A man vs horse race that could have generated magnificent publicity for the disabled, has turned into an animal rights debacle.
The equine world is in an uproar over the race between ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius and an Arab horse in the Qatari capital of Doha. Pistorius easily beat the horse.
But that’s not what’s upsetting the crowds. It’s the fact that the horse’s jockey hit the horse with a whip from start to finish, even though it clearly didn’t stand a chance of overtaking the speeding Pistorius.
Pistorius raced against the horse as part of the ‘Definitely Able’ campaign to highlight the positive contribution of people with disabilities have made to local communities.
The double amputee crossed the line with more than a second to spare.
However, questions have been raised as to whether it was really a fair race, as Pistorius was given a 15m head start and the horse was visibly restrained by his rider. The South African SPCA was also outraged at the treatment of the horse, which it says was “unnecessarily and cruelly whipped from start to finish.”
Pistorius responded to the complaint, “I participated in the race in good faith as it was to promote abilities across sport and I was totally unaware of any alleged excessive force being used on the horse. I don’t condone any ill-treatment of animals. Those who know me are aware of my well-publicised love of animals.”