IHP President declares “The Comune is obliged to oversee the welfare of animals. We need to look at who is responsible for this”.
“A regulation covering the service of public transport in horse-drawn carriages which provides no proper parameters, or the minimum of safeguards for the welfare of the animals, seems to us to be a grave lacuna which in and of itself creates the very circumstances to allow what happened in Palermo. This is a very serious matter which we lay at the door of the relevant authorities, asking them to accept their responsibility for it, and that includes the mayor, who is responsible for animal welfare in his district”, says Sonny Richichi, President of the Italian Horse Protection (IHP – the first Italian association for the protection of horses), referring to the episode in which a horse pulling a tourist carriage collapsed with heat exhaustion in the centre of Palermo on 23 July.
“The Palermo regulation is a bureaucratic tool for granting licences and routes, but is totally inadequate regarding the actual welfare of the animals: it does not even refer to any limit of temperatures. For this reason we consider the incident to be even more serious than that which happened in Piazza della Signoria in Florence a few weeks ago, since in that case it was a detailed account of an isolated episode of a frightened horse”, recounted the IHP President, who at the beginning of July presented a petition with 35,000 signatures to the Florence Comune, demanding an end to the use of carriage horses in the historic centre. “What we are talking about in Palermo is the subjection of horses to an activity in conditions which can easily become physically intolerable”.
Richichi concludes: “We must remember that last October a tourist alerted us to a desperately thin horse pulling a carriage in the centre of Palermo. We immediately contacted the authorities, asking them to identify and seize the animal, but to date we have had no reply.”
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