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PETA: Animal rights organization slams trainer for parading racehorse in pub



CNN

A leading animal rights organization has slammed an Irish racehorse trainer for parading his winning steed in a pub earlier this week.

On Monday, John “Shark” Hanlon posted a video on Twitter of him leading US Grand National winner Hewick to a pub as part of celebrations for the horse’s return.

Hewick had won the lucrative race – with a $500,000 purse – in New Jersey on October 15 before returning to Ireland.

The video shows Hanlon entering the bustling pub with the seven-year-old horse before patrons fall silent and start taking pictures.

However, animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) told CNN that “the publicity stunt was not done to benefit Hewick.”

“Horses are not ‘show and tell’ toys – they are sensitive animals that are easily spooked,” said Elisa Allen, PETA’s UK vice president of programs and operations, in a statement.

“Anyone who has a shred of respect for horses knows that a noisy, cramped pub with no obvious exit is a stressful and dangerous environment for them.

“This…was done for a cheap laugh, perhaps to distract bettors from the fact that trainers are still whipping horses, risking catastrophic injury and executing them to death just for a chance at the prize money. ”

In a statement to CNN, Hanlon responded to PETA’s criticism by saying everything was double-checked before the horse entered the pub.

“Hewick is a very safe horse, you could almost call him a pet, he doesn’t walk or kick,” Hanlon said in a statement.

“When we brought him to the pub, we checked that everything was safe. We brought him in, turned him around and walked him out.

Hanlon, who in the video was trying to calm the horse down, also asked for a pint of Guinness. Another video shows the drink being put on the horse’s lips.

On Tuesday, John Hanlon Racing tweeted a photo of Hewick in his stable with a caption reading: “He’s not very drunk you know because of the little bit of foam he didn’t even drink because his lips were closed.”

Hewick was among the favorites to win the US Grand National last month and produced an impressive performance to stand out from the pack.

The horse now commands respect across Europe and is lined up for major races next year including the UK Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The viral video has garnered over 500,000 views on Twitter, garnering both criticism and support.

“He looks terrified,” said one social media user, while another tweeted, “Why would he be terrified, he’s used to being surrounded by large, noisy crowds that…wouldn’t disturb this horse. ”



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