Tierquälerei-Vorwurf gegen Ludger Beerbaum: Springreiter-Methoden erneut in der Kritik

13 Jan. 2022 07:24

Pain for success or targeted touching with a rod? When it comes to the question of whether certain methods in equestrian sport are contrary to animal welfare, there is apparently a fine line. According to RTL, show jumper Ludger Beerbaum is said to use the prohibited training method of the bar.

The German Equestrian Association (FN) has it all in one RTL– Report condemned the training methods shown in show jumping horses. “Already now, regardless of the contribution shown, we can clearly say that the use of square bars as well as dimpled or spiked bar material is unacceptable and not in accordance with the principles of fair equestrian sport,” said FN General Secretary Soenke Lauterbach in an in the statement of the association published on Wednesday night.

The TV transmitter RTL had on the show on Tuesday evening RTL Extra Allegations were made against the world-class show jumper Ludger Beerbaum. In the article secretly recorded videos were shown by an insider, in which show jumpers for the professional rider are apparently trained with the forbidden method of the so-called bar. You can see how a rod is struck against the front legs of the animals when jumping over an obstacle. According to RTL the recordings were initially leaked to the broadcaster in secret.

According to the FN, the recordings have been known for a long time. In May 2021, the association based in Warendorf filed a complaint with the NRW police against unknown persons because of a possible violation of the Animal Welfare Act. The FN wanted the public prosecutor’s office over the RTL-Inform the contribution “so that it can assess the facts on the basis of the Animal Welfare Act”.

“As we have already expressed to RTL in 2020 and 2021, we take the allegations very seriously. That is precisely why we will carefully analyze the footage broadcast on Tuesday evening and then draw appropriate conclusions on how to proceed,” said the chairman.

The broadcaster approached the FN in 2020 with a request for the use of methods that might be in violation of animal welfare in equestrian sports. In response to this, the association stated that it set up a commission with experts from different areas of equestrian sport in January 2021. This should “review controversial training methods and, where necessary, make suggestions for changes to the rules”. The goal of presenting results by the end of 2021 was not met due to “the complexity of the subject of touching”.

There are repeated reports of animal cruelty in the treatment of animals in sport, especially behind closed doors. Last year, a trainer and rider dealt with an apparently inadequately prepared horse in the Olympic pentathlon aroused particular outrage. In front of the cameras, the animal should be put on track by giving it pain from blows and the wrong use of snaffles added should be.

The in RTLReport criticized methods could apparently not recognize the FN chairman Lauterbach as a direct violation of animal welfare. This also has to do with the fact that some of the controversial methods are still allowed: “The boundaries between touching permitted according to the guidelines for riding and driving and the bars prohibited according to animal welfare guidelines are fluid.”

Lauterbach also gave in an interview on the subject to consider that “with around 3,500 tournaments and more than a million starts a year there are also cases that are not punished”. That can hardly be prevented.

In the opinion of the FN chairman, all the video and evidence are required in order to be able to make a “serious assessment of the facts” in the Beerbaum case. RTL had already announced in the spring of 2021 that the present material would not differ in overall length from what had already been shown to the FN.

In any case, Beerbaum, who is currently in Florida, announced that he would take legal action against what he believed to be untrue, “defamatory and defamatory” allegations by the station. According to the equestrian luminary, the filmed scenes are not about forbidden hitting with a pole, but about the permitted so-called touching. “The well-being of the horses is the top priority for me and my team. Only a horse that is properly treated, professionally cared for and fed, trained and managed can perform well in sport,” the British magazine quoted him as saying Horse and Hound. The magazine says it deals with the horse industry, including horse races, which are also repeatedly criticized due to the extreme stresses and injuries and death of the animals. The sums involved are very high, even a national championship is endowed with several hundred thousand euros.

Beerbaum is one of the most successful show jumpers in the world. However, due to the doping of horses – which he calls medication – he has already had to return a title. Also because of painful “training methods” he was criticized earlier and in 2009 in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung with the statement “What is not found is allowed” for outrage. According to Beerbaum, in the current case it is also “unacceptable that it was secretly filmed on my private property.”

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In parallel bars, a horse is hit on the legs while jumping over an obstacle with a stick in such a way that the animal assumes that it has hit the obstacle hard and thus takes its legs higher on the next jump. Well-known German equestrian greats came under criticism not only from local observers and insiders, but also from the media for their brutal handling of the known sensitive animals. Among other things, the internationally recognized equestrian Paul Schockemöhle, with whom Beerbaum had started his career, had to publicly fend off his loss of image after a video showed how horses were struck with poles against the legs to make them jump against the pain. In the 1990s, the FN had to deal with the problem.

Since then, the so-called touching has found its way into linguistic usage, which is defined in the guidelines for riding and driving as “professional sensitization of the horse through targeted touching of the horses during the jump process”. A rod up to three meters long and weighing up to 2 kilograms is permitted for this purpose. By doing RTL-Report, a broken square wood is shown, which allows conclusions to be drawn about a rather brutal “touching”.

According to the Animal Welfare Association, insiders report that the extremely painful methods are the order of the day in leading armed forces. Even those involved in amateur equestrian sport confirm their use. According to the President of the German Animal Welfare Association, Thomas Schröder, the shows RTL-Contribution, however, the more painful ingot. For him this is just further evidence that “horses must never be misused as sports equipment”.

In the course of covert research at Beerbaum, a journalist also found spiked poles, the use of which is undoubtedly prohibited. Beerbaum claimed these came from a purchased inventory of obstacles and had been sorted out. “They are also not used in training with horses.” However, one of the poles was located directly at a riding arena. Beerbaum announced to investigate how this got there and speculated that this was done specifically for the contribution.

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