Totilas was considered a “miracle stallion” and record breaker in dressage riding and was the most expensive dressage horse in the world. His life in equestrian sport was marked by agony and suffering.
Now Totilas died on the evening of December 14, 2020, at the age of just 20 years.
A painful death ends his painful life
Totilas died of complications from colic. After an operation, the otherwise healthy stallion got up again but eventually succumbed to the disease.
Animal rights activists mourn the death of the long-suffering animal, which symbolized the pain and suffering of the equestrian sport like no other. “Totilas is, on behalf of thousands of other horses that are abused as sports equipment, the best-known example of a reprehensible and criminally driven sports business.” (Dr.Edmund Haferbeck, PETA Germany)
Tortured with cruel training methods
Totila’s life clearly shows that in dressage only success counts and that horses are misused as expensive sports equipment.
After Totilas broke all records in dressage at the 2009 European Championships, he was bought for an estimated 10 million euros by entrepreneur and showjumper Paul Schockemöhle and the Linsenhoff-Rath family.
But the hoped-for successes mostly failed to materialize
In order to achieve the calculated victories in the future, Totilas has been trained with the cruel “roll cure”, especially since spring 2012.
The horse’s head is pulled down so hard that the neck is systematically overstretched. This is incredibly painful for the animals.
Totila’s trainer has been investigated for years
The application of the Rollkur at Totilas could be observed at many tournaments. Almost everyone looked away when the stallion was harassed on the dressage arenas during and before the competitions.
We at PETA Germany, therefore, filed a criminal complaint against Totila’s trainerEdward Gal and riderAlexander Rath in 2012.
After repeated resumptions, the preliminary proceedings against Gal are currently still running at the Aachen public prosecutor’s office.
Equestrian sports must be banned
Totilas has become the symbol of a sport based on systemic cruelty to animals. Countless horses injure themselves in tournaments and training when falling and die from excessive physical strain.
Horses that their owners believe are no longer productive enough are brought to the slaughterer. Doping is also not uncommon in equestrian sport and causes a lot of suffering in animals.
The horses are often mistreated by their riders with cruel training methods, whips, and spurs.
Competitive sport with horses and the suffering of animals must finally end.
And I mean...Between 2011 and 2013, 46 horses died directly on German horse racing tracks; worldwide there were 735 deaths for gallop and trotting.
This system serves barbaric sensational lust and it is still about the big win, about splintering bones and high stakes … it is what it is: pure cruelty against doomed horses and the complete disregard for life and suffering.
Anyone who earns money in this system can be described as an animal abuser.
It is permissible to keep a horse without access to pasture, to beat it, and to discipline it.
Stress, beatings, brute force, coercion, and fear as well as physical and psychological overload. Horses are chastened, humiliated, broken, locked up, intimidated, threatened, and deprived of their natural needs by force. This is certainly not the case always and everywhere, but too often and, above all, too naturally.
There are a lot of vets who speak out against racing, but many behind closed doors. It just takes courage to openly attack colleagues and the sport. There is a financially strong lobby on the other side.
Horse racing is a billion-dollar business, it is a tradition and a lot of money is made internationally with it. Worldwide sales are around 90 billion euros, not including the number of unreported cases of “black bets”.
Alarming scenes captured at Scottish salmon farms supplying Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi, Morrisons and M&S reveal putrid conditions that lead to invasions of parasitic sea lice. Painful non-medicinal lice management systems that breach basic animal welfare standards on the treatment of farmed animals were also filmed – one of which was operating in a designated Special Area of Conservation and Marine Protected Area famous for its rare flame shell bed.
Around 70 per cent of Scottish salmon farms are RSPCA Assured, while the remainder conform to other supposedly ‘high welfare’ certification schemes such as Best Aquaculture Practices, Marin Trust, GGN Certified Aquaculture and GlobalG.A.P.
More images from the investigation can also be publicly viewed on Flickr.
Promoted as a ‘sustainable’ solution to overfishing, modern aquaculture confines fish in fetid cages by their thousands, creating a breeding ground for disease and causing widespread suffering.
Whilst adult wild salmon are well adapted to coping with the odd sea louse – a parasite that naturally occurs in the sea – the intensification of salmon farming has led to fundamental changes in the density and occurrence of lice in coastal waters. Although one or two lice per salmon may not sound like a real threat, when you multiply that by hundreds of thousands within a sea cage, the consequences are catastrophic.
The lice reproduce rampantly, feeding on skin, mucus and blood, which produces white ‘death crowns’ of exposed flesh on the salmon. Clearly suffering, the infected fish are regularly seen jumping up to 30 centimetres in the air and skimming along the water surface with their tails in attempts to dislodge the bugs. Large numbers of these lice can be devastating, causing skin lesions, loss of scales, secondary infection and ultimately death.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, huge numbers of juvenile sea lice also escape to the local marine environment, causing significant damage to wild salmon and sea trout smolts, whose fragile skin is not yet adapted to coping with parasites on this level.
In response to the invasion of sea lice, the aquaculture industry breeds millions of lumpfish ‘cleaners’ that feed on sea lice, in futile endeavours to control the outbreaks. Other techniques include chemical washes or mechanical treatments such as hydrolicers and thermolicers.
During a hydrolice treatment, fish are drawn into a ‘washing machine’ type device through two lines by live fish pumps. Each system line includes a fish counter, two hydrolicer combi units, fish pumps, water separating units and a filtration system to ensure that all the lice can be removed from the water and destroyed.
As the salmon pass through the system, they are sprayed with freshwater jets to dislodge lice that are not adapted to non-seawater conditions. Eye damage, increased stress levels and death are all consequences of the process.
According to the Scottish Government, fish farms have reported killing 269,674 salmon in hydrolicers between 2016 and 2019. That’s an average of 67,418 a year.
Like with hydrolicer treatments, salmon are herded and pumped up from the sea pen through a tube. Exiting the tubes the fish pass through a tank of warm water, before being ejecting back out into the opposite side of the sea cage. The water is heated up to 34 degrees, which can be 20 degrees above the seawater temperature. It takes around 25-30 seconds for the fish to pass through the entire ‘processing loop’.
Sea lice are sensitive to sudden changes in water temperature and so die and fall off once the salmon hit the heated water. They are then collected and destroyed.
Recent scientific research has found that salmon exposed to water temperatures above 28 degrees centigrade behaved as if they were in pain. Marine and veterinary researchers in Norway observed fish swimming faster, crashing into tank walls and shaking their heads.
According to the Scottish Government, fish farms have reported killing 177,601 salmon in thermolicers between 2016 and 2019. That’s an average of 44,400 a year.
“In my expert opinion and based upon scientific studies from other laboratories, [hydrolicers and thermolicers] contravene the FAWC five freedoms, the RSPCA (2018) welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon and the Animal Welfare Act (2006) resulting in harm and poor welfare and should not be employed within the Atlantic salmon farming industry.”
– Dr Lynne Sneddon (Senior Academic, University of Gothenburg)
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Putrid conditions and severe overcrowding on Scottish salmon farms lead to parasitic sea lice invasions that kill fish and destroy the surrounding environment. End Factory Farming, Before It Ends Us.
SPANA (Head Office – London) – helping the working animals of the world who may otherwise not get any support. https://spana.org/
Established in 1923, SPANA’s goal is simple: to improve the welfare of working animals in the world’s poorest communities. Through three key areas – treating, training and teaching – we’re inspiring others to act in the best interests of working animals while also providing practical, professional and sustainable solutions today. We recognise that the fortunes of working animals and people go hand in hand: in the developing world, just one working animal can support an extended family of up to 30 people. SPANA’s work improves the lives of working animals while supporting the communities that depend on them. We rely entirely on our loyal supporters to help us in our huge but vital task.
WAV Comment – we are very happy to give a monthly donation to SPANA to help relieve the suffering a little of so many working animals. Please give a donation if you can – or better still; become a monthly donor. The working animals are sometimes all the owner has to help them make a living. All SPANA services are free of charge to owners; veterinary care and advice – medication, and rest if required.
Undercover recordings by “SOKO Tierschutz” (SOKO animal welfare)and Polish animal rights activists from VIVA! pl and Otwarte Klatki shows the killing of minks with gas.
On two farms in Poland,the third-largest fur producer in the world, exclusive recordings show how minks survive gassing, are brutally slain, and slowly die among carcasses. It is the world’s first recordings from the gasification boxes.
Although a new animal welfare law has been introduced in Poland, millions of minks are again being killed for the fur trade – in a cruel way.
The so-called harvest in a Polish fur farm: rows of minks are thrown into a gas box that is filled with carbon dioxide.
A hidden camera in the box proves the horror.
The animals, which are good swimmers, can hold their breath for up to five minutes and run around in the box in a panic. The bloodied walls of the box are silent witnesses of the agony.
After forty minutes the box is opened. Several animals are still alive. The workers try to crush them or to kill them. Even after this ordeal, breathing minks end up on the carcass heap.
The minks are put in boxes for killing, into which gas is then passed. The animals suffocate in agony. (Photo: Soko Tierschutz)
They will slowly die with their bones shattered. Everyday life for the workers, who cynically comment on the suffering of the animals:“There are two more alive. Beware of those who are alive, they will bite you”. A worker who wants to kill a mink with a kick is admonished not to destroy the head and thus the fur. The animal is then hit against a wooden edge.
The drama repeats itself on a second farm with over 10,000 animals.
Here, too, animals are hit against an edge, the animals fight desperately in the gas and under the corpses, there are minks that come out of the box alive after the gassing and are gassed again.
In both cases, the gas comes from the Linde Group. The logo of the company, which produces a large part of the CO2 in Germany, is emblazoned on the gas bottles.
Image: SOKO Tierschutz
SOKO Tierschutz calls on Linde to immediately stop supplying the entire fur industry with gas. “Linde is complicit in these tortures. It is no secret how terrible it is to live and die for the useless furs. Linde is part of this barbarism. We will remind the company of its responsibility with a campaign,” explains Friedrich Mülln, Spokesman for “SOKO animal welfare”.
In the meantime, Linde has declared that it does not want to supply any gas to fur farms in Poland. SOKO animal welfare is pushing for a worldwide delivery stop for the killing gases of the fur industry.
“We will also take action against Linde’s competitors in the next few months,” the SOKO spokesman announced.
“SOKO animal welfare” appeals to the Polish government to end the fur industry and to continue the path that has already been taken towards a ban on fur farms, despite massive opposition from the fur lobby.
For fur-breeders from the Netherlands, Denmark, and Finland, Poland has become an Eldorado for gigantic animal factories, where you can do what would be forbidden in your home countries or not possible due to high environmental standards.
“That must have an end. The EU first needs a ban on cruel fur farming and then an import ban on furs, because this is the only way to effectively prevent these crullers from escaping to third countries and to protect the lives of animals worldwide, ” said Mülln
And I mean…Poland, along with Denmark and Finland, is one of the largest exporters of fur in Europe, especially of mink.
Unlike in Denmark, where many mink will be killed this year because they may transmit the coronavirus, the regular “fur harvest” is currently taking place in Poland.
The pictures in the video show that the minks do not pass out quickly and die quickly, as the agricultural lobby likes to claim.
Fur farming has long been banned in many European countries. Corona made a great contribution to this.
In Germany, the “Animal Products Trade Act” came into force in 2017, which introduced such strict rules that the last fur farm soon closed.
In many other countries – Austria, the Czech Republic, France, or Norway – keeping them is prohibited or it is expiring.
The Netherlands is now ending prematurely because of Corona.
In Poland, on the other hand, according to animal rights activists, five to six million minks are killed on several hundred farms every year.
The agricultural lobby is strong in the country and in parliament because several thousand people work in the industry.
And so the mink breeding and torture continues for the time being.
“Humanity is waging war against nature. That is suicidal. Nature always strikes back with full force and fury,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this week at a meeting of the United Nations.
Yes, it is! With factory farming (in any form) we have created situations where it is very easy for a virus or other pathogen to jump from one species to another.
But human animals (unlike other species) never learn from their mistakes.
We will not be able to prevent pandemics in the future either, and it is our own fault.