German Branch PETA Files Charges Against Totilas' Owners
The German branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has officially filed charges against the owners of Totilas for being in violation with the Animal Welfare Act. The Dutch warmblood stallion is allegedly trained with the rollkur method and lives an isolated life confinded to his stall.
PETA also requests a total ban of the rollkur in Germany as well as stronger supervision against the method at competitions.
In September 2012 PETA filed charges based on their research that the 12-year old stallion has been trained with the animal unfriendly rollkur-method and lives an isolated life in his stall for the majority of the day.
"To avoid possible injury, the stallion is prohibited to have contact with other horses and he is prevented from having free self-directed movement," PETA stated in a press release. "On suspicion of violating the Animal Welfare Act PETA has now filed a complaint against the owner and rider of Totilas. PETA demands a nationwide ban of animal torturing training methods."
PETA attacks the rollkur training methods and states that "horses are silent sufferers. They can't make any sounds of pain. Different scientists have warned for the detrimental consequences of the rollkur. Rollkur is a terrible training method in the dressage sport. For those reasons PETA has filed charges."
Mattias Rath and Totilas (along with stallions Bretton Woods and Furst Romancier) have recently moved to Erp, The Netherlands, where they officially started their training with Sjef Janssen. The Dutch team trainer has popularized the Low-Deep and Round training method (the non-forceful version of rollkur according to the FEI) through his principle student, triple Olympic gold medalist Anky van Grunsven.
When Rath switched to a new training method in the spring of 2012, the German Equestrian Federation did not oppose it. Brand new German team trainer Monica Theodorescu was quoted saying in September, "every rider can choose his own home trainer. Sjef Janssen is a very successful trainer, one of the most successful in the world. I don't have a problem with him. I don't think training debates can be reduced to the theme of rollkur. Twenty years ago Rembrandt was also ridden with a deep neck position. Nobody was against it. Any form of aggression and exaggeration in training are wrong. It's no part of dressage training.(..) We're dealing with performance sport. However, there are rules about it in our sport. I'm sure that Matthias and Sjef will stick to those rules. He now has this very special horse and I understand that they
want to get the best out of it. Maybe Sjef Janssen is the key to succes. I would be happy about it."
Photos © Barbara Schnell
Matthias Rath and Totilas Withdrawn from 2012 Olympic Contention
Matthias Rath and Totilas Withdrawn from Competing at 2012 CDIO Aachen
Totilas and Rath Return to the Ring at 2012 Paul Schockemohle Stallion Show
Janssen Not to Train Matthias Rath Until after 2012 London Olympics
Matthias Rath to Train with Sjef Janssen
Monica Theodorescu: "I Have No Problem with Sjef Janssen"