Animal rights organizations: Stop using dogs and horses in riots

Horse forced to be in the police, photo Edvin Johansson on Unsplash
Horse forced to be in the police, photo Edvin Johansson on Unsplash

Dutch animal rights organizations call on the police and government to stop using dogs and horses in conflict situations. Since The Netherlands announced a curfew three days ago, there have been riots.

More than 180 people have been arrested in 10 Dutch cities. The rioters are violent to the police and their dogs and horses.

“Where in the past, people seemed to be able to show respect for police dogs and horses, in the recent riots around the corona measures or the fireworks ban, we see that extreme violence is aimed directly at the animals,” Erwin Vermeulen from Animal Rights said.

“Where police personnel choose this profession and accept that they can end up in such situations, the dogs and horses have no choice,” Vermeulen continued.

Last Sunday, the police used horses to remove protesters from Museumplein in Amsterdam. A police horse was beaten with a stick with a lead head on it. On Monday, images showed how a horse went down in the center of Eindhoven and ran away scared.

In October 2019, a protesting farmer in Groningen hit a police horse with his tractor. Just a few examples, there are countless on YouTube, the animal rights organizations said in a news release.

“Thorough training is no substitute for freedom of choice and does not protect against heavy fireworks, sticks or tractors,” Vermeulen said, adding that the army doesn’t use horses anymore, so maybe the police should also choose another form of transportation.

“This is also a matter of principle for animal advocacy organizations. These are conflicts between people that have to be resolved by people. The dogs and horses have no part in this and can only lose, for example their lives,” Vermeulen added. 

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