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John “Shark” Hanlon, an Irish horse trainer, brought his horse named Hewick into a pub in Ireland as a part of a ‘homecoming celebration’ after he won the US Grand National. The poor horse was brought into a noisy bar, made to pose for pictures, and even had some foam from a Guinness put onto his lips that his trainer purchased.

Hewick had just won a race in New Jersey with a prize of $500,000. PETA has called out the publicity stunt as a ‘cheap laugh’ and told CNN that the “publicity stunt wasn’t done for Hewick’s benefit.”

John “Shark” Hanlon posted a video on Twitter of him walking the horse into a small bar and immediately ordering a pint of Guinness. Everyone in the bar stopped and were taking pictures as Hanlon held the horse’s head to get him to pose for pictures.

A statement from PETA read, “Poor #Hewick This publicity stunt was done for a cheap laugh Perhaps to distract punters from the fact that trainers are still whipping horses, risking catastrophic injuries, and running them to death just for a chance at the prize money.”

Hanlon responded to PETA’s statement and said that everything was checked before the horse went into the pub.

“Hewick is a very safe horse, you could nearly call him a pet, he doesn’t buck or kick,” Hanlon said in a statement. “When bringing him into the pub we double checked everything was safe. We brought him in, turned him around, and walked out with him.”

Another video shows Hanlon putting the pint of beer up to the horse’s lips. He later tweeted a picture of Hewick in his stable with the caption, “He’s not very drunk, you know, from the small bit of foam that he didn’t even drink cause he had his lips closed.”

“Horses are not ‘show and tell’ playthings – they are sensitive animals who are easily spooked,” Elisa Allen, PETA Vice President of UK Programmes and Operations, said in a statement.

PETA is right, horses are not for show and tell and they should not be used for our entertainment. This poor horse is already forced to compete in deadly horse races.

Racing horses are mistreated on racetracks around the United States. In 2018, almost 10 horses died a week in the country. That’s significantly higher than the number of recorded racing horse deaths in Europe or Asia. From doping to the general abuse of animals, there’s something incredibly wrong with the racehorse industry. To make matters worse, fractures are a death sentence for horses and have proven to be a quite frequent occurrence.

We hope that Hanlon will be punished for using and exploiting Hewick.

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