Olympic dressage rider cleared of cruelty in case brought by animal rights activists

  • Edward Gal has been acquitted of cruelty in a case brought by the German branch of PETA — and is now considering taking legal action against the animal rights activists.

    The Dutch Olympic dressage rider was cleared in court in Aachen, Germany, of riding Glock’s Undercover in rollkur during the 2015 European Championships, during which the combination were on the gold medal-winning team. The Dutch equestrian federation said the charge was “dismissed as completely unfounded and the judge immediately acquitted Edward of all charges against him”.

    The federation added: “It was the second time in a row that PETA had tried to sue Edward.

    “In 2018, just before the World Equestrian Games in the US, PETA filed the exact same complaint. The case was then immediately dropped.

    “This year, just before the Tokyo Olympics, PETA once again tried to put Edward in a bad light by filing another false accusation against him. Once again, the animal rights organisation backed down in court. All allegations against Edward have been completely disproved by witnesses and hard facts. Edward cannot be blamed at all and has been cleared of all blame.”

    The federation added that Edward is “very happy” at the verdict, but that his reputation may have been damaged by the negative publicity caused by the case.

    “He is now having lawyers investigate whether he will take legal action,” a spokesman said.

    PETA’s Edmund Haferbeck said: “It is a milestone that an animal welfare case with a prominent [figure] after more than six years — and despite considerable resistance also within the judiciary — even comes to court.”

    PETA added that its motto in part is that “animals are not there to entertain us”, and that it works against “speciesism”.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...