#Animal Welfare
The Belga Hotels Group

In Taroudant, in the foothills of the high Atlas in Morocco some 150 km from Jarjeer Mule and Donkey Refuge, is the old home, known as the Palais Claudio Bravo, of the Chilean painter who died in 2011. He was a great man and a horse lover who had the finest Arab horses in the world.

A friend and equine expert visited a few days ago as part of a tour of Morocco. This is an extract from what she told me and it has been verified by other witnesses.

“We were taken to see the horses which we were told had been rescued but were separate from the hotel and were being nursed back to health. Before the tour I was told they were in a poor condition and that they didn’t always allow guests to see them because they would be shocked but not to be worried as “they were in a recovery programme”.

On arrival before the doors were opened the horses heard us and called out.

The stables revealed a much different and truly horrifying scene of some 9 or 10 horses starving. Their poor bodies were just skin stretched over their bones. Bones and lumps were protruding everywhere. It was horrific. It appeared they hadn’t been groomed for ages. Their eyes were crusty and weeping. They looked frightened and had hardly any bedding down just a few tiny pieces of dry straw and what looked like patches of dirty sawdust. In summary they were soiled, matted and filthy. Their bedding was so thin it didn’t cover the stable floor. They clearly hadn’t been groomed or looked after for what seemed like years. I’m a horse owner myself and I was deeply shocked by what I saw.

They had name plaques and dates of birth at each stable and it seemed that they were the horses of Claudio Bravo, once fine Arabs.

The tack room in contrast showed tack in pristine condition, silver cups polished, winners rosettes and certificates, photos and other items all of which had clearly been very well looked after. There were pictures of them in full health showing their prizes. It was clear that these once wonderful horses were in a state of abject neglect. I guessed they were Arabian horses from their heads.

There was no feed sacks or Haynets visible anywhere and none in the stables. No turnout areas or Paddocks/ grazing in the vicinity (we looked from above up the tower) and so it was clear they hadn’t been out of their stables for a long long time. They were kept in a building with big screen doors so not visible from outside, with a opaque roof so It was bright but all enclosed.

Some displayed weaving characteristic of acute stress. Some appeared to have growths but this may have been their skeleton showing through. Some had worn marks on the outside of their stable doors as they rubbed at it. All had their skeletons showing through their skin.

The stable yard had a large horse trough empty in it and a few weeds growing round it so no horse had even grazed outside its stable. It was clear that this was a horse equivalent of a concentration camp, the poor things imprisoned and starved.

All around the estate there were people working on the land, there were staff in the hotel too but none of these were looking after the poor horses who were so thin that only expert help would assist them. There appeared to be no such support and this is as far as I am concerned neglect of the worst kind.

We were sick. We were in tears. We hated ourselves for staying in such a place and this cast a huge shadow over us. The house and gardens environment was very luxurious and yet the horses were neglected, it made no sense especially when we read that the artist himself loved his animals.

A man appeared who spoke neither French nor English. He appeared to be a labourer who was in charge. He shouted loudly and aggressively at a horse when it kicked at the door.

It was a horrific experience and we couldn’t wait to leave the place and do whatever we could to alert others to the situation.”

We must act. and ensure veterinary help. Importantly we need trucks and I’m afraid that some of the horses cannot even stand. I can’t tell you how upset I am that this is happened in a country that I love where horses are respected and the Arab horse in particular.

We demand that the Belga Hotels Group assist representatives from Jarjeer Mule and Donkey refuge to have access to the horses starving at the neighbouring stables to the Palais Claudio Bravo in Morocco and to assist Jarjeer to provide emergency food. We also ask at the hotel group to help negotiate the transport of the horses that are suffering to a safe place where they may receive veterinary care.

The Save Claudio Bravo’ famous Arab horses. petition to The Belga Hotels Group was written by Susan Machin and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.