An independent animal welfare group said yesterday it is filing cruelty charges against the veterinary teaching department at Zimbabwe's main university after three emaciated, ailing and distressed horses were killed using an axe and a knife.
The Veterinarians for Animal Welfare organisation said the heavily indebted University of Zimbabwe lacked expertise, equipment and drugs to put down the animals humanely. The horses were taken to a zoo outside Harare last month where their carcasses were fed to lions.
It said a stun gun failed to knock out the horses and they were struck on the head with the blunt edge of a heavy farm axe. They were not dead, their eyelids were still fluttering, when their throats were cut, the group said. Cruelty charges carry the penalty of a fine.
Six horses were first brought to the university facility from a bankrupt farm south of the capital, the veterinarians said in a statement. Three were taken away by the national police horseback unit but officers said they could not afford to look after all six.
The three surviving horses are well groomed and cared for and recently were used to give joy rides to children at the mounted police exhibits at the Harare agricultural exposition in the last week of August, the animal rights group said.