A man cracks a whip over the poor black horse, forcing it to pull a heavy steel tourist carriage along the road near Muchangpo Beach in the city of Boryeong on the west coast of South Korea, a famous tourist spot. The tourists are enjoying their carriage ride, while the horse has to endure loud music blaring all day. Being herbivores, horses are sensitive to even the smallest sounds, constant loud noise being stressful for them. As the horse pulls however, we can see that it is limping, clearly favoring one leg. There is a lump under its right elbow joint; a tumor or an abscess, we don’t know. The loud music blocks the moans the horse makes to advertise its pain.
The horse slows a little and the man cracks the whip again.
We received a video of this horse on September 2nd. We could not leave this horse to suffer the same fate as Samdol, the horse we rescued from a similar situation several years ago in Gyeongju.
When we arrived at Muchangpo beach the next day, the carriage and the horse was not to be found. A five day searched finally located the house of the man and the stable where the horse was kept. Four days after that, we visited the beach again and saw the horse pulling the steel carriage again.
The man stated that there was nothing he could do for the horse because of the high expenses. Even for a healthy horse with proper horseshoes, running on an asphalt road is never easy. As we suspected, the hooves of the horse were worn, and there were several visible wounds. The man, who did not pay sufficient attention to the injured horse while using it to generate income, was obviously committing a crime of animal abuse.
Without proper and immediate intervention, the horse would have become unable to work and sold for its meat. Initially, the man was not willing to give up the horse since he was making money with it. However, after strenuous persuasion, he sold the horse to us and promised that he would never run a tourist carriage again.
On September 13th, 11 days after the initial report, we successfully rescued and transferred the horse to Seoul. The horse was finally free, and was given a name for the first time in his life; Beckham. We wish that when he is fully recovered, he will be able to run like the famous soccer player, David Beckham. But for now, our four-legged Beckham will be transferred to a temporary shelter in Gyeonggi-do and receive further diagnosis and proper veterinary treatment. He may limp for a while yet, but he no longer has to pull that dreadful steel carriage anymore.
It is not hard to find horse-drawn carriages on festival sites or tourist spots in South Korea. Even the Korea Racing Authority is promoting the horse-drawn carriage business for profit, while many other countries are banning it. Luckily, more and more citizens are speaking out against the animal abuse inherent in the cruel horse-drawn carriage business.
With your help, Boryeong can be the 4th city in South Korea in which we successfully ban horse-drawn carriages, after Seoul, Gyeongju, and Jinhae. Please join us in our quest to rescue all those suffering horses around the country, find new jobs for coachmen, and demand legislation banning horse-drawn carriage businesses in South Korea.
Even though we successfully rescued Beckham from an awful fate, there are still lots of things to be done: Funds for the rescue, transfer and continuous management of the horse must be raised, and further financial support will be required to establish campaigns to ban horse-drawn carriages in Boryeong.