Horse Health

Chinese Miao Ethnic Group Cruelly Celebrate the Year of the Horse with Horse Fights

by Zachary Treu as published at

“Without horse fighting, it wouldn’t feel like a new year,”

In several small villages throughout the southern regions of China, a grisly 500-year-old tradition kicked off the Chinese New Year last week.

According to a report from l’Agence France-Presse, members of the Miao ethnic group have been holding horse fighting competitions for more than five centuries. These tournaments, which offer prizes of up to 10,000 yuan (around $1,650), are held year-round, but are occurring more frequently as the Year of the Horse begins.

“We used to hold horse fights just once a year, but now we do it more often. Because this is the Year of the Horse, we are even more happy,” Zhou Tingyi, who presided over the fights in Tiantou — a village in the Guangxi region — said this weekend.

he horses are pushed to kick and bite each other by the presence of a female. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

he horses are pushed to kick and bite each other by the presence of a female. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Two male horses are encouraged to fight over a mare, which, according to the AFP, is “kept metres away from the clashing pairs by a villager armed with little more than a stick.”

The winning stallion is the one that “successfully defends its position close to the female.”

At Tiantou’s New Year competition — which also features costumes, dances and other forms of pageantry — barriers don’t separate attending villagers and tourists from the clashing beasts.

“Without horse fighting, it wouldn’t feel like a new year,” said trainer Pan Jianming, whose horse Little Black won a competition this weekend.

Animals Asia — a Hong Kong-based foundation — has condemned the practice, calling the fighting a “horrific spectacle” that causes “abuse and suffering to animals in the name of entertainment.”

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12 replies »

  1. Is there a place on this planet for people who don’t kill or mame animals? Who would enjoy open spaces and natural things left alone? Who could drink from a stream, or eat from a garden of natural un modified food? Can see an un altered mountain top, or distant forest? The air wouldn’t be brown or warmer from pollution and the ocean would be full of clean healthy fish and horses could be seen running wild. It was once called America, but alas it too is gone.


    • True – it used to be the good ol’ USA – but getting very weary of the ignorant 3rd & 4th World “cultures” inundating the planet with animal cruelty in the name of entertainment – so very tired of it all – the only good thing about this particular village, is that there are no barriers between the villagers & horses – maybe they’ll wake up when an innocent child gets hurt – BUT, probably not, sad to say – the innocent animals will pay for that too.


  2. Sorry, but these Asians and their archaic and cruel practices dealing with animals get less and less respect from me. Just read about a Korean woman who set her puppy store in Vegas on fire for insurance. Puppies were saved. Then we have the puppy crush video in which 3 asian teens kick a little pup around til he dies. Sorry Mr. Fitch, don’t have any love for them.


    • Michelle, you are putting your head in the sand if you think Americans are one whit more humane. WE murder over 5 millions dog and cats per year, just because they were born. WE allow horses to be transported to slaughter, injured, crammed in and stomping each other. WE allow the cruelties of rodeo sports, horse-tripping and only this week, donkey basketball. What could be more cruel than the way OUR OWN mustangs are treated by our own government, left standing in insufferable heat and cold in holding pens, rounded up by helicopters and torn from their families..Attend a livestock auction and watch how the horses are shocked, and beaten for no reason at all. Check out a factory farm, where the female pigs have not an inch to move.for most of their lives.
      Dog fighting is increasing, rather than decreasing.
      You tell me how humane Americans are.
      I worked for an Animal Welfare org, and only wish I could un-see the cruelties of Americans..Got room for another head in that sand?


      • My head is not in the sand…….I am painfully aware of what we do in this country. I was basically referring to “old world” traditions and attitudes. So please, do not accuse me of ignorance.


  3. Why not the men fight, instead of making horses fight, these people need to come out of the dark ages and in to this century and stop the blood shed of animals for the only reason because some fore fathers did it, with out the use of Tv, games internet or other things we have to day? It is time to stop all this fighting and be a peaceful people and respect animals they live and breath and hurt too.


  4. I don’t even want to watch it … people who get their kicks out of watching animals forced into fighting or forcing them into fighting should be getting in the ring themselves to fight to see how it feels … and to experience the results.


  5. Sorry ladies but this planet has never been a Utopia. The human race evolved fighting for its life to survive, the traits have never been bred out as all of the wars that have been fought over the centuries proves. China will never change, there is almost a billion people living there and it would be useless for anyone to waste one minute trying to come up with ways to change them, they have been like this ever since China has existed.


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