...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



Empoli starts up a horsedrawn carriage service for tourists, but just look at the conditions the horses live in (VIDEO)


(27 December 2013)

Last June, with great fanfare, some local papers, and even the national daily La Nazione, announced a new tourist horse-drawn carriage service set up, a first for the Empoli district.

Utterly astounded that, at a time when in every city where there are horse-drawn tourist carriages there are dozens of protests, a local authority can decide to introduce just such a thing ex novo, we wrote to the Mayor and the appropriate Councilor to ask if they had at least ascertained proper conditions where the animals were being housed and whether they had set up regulations and proper measures to ensure their wellbeing.
After two months and a reminder call, on 16 August the Ufficio Ambiente (the Environment Office) finally replied, saying that they had requested the AUSL 11 (local health authority) to inspect the premises, which inspection took place on 18 July. The result of this inspection was that two ponies, both in good physical condition, and with documents in order were being used, and were being kept in an adequate place with numerous trees for shade and shelter.
A shame, therefore, that, as was noted - unbelievably - in the very same letter, one of the two ponies had died a few days after this inspectionfor reasons related (according to the owner himself) to age and to physical problems”. And this pony was being ridden by children with the blessing of the Comune and the AUSL?
The letter ended by saying that the owner “had been seen around with a new horse”, substituting the dead pony, and that further enquiries were being made.

Obviously we went to see for ourselves what the situation was, and managed to find the place these animals were kept (the Comune had not wanted to give us the exact location). And what a sad sight met us: a horse and a pony, both very thin, in a ramshackle paddock, with no food to be seen. This tiny muddy patch of land is very close to a flyover and dangerously close to a gas pipeline. All this was documented by the Striscia La Notizia team with Edoardo Stoppa who, after interviewing the owner of the animals, asked the Councilor for the Environment of the Comune for an explanation.
To the question “On what basis did you issue a license for tourist carriages to this person?” the very worrying reply was “On the basis of a self-declaration”.

At this point it is crucial that the Authorities concerned take action to rectify what is, in our opinion, a very superficial management of animal welfare. Failing this, we will consider taking legal action.

See the video of Striscia La Notizia