How long should this continue? –Agonized horses at Ageumashinji festival
Horses rolling down
Horses strangled by people
Horses surrounded by unfamiliar crowd
A horseman clutches tightly to the horses back
Bits are tightly pulled
Horses are usually timid and are unable to move forward when strangers surround them. Such animals are in a situation where people in colorful clothes, unfamiliar men who are excited, and there is a tall wall in front of them.
Such an event is thought to be the Shinto ritual, and the crowds cry out loud to round up horses. It is obscene that people cheer to see horses tumble down, and humans get injured.
Accidents have happened even after the angle of wall has improvedThis movie captures the Ageuma Shinji festival at Tado Shrine in Mie prefecture.
Another shrine called Inabe shrine in Mie prefecture also holds the Ageuma festival.
This shrine has improved the wall by changing its angle. However, a horse tripped and due to its blank stare it was determined that it needed to be slaughtered.
It is necessary to remove the last wall.
The Shrine ritual that agonizes horsesKids witnessed the event that brutalizes horses are made to believe that it’s ok to stress, trip, and injure horses for fortune-telling or human’s joy.
We should not exhibit such an event where animals’ suffering as in the program.
Brutal treatments are common…?Men who treat horses show their lack of understanding of the animal.
It’s usual that men slap the horses bottoms while passing by, they pull the bits for no reason, and grab the front legs. This is considered to be violation of the animal protection law.
There have been some warnings issued by local police and prefecture, but there should be stronger warnings by them.
It should be considered a violatation of the fundamental principles of the animal protection law, and therefore punishment should be given for this act.
Request for ultimate solution
The horsemen are minors, and the training usually lasts only a month.
It appears as though they barely ride and hold on to the horse. We should change this practice in a way that only people who are trained properly to treat horses can ride them and be in the crowd.
As mentioned before, not only the angle of the wall should be improved, the last wall should be removed.
In addition, crowds that are too close to the horses in the current practice should be distant taking the horses’ stress and fear into account.
With this proposal of improvement, we also would like to wish for the ultimate solution. That is, there will be no animals involved to tell fortunes.
The letter was sent to Tada Shrine.
Dear Tada Shrine,
An open letter from the Animal Rights Center has been sent to Tada Shrine. Also, a request to seek warning to the prefecture has been made.
We, the Animal Rights Center, are an NPO that thrives for a society where humans and animals can co-exist peacefully.
We are writing this to you, Tada shrine, which has been problematic to treat horses violently and brutally, to abolish its practice to use horses, or improve the treatment even if you decide to continue.
Horses are usually timid and are unable to move forward when strangers surround them.
It is inappropriate in terms of animal welfare for such animals to be surrounded by people in colorful clothes and excited men, and made to run up on the hill by a man who receives only month-training.
Citizens and kids who witness such an event where horses are brutally used, get the impression that it’s ok to stress, trip, injure, and sometimes kill horses for fortune-telling or human’s joy.
We should not exhibit such an event where animals’ suffering is in the program.
Furthermore, you should not attract visitors in such a way.
It is nice for the community to get together for an event. However, we are not living in a time where society allows us to include agony of horses in the event.
In the event held in 2017, there were horses tripped over, men who persistently grab the horses’ legs, and caused pain by pulling the bits tightly, slapped the horses’ bottoms for no reasons, and the horseman choking the horse’s necks.
Also, the horses were unreasonably close to the crowd, which caused enormous mental fear and pressure.
The scope of the Act on Animal Protection and Management of Animals include Shinto rituals and traditions so there’s no excuse to allow this to happen even for a Shinto ritual.
It’s easy to predict accidents may occur, and so clear to see inappropriate treatment of horses. This not only violates the spirit of the act, but also may be subject to punishment.
Reference : https://www.env.go.jp/nature/dobutsu/aigo/1_law/files/n_07.pdf
We find it problematic when there are clearly problematic behaviors, and yet no solutions have been implemented.
We request prompt measurements as follows:
- Surrounding crowd must be distant
- The last steep hill (wall) must be removed
- Bits should not be kept pulled
- Only people who have treated the horses for a long time will be allowed close proximity to the horses.
- Groups that present problematic behaviors must be removed from attendance of the event the following year.
The clear problematic behaviors observed in the event of 2017
The following picture shows the group that grabs the horses’ front leg and tries to lift them forcibly.
The group below keeps pulling the bit
The group below smacks horses’ hips while running
Tradition transforms into how it fits times.
Traditions that include violence should be abolished.
We request improvement for the welfare of the horses, as well as discontinuance of utilization of horses at festivals.
*Video provided by the Japanese Coalition for Animal Welfare
The organization has been fighting for improvement of treatment of horses at Ageuma festival for a long time. The link below shows records of accidents in past events.
Ageuma Festival – Details, history and circumstance: https://www.dokyoren.com/%E4%B8%8A%E3%81%92%E9%A6%AC%E7%A5%9E%E4%BA%8B/%E8%A9%B3%E7%B4%B0-%E6%AD%B4%E5%8F%B2%E3%81%A8%E7%8A%B6%E6%B3%81/
Translation to English: Seika K
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