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Stud owner Byrialsen talks


John Byrialsen, owner of the Polish stud under investigation for extensive horse neglect, talks to a local Danish TV-station. He is sorry, very sorry

16-08-2013 20:50:00, by Kim Lundin

In the TV-interview with TVMidtVest Jylland Joh Byrialsen takes the pun.

"It is reprehensible. It should not happen and it happened. I have to take responsibility for it, because there is no other than the owner of the company to do so", said John Byrialsen owner of the emaciated and injured horses on his Polish stud.

The now infamous video caused the Polish authorities to remove 64 horses from the farm, and in Denmark at John Byrialsens stud in Skals the police also  found animal welfare violations  - though not nearly as severe as in Poland. The horse breeder believe that the horses' neglect in Poland happened because he did not visit the farm often enough. Indirect this puts blame on his polish employees perhaps inadvertedly. 

"I blame myself. It's my own fault. I should have been more down here. I've been busy with all sorts of other things ... that are insignificant in relation to what has happened here", he says referring to the Polish farm.

During the last two years, John Byrialsen has been close to bankruptcy three times and the economic problems have taken priority over the horses' conditions and well-being in Poland, because he tried to save the company in Denmark. In three months, he had not visited the Polish stud.

"This should not be an excuse or a way to place blame of my employees. It is my responsibility when I have a company and I have some horses. If in Poland or Denmark, it is still my responsibility", he says.

TV-interview with John Byrialsen in Danish




Byrialsen seem forthright enough but his words echo a bit empty when remembering the photos published by Ekstrabladet from one of the many former Danish employees that now come forward with photos and stories also in Berlingske Tidende

According to the many witnesses neglect and over-utilisation of horses has been a part of the business for years - but no one has acted towards the authorities until 2011, without much result. 

It is highly likely that the conditions have been known within the equestrian community and in the local area for several years but no one has acted on behalf of the horses - until now when the Polish video surfaced. The word gets around about poor conditions. If the reports from the former employees are truthful, the infamous video could have been taken in Denmark previously. The police and the animal inspectors found only minor remarks when searching the property at Stud Viegaard earlier in the week.

Every breeder, regardless of their economic status, has a huge responsibility towards the horses in their care. Don't breed more horses than you feed and care for, if resources are scarce, end the horses lives before they are forced to endure such hardship as the severe neglect. 

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Tonya Bille Nielsen

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