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Deaths in the afternoon: were the Venezuelan polo ponies poisoned?

Sarah's picture

Nobody's talking about it in the news. Polo's not exactly a commonplace, I suppose, anymore than cowhorse contests are.

Something about this story just seems way too wrong to me, though.

The horses suffered pulmonary edema, which means fluid accumulated in their lungs, and cardiogenic shock, (Palm Beach Equine Club veterinarian Dr. Scott) Swerdlin said. They had elevated temperatures and were disoriented but felt no pain.

That's a quote from the LA Times' piece, and it's simple unadulterated bullfeathers. Pulmonary edema induces cardiogenic shock because the lungs overfill and squeeze the heart so hard it can't function. The sensation this induces is NOT painless.

I realize that veterinarians are well-educated. I understand that they need to protect their clients (who are human) against the idea that their patients (who are not) suffer unduly. But the fact is the horses in this case did not die painlessly. I understand that we live in a world where waterboarding humans is no reason to prosecute US government employees. I deplore that wholeheartedly, but I also see that our callousness to creatures other than humans feeds into and backs up our lack of empathy for humans.

The horses didn't deserve this.

I don't suppose a murderer or the architect of a terrorist attack deserves to be tortured. But for me the human who can -- and does -- plot atrocities is far less innocent. Whether said human speaks English or lives in my state or not is immaterial to that consideration.

So yes, I would like to see a full investigation into both these incidents, and I want to see the perpetrators of this suffering pay for their crimes in both cases. Because anything less is inconsistent with justice.

Also, this raises a red flag for me, as a former public health preparedness person. We've seen salmonella in the human food chain. What if this poisoning was a test?

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Submitted by cg.eye on

WELLINGTON, Fla. – The sudden death of 21 polo horses at a championship event in Florida may have been caused by a toxin in the animals' feed, vitamins or supplements, veterinarians said Monday.

The horses from the Venezuelan-owned team Lechuza Caracas became ill just before a tournament match Sunday, collapsing and dying on the scene or while being treated at vet clinics or transported, officials said.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

and jawbone, thank you too. Vitamins? What I understood was it was Lasix (or similar) steroid derivative injections. They do this so the horses can breathe better (or so they tell us) during strenuous exercise.

I am glad there's coverage. I just think this is horrendous, and ... well. Thank you both for caring.

Couldn't get the link to work for that story, cgeye. Thank you.