World Horse Welfare says video of neglected horses is ‘horrific’

  • Horse lovers across the globe have come together to share their outrage at the news that one of Europe’s largest warmblood breeders has been accused of serious neglect.

    The discovery was made after a video (below) was posted anonymously on YouTube. The distressing footage shows a series of neglected horses — some of which are too weak to stand  —  on a farm that John Byrialsen reportedly rents in Posadowo, Poland. The video has now been viewed more than 120,000 times.

    The original news story on the H&H website has been read more than 75,000 times and has been shared by more than 10,000 people on Facebook.

    Police raided the property in Poland and local newspaper Gazeta Poznan reported on Sunday (11 August) that 50 of the most neglected of the 300 horses had been removed from the farm.

    Tony Tyler from World Horse Welfare described the footage as “horrific and clearly unacceptable“.

    “As a breeding facility, we would also question the logic behind continuing to produce horses in such large numbers when there seems to be such a lack of ability to maintain proper welfare standards,” he said.

    “We urge the relevant organisations in Poland to continue this investigation, to take strong action and to work to resolve the situation in the best interests of the horses involved.”

    However, the condition of John Byrialsen’s horses in Denmark was not as bad as some had feared.

    After the shocking discoveries in Poland, Danish police inspected all of Byrialsen’s horses within their boundries.

    The police, with assistance from 2 vets and welfare charities, checked more than 500 horses in 4 of Byrialsen’s Danish properties and surrounding fields.

    The police found 15 horses which were “below the required welfare standard”, plus a further 10 horses who had minor shoeing problems.

    Chief inspector Poul Oestergaard, who helped carry out to the investigation told H&H: “We did not find anything that was that alarming.

    “Mr Byrialsen has been served with an (improvement) notice for those 15 horses and I believe he has already sorted out the minor problems with the other horses feet.”

    The police will return to check on the 15 horses which were deemed to be at risk within the next couple of weeks.

    Byrialsen is most famous for co-owning Calecto V who was ridden in the 2012 Olympics by Tina Konyot. Calecto V is currently being competed internationally by Tina, who has no business relationship with Byrialsen.

    Tina told H&H she is “appalled and saddened” by the situation in Poland. “I’m shocked to see the extent of this suffering,” she said. “It is heartbreaking.”

    H&H has been unable to reach John Byrialsen.

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