PETA Loses Lawsuit Against Edward Gal for Animal Cruelty

Fri, 12/31/2021 - 11:50
Edward Gal and Undercover at the 2015 European Dressage Championships in Aachen :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Edward Gal has been cleared of all charges which the German branch of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) filed against him, alleging animal cruelty.

The court in Aachen ruled in Gal's favour on 30 December 2021.

Undercover at the 2015 Europeans

PETA began suing Gal for animal cruelty over what they had seen at the 2015 European Dressage Championships in Aachen, alleging that he rode his horse in the rollkur. 

On its German website it writes that "at the European Equestrian Championships 2015 in Aachen, the Dutch dressage rider Edward Gal used the torturous "rollkur" by pulling Undercover's head with the reins to the its chest. Undercover bled from mouth during the competition due to this hyperflexion, prompting PETA to file a criminal complaint."

In 2018 PETA took Gal to court for the first time right before the World Equestrian Games. The case was dismissed.  This year, right before the Olympic Games, PETA filed a suit a second time, but on 30 December 2021 the Aachen court acquitted Gal from all charges.

KNHS Statement

"All allegations towards Edward were fully disproved by witnesses and cold hard facts. Edward can not be accused of anything and has been cleared of all blame," a press release of the Dutch equestrian federation (KNHS) stated. 

The KNHS continued, "of course Edward is very happy that law prevailed, but his image has possibly been damaged by the negative publicity in Germany. Particularly because untrue facts were published by the German press. Edward considers it malign. He is now having his legal team investigate whether he will take further legal steps."

PETA Statement

Dr. Edmund Haferbeck, Senior Employee in Special Projects at PETA, responded to the acquittal.

“It is a milestone that an animal welfare case with a prominent perpetrator after more than six years - and despite considerable resistance also on legal turf - even comes to court," said Haferbeck. "Edward Gal has defended himself heavily, even with a certificate (Gutachten), against taking responsibility. Despite the acquittal, this procedure is a clear signal to the entire industry with its systemic cruelty to animals."

PETA advocates "a ban on the so-called equestrian sport, as the animals are tortured intrinsically in the system using violent methods in order to achieve unnatural top performances. The motto of the animal rights organization is in part: Animals are not there to entertain us or to exploit them in any other way."

Photo © Astrid Appels

Related Links
Eurodressage Photo Database: Edward Gal and Undercover at the 2015 Europeans
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