Veterinarians in the UK are disgusted by the photos of the Arabian colt, while breeders say the horse's appearance is "close to perfection."
Though humans have been selectively breeding animals for thousands of years to make them look and behave a certain way, a line may have finally been crossed. Recently, Orrion Farms in Washington State published photos of El Rey Magnum, a designer horse considered to be “close to perfection.” The nine-month-old Arabian cold is valued at several million dollars, but the way he was produced has disgusted animal rights activists and veterinarians.
Extreme horse breeding leaves animals looking like cartoons, warn vetshttps://t.co/l0gZtPKOxj
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) October 13, 2017
Doug Leadley, the Farm Manager and primary breeding adviser for Orrion, doesn’t see anything wrong with the colt’s unusual appearance. He told Veterinary Record, “There is never perfection but I think this horse is a stepping stone to getting close to perfection. Often times you’ll get the exceptional face that he has but they don’t have a good body, they don’t have good tail carriage, they don’t hold their head high. He does all of that.”
He added, “He is very proud of himself, he has exceptional tail carriage. He loves to move and he sure appears to be show-healthy, bouncy and fast. He loves himself. He is confident and loves to show off.”
While breeders have apparently applauded the colt’s appearance, critics have slammed the “deformed” horse. Said one commentator, “It’s just so sad to see our beautiful Arabians turned into living cartoon characters.” Another added, “That poor deformed little horse. A living animal should not have to suffer lifelong medical problems in pursuit of some visual ideal. It’s just sad. They do the same thing to dogs and cats.”
Though Leadley dismissed commentators’ opinions, he cannot ignore the many opinions of UK veterinarians. Reportedly, many are horrified by the horse’s unconventional appearance and have warned of health risks. Said UK equine expert Tim Greet: “I wondered at first whether this was a ‘photoshop’ joke, but clearly it is intended to be deadly serious – which of course is what it is – truly horrific!”
“I find the whole thing unbelievable. Arabians have always had a rather “dished” face but this takes things to a ridiculous level,” he added. “Actually this deformity is even more significant for a horse than for a dog. Dogs like man can mouth breathe, but horses can ONLY breathe through their nose. I suspect exercise would definitely be limited for this horse.”
Jonathan Pycock, an equine reproduction expert and the president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, said the horse is a “radical variation” on what is normal.
’This is incredible – it’s almost cartoon-like. Quite freakish. My gut reaction is it is awful – I don’t like the look of it. It’s not particularly attractive,” said Pycock. “We don’t see examples of this sort of extreme breeding where you breed horses for their appearance in the horse world – you do see examples of breeding to improve performance in racing or jumping, but that’s different.”
“He said the horse had obviously been bred to obtain a certain look that was desirable among breeders. But the head shape with a dipped nose served no functional purpose and could put the horse at risk of breathing problems,” Pycock continued. “I would imagine this horse could have respiratory problems – you would have to test it for sure – but you can’t say with any certainty that respiratory problems won’t develop. It would seem to have the potential to impact negatively on its health in terms of air intake. The problem comes when you breed for particular looks and when those looks are detrimental to the horse’s health. In my book, that is fundamentally wrong. This is a worrying development.”
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