Centaur | Save horses
Hippotherapy center for handicapped or injured children, saving horses from slaughter house, dog shelter, summer camp, Awaking people to connect to animals and nature again.
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Save horses

15 Dec Save horses

Mass Killings of Horses in Armenia
Artsrun’s house is situated in Haghartsin village, not very far from Dilijan on the road to Ijevan town. He keeps horse-herd, as it is rumored with around 40-50 horses. First I have heard of him from a girl, Ovsanna Hovsepyan, who makes documentary on horses. She described Artsrun as a man who is so mad for horses that keeps them depriving himself and his family. He has passion to save all horses in the world. As soon as he gets some money this “absolute angel” buys horses and sets them at liberty in mountains, to the rest of his horses. Ovsanna was delighted with Artsrun so much that I was ready to believe in his holiness as she believed in it. I even did not pay much attention when once she said that from time to time Artsrun had to sell 10-15 horses since “he had a big family he needed to support” but did it with tears on his eyes and with pain in his heart.

Later I met some other people who also spoke of Artsrun and his kindness very well.

The myth of “Saint Artsrun” was destroyed one far not beautiful day when Borya (Centaur’s trainer) and his friend went to regions, mainly to Dilijan and Ijevan in search of horses. They needed to get 25 horses for forestry officers. Horses had to be mainly mares, preferably massive and healthy, at the age of 3-8.

Recently keeping horses, building stables and practicing horse-riding has become very popular in Armenia. And finding 25 horses in all Armenia seemed to be an easiest thing to do. It turned out that finding them was easy but buying…

One of the first men whom they applied to was above-mentioned Artsrun. They came to know that he had horses but could not sell any of them because he… slaughters them!

Approximately this dialogue took place between them:

They: We want to buy young horses.

He: I don’t have many; I gave all of them to a meat-packing factory. Several mares are left but I keep them for covering them in spring (read: I will cover them, they will have foals whom I can stab in a year or two).

After a bit of meditation Artsrun agreed to sell the remained four mares for 200-300 000 drams each. He gives horse to the meat-packing factory by horse’s weight (500-600 drams per kilo), which is 60-70 000 drams for a horse. And selling young horses is much more profitable since their meat is more expensive.

They explained to him that they were ready to give the most 150 000 for a horse.

“What?” – Artsrun seemed to be outraged, -“you know how much I love this mare (pointing at the mare which they particularly liked)? I adore her! My heart is breaking when I think that you will take my beloved mare and will breed her in another place! I will rather slaughter her!

They tried to convince him but Saint Artsrun was inexorable. By the way Artsrun spends no penny on keeping the horses; they graze in fields the whole year.
When I told the story to some friends they were shocked. It turned out that considerable part of our population had no idea that horses are slaughtered in Armenia.

“And what they make of their meat”, – asked a girl.

“Smoked sausage, the best one in the world”, – dreamily replied her grandfather who had fought in many places and had seen a lot.

“I will never eat sausage”-, – the girl exclaimed. She keeps her promise.

They make not only smoked sausage of horse. People say that till one year old horse meat does not differ from beef and is sold as a beef.

Artsrun is far not the only one horse murderer in Armenia. Outskirts of Dilijan, Ijevan and Gyumri are particularly famous for mass killings of horses.

Enoqavan’s (village in Ijevan) resident Vigen Gabrielyan, aka Vigo has a herd even bigger than Artsrun’s. His horses’ future also is turning into a smocking hum.

When the guys were searching for horses in Amasia (a village near Gyumri) a track driver told them that a couple of days ago men transported in his car a whole track of horse bodies.

One of Ijevan villages was in deep shock when they arrived there. Several days ago a story happened that shook everybody. One of the villagers decided to slaughter his three years old mare. His neighbor who was attached to the horse asked him not to do it offering him 50 000 drams (all she had) for the horse. That sum was 10 000 drams less than what the meat-packing factory offered. So the owner decided to sell the horse to the factory. The woman begged not to do that otherwise something very bad would happen in his family. The man just laughed and brought a butcher. The woman who is famous in the village for reading coffee cup and fortune-telling told the guys she heard human crying when the horse was being stabbed. Next day the horse-killer died in a car accident…

One of the “horse-stories” however ended well. In one of the Kirovakan villages Borya and his friend left their cell numbers to a guy in case if he would know someone who would sell a horse. They were in Dilijan when the guy called and told them there were 5 mares but they were bought and taken to the field to be slaughtered. They rushed to the place and saw a picture. 4 horses are tied in the field and the fifth one is lying down on the ground, one man holding her, another putting knife to her throat and… tears are shedding from the horse’s eyes!

Borya shouted them to stop. The horses were born under the lucky star; the guys could convince the murderers to sell them horses on a double price. All 5 mares were pregnant on 8-9 th months.

A question comes up. Why the owners of the horses with their villagers’ prudence do not wait till the mare delivers and then only slaughters her? And why now the mass killings happen in winter when “the high season” has always been spring and autumn? The answer is simple: a number of hungry wolves, whom human beings already deprived of their food by innumerous hunting, increased. To keep the horse in the stable and buy fodder for her is a meaningless luxury for such people, so horses graze in fields the whole year. And villagers think; it is better to slaughter her than to leave her for wolf.

Armenians are a nation that does not love animals and is cruel to animals. Impossible tortures of dogs and cats are inseparable childhood memories of many-many Armenians. Armenians are cruel to any animal, not only to horses. Of course we cannot save all of them but we decided to try our best to defend from human that precious and amazing creature of Nature – the HORSE.

This is our mare- Salma. Her owner who “worshiped” her decided to slaughter the horse since he needed money urgently. So urgently that brought a butcher and did not yield to any persuasion to wait a little till we find a normal buyer. And Sanami was tied nearby looking at him trustingly. We had no choice but to get her ourselves. Some of the money we borrowed some of the sum friends gave us and we bought Salma for 100 000 drams (apr. 350 USD). We came to know that the last few days she had not eaten anything but pumpkin-peels. Now skinny Salma is getting better. We yet do not have money to buy her oats which is so necessary for her especially at pregnant period but she is alive and has enough hay to forget about the hunger.

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