This afternoon the Capitoline Assembly voted on the "Regulation for the management of non-scheduled transport services using animal-drawn vehicles".
It was decided, among others, to move the “botticelle” (horse-drawn tourist carriages) to the historic villas and public parks and thus away from the busy historic centre. Moreover, the regulation sets a limit to the use of horses (never over 30 degrees Celsius and trips of maximum 45 minutes) and allows carriage drivers the possibility of converting their licences into taxi licences.
Though we consider this approval a small step forward and an act of good will, we will only be satisfied when the “botticelle” are definitively abolished, thus bringing Rome to year 2021, a time in which this highly outdated service should have disappeared a long time ago.
The local Government of Verona has recently clearly demonstrated that this can be done. In Rome, however, it seems to be extremely complicated due to political obstructions and various kinds of pressures, as demonstrated by the years of weakness of the municipal authorities when faced with the strong powers of the carriage drivers.
The issue of protecting and respecting the horses used for the “botticelle” is not just about the "working" hours forced upon them, but also how and where they live the rest of their day, locked away in a box to complete their 24 hours of unnatural life, without ever seeing a pasture: how can you call that well-being?
We are waiting to know when the Regulation will be implemented as it is not clear at the moment.
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