Special report: horse mutilation and abuse

updated 20 November, 2010

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This compilation of information has derived from several sources, news stories and articles, focusing on the mutilation, abuse, and related forms of violence toward horses.


Horse found March 5, 1998, ten miles south of Alamosa, Colorado. Long winter hair was cut cleanly to an eigth of an inch.
Who would do such a thing?

In recent years many horses - particularly in England, Germany and North America - have been mutilated or attacked for no apparent reason.

Mutilations were first noted in great numbers the 1980s and are continuing through the 1990s, especially in England and Germany.

One of the earliest reports of horse mutilation was in San Francisco, in 1967. UFOs were blamed for the incident.

The latest spree of horse killing comes in Nevada in December, when 34 wild horses were gunned down.

In some cases authorities are at a loss to explain these senseless acts.


The first animal mutilation reported by international media was an appaloosa mare named "Lady" found dead and stripped of flesh from the neck up on September 9, 1967 in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. All chest organs had been removed and the excisions had been made with high heat. Cattle are usually the target, but other animals such as this horse (a 14-year-old gelding found in June 1993 in Colorado) have been found with similar marks.
Some mutilations are said by psychotherapists to be linked to human sexual abuse, while other acts of violence appear linked to satanic rituals.

Mutilations have been highlighted in books such as Dick Francis's Come To Grief and Peter Schaffer's play Equus.

These injuries to horses seem to fall into two categories:

Equine welfare organisations throughout the world are helping police with enquiries into the maimings and deaths of horses.

Be alert to unusual behaviour toward horses, and report any suspicious behaviour at once, either to your local police station or to a local equine welfare group.

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