arabian horse specialist in Ellensburg, Washington state described the El Rey Magnum. They also claimed this seemingly masterpiece to be already worth “several million dollars”.

However, this concerned vets as the “extreme breeding” of horses can drastically affect their health and welfare. As you can see, the nine-month-old colt has a concave profile. This, as British vets and equine experts told the Veterinary Record, is “a worrying development”.

“I find the whole thing unbelievable. Arabians have always had a rather ‘dished’, face but this takes things to a ridiculous level," Tim Greet, an equine specialist, told the Veterinary Record. He said this is very problematic as it can cause breathing difficulties, not to mention horses can only respire through their noses. “I suspect exercise would definitely be limited for this horse,” he added.

Even the editor of Veterinary Record, Adele Waters, stated how shocked all of the professional vets were when she showed them the picture.

 “My first thoughts were, ‘Is this the work of CGI trickery?’ Many specialist horse vets have had a similar reaction. But the truth is this is a real horse and it has been bred to meet the demands of a particular market that likes a particular appearance. Where will it end? Is it really so bad for a horse to look like a horse and not a cartoon character?” she said.

 “The real original Arabian horse’s head was very beautiful but they are now being bred purely for that [concave] look. There is no functional value in a horse having a face like that. Vets believe that if you distort the skull like that there’s a risk you affect the airways and the breathing capacity of the horse,” she added, questioning this fashion-driven breeding and its morality.

The director of the Equine Ethics Consultancy, Dr Madeleine Campbell, also commented on the topic telling the Veterinary Record, “Whilst it is obviously impossible to comment on an individual animal based only on photographic evidence, as a general principle, any trend towards breeding for extremes of form which might adversely affect normal function must be condemned, on welfare grounds.”

Nonetheless, Doug Leadley, a farm manager and primary breeding adviser for Orrion stood his ground, saying that “this horse is a stepping stone to getting close to perfection”.

“I think most of those people don’t breed horses, or show them or aren’t very involved – those are people who don’t understand,” he said.

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