The popular soda company Pepsi has recently pulled its sponsorship from Tennessee’s Walking Horse National Celebration, a prestigious horse show, after startling and horrific videos surfaced of horse cruelty, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Last week, ABC News revealed exclusive footage of a horse, which was part of the show, being beaten over and over again by a trainer. The video was given to the news station by the Humane Society of the United States, after the organization conducted an undercover investigation.
“We have ended our sponsorship of the event,” Vincent Bozek, a Pepsi spokesman, revealed on Thursday. No further comment was given for the cancellation.
The exact reason why Pepsi pulled ads was not answered, but according to an expert on the Tennessee horse show, whose identity remains under wraps, it’s because of the video, which illustrates “soring.” This abusive horse practice is “the intentional infliction of pain to [horses] feet and legs to produce an exaggerated gait known as ‘Big Lick,’” the HSUS explains.
An animal activist filmed the footage in 2011, which shows horses being beaten with wooden sticks and poked with electric cattle prods. Chemicals were applied to the horses’ legs, while their ankles were wrapped with plastic to intensify pain.
The president of the horse show, Dr. Stephen Mullins, said “For any animal to be abused like that … I totally disagree with that.”
Keith Dane, the HSUS director of equine protection, fully supports Pepsi’s decision and said, “This procedure of soring has been going on far too long . . . the industry itself has been allowed to self-police and with very poor results.”
Dane also revealed the HSUS sent someone in to film, because the Tennessee Walking Horse’s self-policing strategies of “soring” were not working.
Doyle Meadows, the chief executive of the Tennessee horse show, said in a statement, “The Celebration has worked extremely hard over recent years to gain the trust of our corporate partners and we would do nothing to destroy that relationship. As the Celebration moves forward to promote a sound horse we hope that everyone will assist in our efforts to promote this magnificent breed.”
Below, is a video ABC News and the HSUS released showing the disturbing images of horse cruelty. Watch at your own risk, because the footage is very graphic.
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