Race horse killed as disgruntled ex-workers protest on racecourse grounds in Port Elizabeth

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Screengrab of a video of protesters at the Fairview Race Yard. Horses have been reportedly attacked.
Screengrab of a video of protesters at the Fairview Race Yard. Horses have been reportedly attacked.
Accidents & Traffic Information Port Elizabeth
  • A mass protest erupted on the fields of the Fairview Race Yard in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
  • One horse was reportedly killed and others injured when disgruntled former employees stormed the grounds.
  • The International Racing Club has called for action and for all training to be halted until the matter is resolved.

One horse has been killed and others have been wounded during a protest by former Fairview racecourse workers over alleged Unemployment Insurance Fund non-payment.

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 at around 06:00 on Thursday, used a panga to kill one horse and stabbed others.

A Fairview spokesperson told TimesLIVE on Thursday that the protesters dispersed.

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.

Police spokesperson Priscilla 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. "At this stage, the exact reason for the protest and subsequent death, injury and release of the horses is not known.

A case of malicious injury to property was being investigated and additional charges might be added. 

"Police are warning social media users to refrain from posting false information relating to the incident as this can cause the current situation to escalate into confusion and retaliatory conduct by the community. Any person who publishes, distributes, discloses, transmits, circulates or spreads false information or fake news is guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted."

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