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ANIMALS

Second ban for Olympic equestrian champion

Germany's five-time Olympic medallist in equestrian events Isabell Werth was handed her second sixth-month ban on Tuesday after being found guilty of giving her horse illegal stomach medicine.

Second ban for Olympic equestrian champion
Photo: DPA

The ban will prevent her from taking part in competitions either at home in Germany or abroad.

Her horse, El Santo, tested positive for Cimetidine after a disciplinary committee ordered his urine be tested in 2012, the country's equestrian umbrella organisation the FN said on Tuesday.

Cimetidine is generally used to treat stomach pain in horses, but it not allowed to be used by professional riders competing in German competitions. It is not classed as a “doping” drug, but is listed as a banned medicine. It is allowed at a international level.

Its use was, the FN said, a negligent breach of Werth's duty of care. She is not only banned from competing for six months but must also pay a fine of €2,000.

Werth said she had not ordered the medicine be administered but suggested that El Santo had drunk contaminated water in his stall. The FN's disciplinary committee said this was “highly unlikely.”

This is 44-year-old Werth's second sixth-month ban from competing. In 2009 she was found guilty of giving her dressage horse Whisper psychotropic drug Fluphenazine.

READ MORE: Lucky escape for girl and her little pony

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ANIMALS

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains

A swan mourning the death of its companion on a German railway track held up 23 trains for almost an hour and had to be removed by firefighters using special equipment, police said.

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains
A swan sat on the tracks, mourning its companion. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bundespolizei/Bundespolizei

The two birds had strayed onto the track area of the high-speed line between Kassel and Göttingen in central Germany “during an excursion”, according to Kassel police.

One of the birds died, likely after getting caught in the overhead power cables, said the statement on the December 23rd incident, which was made public late on Monday.

Its companion then sat beside the body in mourning, resisting attempts by officials to lure it away and temporarily closing the line to traffic.

Firefighters with special equipment were later called in and managed to lift the dead swan and its surviving companion away from the area.

Twenty-three trains were delayed for about 50 minutes while the rescue operation took place, the police statement said.

The surviving swan was unharmed and later released onto the river Fulda, it
added.

According to Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, swans try to find a mate for life.

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