Two horses were euthanized following an accident at Agios Dhometios racetrack on Sunday, with police saying they were investigating a work-related incident.
Viewer discretion advised below - disturbing images involving animal suffering
According to local media, five horses were involved in an accident during Sunday’s second race at the Agios Dhometios racetrack in West Nicosia. Five jockeys fell to the ground one after the other when one horse collapsed and then four others overturned, with two animals ending up "very badly injured" according to media sources.
The two badly injured horses were euthanized following the accident after consent was given by the vet on duty and their owners were notified.
The race club director said the horses had to be put down due to lameness, adding that the animals were in unbearable pain
Three jockeys reportedly were injured, with two of them sustaining serious injuries and one undergoing emergency surgery.
A limping horse was seen on video finishing the race in slow speed with a rider on its back, while two other horses without their jockeys were also able to finish the race.
The incident took place Sunday afternoon around 5:40pm, after an orange weather alert had expired at 5pm due to extreme high temperatures reaching 43 degrees Celsius in the interior.
Members of the public took to social media to express anger over the incident, saying the race especially in very hot weather amounted to animal abuse.
The director of the Nicosia Race Club, Yiorgos Hadjimina, told SigmaLive he had not seen such an accident involving so many horses in all his 35 years in equine racing at the club.
Hadjimina said the horses had to be put down due to lameness, adding that the animals were in unbearable pain.
Racehorse injuries and fatalities are a side effect of training and competition, while serious injuries are often inevitable when horses get bumped or take a bad step.
The exact cause and circumstances in Sunday’s accident were under investigation.