Unbridled SongErnie Paragallo, who is known among New Yorkers for horse breeding, has been charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty.

“It was well deserved,” said Ron Perez, president of the Humane Society/S.P.C.A. for Columbia and Greene Counties, which has taken over Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y. “These horses were in some of the worst shape I’ve ever seen. It was nasty stuff.” …

The Humane Society began a feeding program for Center Brook’s horses Thursday to combat malnutrition that Perez said had left the horses in horrific condition. Veterinarians will return to the farm Saturday and Monday to tend to the horses – ages 1 to 20 years old – that were showing bones from lack of food and were riddled with parasites, lice and skin infections as well as untreated injuries.

Let’s hope that when Paragallo is convicted he’ll get the full sentence, up to 22 years in prison plus a small fine.

Breeding in general is a cruel practice. However, when most people think of breeders they think of puppy mills. However, there are very troubling facts regarding horse breeding. From In Defense of Animals:

Due to selective genetic pairing and breeding, many racehorses are born with fragile bodies to begin with. Selective breeding does not provide the gene pool with diverse enough genetic material to avoid genetic defects that arise largely as a result of inbreeding.

And the cruelty doesn’t stop at breeding. These horses are made to race when they are too young and still growing, which leads to broken bones. And when these animals are injured, many times the horses are sent to slaughter. Just the fact that humans use horses for such “entertainment” as racing is cruel.