PETA Demands Criminal Probe Into Horse Beating at Equestrian Show

Group Also Seeks Investigation by Equestrian Authorities

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Thermal, Calif. – This morning, PETA sent a letter to Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco calling on him to investigate the vicious whipping of a horse at a show at Desert International Horse Park.

Video footage from January 30 shows competitive German Grand Prix jumper Kevin Lemke forcefully striking a horse named Good Luck with a whip six times—so harshly that the sound of the strikes can be heard on the video replay—after the horse refused a jump. Lemke was subsequently disqualified for excessive use of the whip. After beating the horse, he attempted the jump again, causing Good Luck to collide with the fence and knock over the poles. PETA notes that the incident appears to violate California Penal Code § 597(b), which prohibits cruelty to animals.

“If a handler beat a dog in the middle of a show, he’d be investigated for cruelty,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “California’s anti-cruelty law exists to protect animals like this horse, and PETA is calling on the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to file all appropriate charges against Kevin Lemke.”

PETA has also sent letters to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) calling on them to investigate the incident, revoke Lemke’s eligibilities and memberships, and ban him from USEF- and FEI-sanctioned events, respectively.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind