One arrested after violence at Fairview racecourse

Faireview racecourse. Image: Sportingpost.co.za

In a video of the protest, which has been circulating on social media, a large group of people can be seen entering the racecourse and running toward the horse sheds.

One person has been arrested – and remains behind bars in police cells – following violence at a racecourse in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

But no one has been arrested for the killing of a horse, and the wounding of several more.

This was confirmed by police on Friday morning – the day after a mass protest erupted on the fields of the Fairview Race Yard in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

One horse was killed and others injured when disgruntled former employees stormed the grounds.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu told News24 that one person, aged 49, had been arrested on Thursday for public violence and malicious damage to property.

“He is expected to appear in court on Monday,” she said.

Asked whether any people had been arrested for the violent attacks on the animals, she said no.

In a video of the protest, which has been circulating on social media, a large group of people can be seen entering the racecourse and running toward the horse sheds.

It’s alleged that the group arrived at their former place of employment around 06:00 on Thursday, and used a panga to kill one horse and stabbed others.

Naidu said between 150 and 200 protesters stormed the property, broke the locks of the stables and freed around 28 horses early in the morning.

“The horses were freed and were forced out of the property by assaulting them. They were reported to be running in all directions with their abusers, taunting them with sticks and stones,” she said.

“One horse was found dead about a kilometre away in an opening near the houses. It is alleged that it was stabbed and assaulted.”

She said all the racehorses were accounted for and the injured ones were being treated by the Port Elizabeth Animal Anti-Cruelty League.

READ MORE: Charges laid after protesters attack racehorses in PE, kill one

“At this stage, the exact reason for the protest and subsequent death, injury and release of the horses is not known.”

According to a statement by the International Racing Club, owners of many of the horses at Fairview Race Yard, workers who were fired for standing in solidarity with a fellow employee who stabbed a horse, protested on the grounds and “chaos” erupted.

In their statement, club spokesperson Michael de Haast, whose horses were affected, condemned the manner in which the protesters raised their grievances.

According to De Haast, the circuit has a court interdict against some of the former employees.

“Something has to be done to stop this incredible violence and abuse against these animals,” he said.

De Haast called for action and urged trainers and other yards to stop racing until the matter was dealt with.The yard managers said that some of the horses would have to be euthanised due to their injuries.

The International Racing Club has called for action and for all training to be halted until the matter is resolved.

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