Stop the Cruelty to horses in Portugal

  • by: Susan Clark
  • recipient: The Portuguese Tourism Industry

I have been visiting Portugal for many years.  Over the past few years the incidents of cruelty to horses has reached epidemic levels.  If you travel around you will see many horses tied up with no food or water (in the very hot sun), emaciated, or hobbled so they cannot walk to find food.  In a recent incident a horse was left for dead next to its cart on the side of the N125 in the Algarve.  It is a very distressing sight.  The horses are skeletal and abused.   It seems that the authorities and Police do nothing or are powerless to stop the cruelty.  The only way to change things I believe is to stop visiting the country until something is done about it and I would ask you to sign this petition and do the same.   Portugal is a member of the EEC not a third World Country.

Dear Secretary of State for Tourism We are writing to urge you to take action in order to resolve the issue of the appalling treatment of horses in your country. We have seen animals suffering in the heat, tied up without food or water, skeletal, hobbled.   There is no government action to prosecute the perpetrators of the abuse. Some are gypsies and some are native Portuguese people. There is no excuse for allowing either to get away with it. It appears that nothing is done remove the animals from their situation. Even destroying the animals would be preferential to allowing them to die such slow and painful deaths. We understand that people need the horses to survive but we also understand that without education, the situation will become worse. Poverty cannot be used as justification to the brutal treatment to animals in your country. We urge you to work in order to bring dignity and respect for horses in your country. As tourists and potential tourists, we've chosen to send this letter to tell you that we won't spend our money in your country while it doesn't work in order to change its policies about animals. Susan Clark had a previous petition that attracted around 2,800 signatures and this one already has 2,200. That’s a lot less tourists who will visit your country and the word will spread as time goes on. You are a member of the EEC not a Third World Country The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union recognises animals as “sentient beings” and requires the EU and its Member States, when formulating and implementing their policies in certain key areas, to pay “full regard to the welfare requirements of animals”.
I look forward hearing from you with details of the action you intend to take

Susan Clark (and signers of the petition)

Update #58 years ago
There is a new online petition to try and help the horses in Portugal. This is to try and get the horses taken away from a man called Antonio Felix. The photo of the starving horse is typical of the sights you see in Portugal. Please sign this petition and make a donation to ARC animal rescue who are trying to raise money to feed the horses.,2994,638318
Update #49 years ago
A huge wave of controversy has surfaced following numerous accounts that a horse was “barbarically beaten to death” by gypsies at a camp near Lagos’ PSP police station on Wednesday (June 10). PSP police have denied the claims, saying people have “overreacted” and that the horse was already at death’s door after being hit by a car days before. Another example of the authorities playing down the problem. I read that the Municipal vet left a horse with a broken leg to be destroyed by ARC rescue.
Update #39 years ago
To do more it is a good idea to write to the Portuguese Tourist Board stating that you will not visit Portugal whilst this cruelty is going on. The more people that write, the more likely something will be done. Portugal is a lovely country to visit except for their record relating to animals. The letter can be e-mailed via this website.

Update #29 years ago

The European Commission's activities in this area start with the recognition that animals are sentient beings. The general aim is to ensure that animals do not endure avoidable pain or suffering, and obliges the owner/keeper of animals to respect minimum welfare requirements.

Why on earth therefore is an EEC Country allowed to get away with total disregard of the guidance of the EEC. It is beyond belief and yet we as EEC members continue to pay enormous sums of money to Portugal
Update #19 years ago
Animal abuse is all over Portugal, often in a horrible way! It's our duty to do so to try and protect them: Portugal has just upped its animal protection laws (for domestic animals but not horses) and the GNR police have a special unit for animal abuse called SEPNA (tel: 808 200 520, email: Please let me know if they refuse to do anything if you report an incident.
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