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Zurich farmers' manager denies 'horse cruelty'

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Zurich farmers' manager denies 'horse cruelty'
Zurich Farmers' Federation director Ferdi Hodel. Photo: ZBV
22:05 CET+01:00
The director of the Zurich Farmers' Federation faces charges of animal cruelty and German customs fraud in the cross-border trade of horses.

Ferdi Hodel, a horse breeder from Volken in the canton of Zurich, will go to trial over the death of a show jumping horse he sold to a family in the canton in 2011, the SonntagsBlick newspaper reported online on Sunday.

The six-year-old horse turned out to be “useless” as a sport horse and would not be loaded into a van, the newspaper reported.

Hodel, 48, offered to train the horse so he would go into the van but the animal ended up with a back injury so severe that it had to be destroyed, according to the report.

The buyers sought a refund of their 40,000-franc purchase price for the force.

And investigators, after an inquiry that started last spring, have decided to prosecute Hodel, who denies the allegations, while his lawyer expects he will be acquitted.

SonntagsBlick said the municipal councillor, who is also a colonel in the Swiss army, faces customs fraud cases over horses from Germany allegedly sold to buyers in Switzerland for prices significantly higher than those declared to customs.

He also faces an allegation from the director of a sports horse management company in Fürth, Germany who claims Hodel sold her a horse advertised as healthy that turned out to be injured.

Hodel maintains his innocence in the cases.

Hans Frei, the president of the Zurich Farmers' Federation, said the organization has been informed about the allegations from the outset and has not reason to “mistrust” Hodel.

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