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Friday, May 29, 2009

Scandal in Sweden

The Harness Edge reports a major scandal on the eve of the Elitlopp where trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt has been charged with animal cruelty, having reportedly asked two of his second trainers to use electrical prods to shock horses in training.

While it is great that Sweden is pursuing criminal charges, I find it distressing that the Swedish Trotting Association has decided to wait and see how the criminal case plays out before they decide on doing anything and then, it would only result in a multi-year suspension. What the STA should do is suspend Svanstedt until the case is completed and if convicted, he should be expelled.

There is no place for animal cruelty in harness racing. People who perpetuate cruelty to our stars need to find new professions.

UPDATE (Late):  My apologies to Mr. Svanstedt for not updating this story earlier, but Ake Svanstedt was  acquitted in a Swedish court back in 2010.  As a result of that decision, there was no need for action by the Swedish Trotting Association.  When he left for the United States, Svanstedt had a valid professional trainer-driver's license in Sweden and were he to return home, he would be relicensed.

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