A series of measures at various legal levels has been taken, following the tragic death of one of the tourist carriage horses in Caserta which simply fell to the ground on August 12th this year, at around midday on a very hot and muggy day.
The horse just collapsed onto the ground suddenly, and after a few minutes of agony died before the very eyes of several witnesses. One of these told us that the owner merely tried to drag the body off the road, while it was the witnesses who called the police. The police duly arrived accompanied by an ASL vet, by which time howeverthe horse was beyond any help.
The State Prosecution opened a case for mistreatment and, following the initial investigations, very serious breaches in the laws governing management of carriage horses came to light.
The dead horse was Found Goal Pag, born in 2002, used on the trotting racecourses – having run in over 50 races –and was officially declared DEAD in 2008, a full twelve years ago. This is yet another of the hundreds of examples of the illegal trafficking of off-the-track horses, in this case to supply an anachronistic tourist attraction. It was a first investigation of the appropriate registration records that showed that this horse was actually declared dead in 2008: so it is a short step to be looking into passport-recycling (and possibly microchip tampering).
In addition to this, there were apparently further irregularities and illegalitiesregarding the management of other horses, brought ‘into service’ in the grounds of the Royal Palace of the Reggia in Caserta; they were kept partly stabled on a yard, and partly at pasture on unlicensed land. To date we have no further details of this ongoing investigation.
Meanwhile the directors of the Royal Palace of Caserta has terminated the contract with the carriage drivers and has declared that there will never again be horse-drawn carriages within the Park grounds.
This declaration obviously at the same time begged the question of the fate of the horses, and so IHP immediately sought contact with Alessandra Pratticò, Guarantor of the animal rights in the Comune of Caserta, and who is currently actively discussing the issue with the Comune, the health authorities, and the carriage drivers, with the aim of preventing the horses being sold off by the latter, possibly without assurance that the horses won’t just be sold off for meat, or other purposes. IHP and LAV are both in touch with the Guarantor and both have offered to find decent homes for the animals. However at the moment, with no actual legal processing of the animals having been carried out (and which would likely set off further investigations) the horses are still the property of the carriage drivers, even if for the time being they are in an administrative cul-de-sac.
We hope to be able to update the news next week.
This is the note published by the Caserta Palace a few days ago:
“The contract for providing horse-drawn carriages within the Royal Park, entrusted by the previous Directors after due public tender to Tnt, has been rescinded and will not be put back out for tender.
Details emerging after the tragic death (around midday on 12 August 2020) of one of the horses used in the carriage service by the cooperative (Tnt) render this activity within the Vanvitellian Complex impossible.
Aside from any ideological or personal judgement, this decision has been taken at least because of a number of presumed, serious, illegalities involved in the running of the business. Our museum has an important mission and role to play in proposing and promoting cultural and social experiences. It has no authority of control or competence in licensing. The Royal Palace of Caserta is a State Institute. It is a place of culture, of knowledge and critical thought. It is unacceptable that any activity within its grounds should be illegal.”
We have always fought against this anachronistic exploitation of horses, slaves forced to pull carriages for uncaring tourists. An exploitation rightly now banned in various cities abroad (e.g. Chicago and Montreal), yet still permitted in our country, starting with Rome and its notorious four-wheeled dray carriages called botticelle.
Chicago: an end to horse drawn carriages
Horse-drawn tourist carriages: IHP appeal to tourists
Botticelle: First positive steps taken by the Municipality of Rome
Botticelle: yet another equine victim of an anachronistic and uncivilised practice
Carriages four tourists in towns: an exploitation to ban