Majorca campaign to ban horse drawn tourist buggies

Majorca carriage horse, Spain. Getty Images.

The Majorcan Progreso en Verde party has launched a National campaign with the motto, ’Tourist Save Me, End My Suffering’ in a bid to stop the exploitation of horses used to pull tourist buggies and the party is also calling for them to be replaced with electric vehicles.

“Collecting signatures, letters to town halls, lawsuits and rallies will mark the roadmap to achieving the goal of freeing horses from their cruel exploitation and make tourists aware of the harsh treatment suffered by carriage horses,” said Party President, Guillermo Amengual. “They are forced to make a great physical effort, carry more passengers than allowed, are skeletal, thirsty and fainting in the summer temperatures that sometimes exceed 40 degrees.” [Note: 40°C = 104°F]

Progreso en Verde has accused the buggy owners of violating laws, ordinances and regulations “in the face of the shameful passivity of Institutions,” saying “this practice has no place in a modern, civilised country.”

The party says it has already obtained the support of around 20 organisations and animal defence groups that support the campaign to stop the exploitation of these horses.

“It breaks your soul to see the horses working in hot sun for hours and hours, exhausted, thirsty and barely able to stand,” said Amengual, who accused the buggy owners of cruelty.

“When one of them faints from heat stroke they get hit until they get up,” he claimed.

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Featured Image: Getty Images

HSVMA Position Statement on Urban Carriage Horse Rides

Horse drawn carriage, Chicago. Image: NBC.

By Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

Use of Horses and Mules for Urban Carriage Rides

Open quote

The HSVMA recognizes numerous equine health and welfare issues associated with for-hire carriage rides in urban settings. Horses and mules are expected to work in conditions of extreme temperatures and high humidity; heat prostration, collapse and death are reported sequelae. These animals suffer from chronic medical problems that are caused and/or exacerbated by their working conditions. They include respiratory ailments such as heaves, which are worsened by continuous exposure to exhaust fumes, and lameness conditions which are aggravated by long working shifts on concussive and hot asphalt surfaces. Adequate veterinary medical and farrier care is often unavailable due to the absence of equine veterinarians in urban areas. Because of the lack of space in cities, these animals are denied necessities of good welfare and husbandry, such as box stalls large enough for them to lie down, daily turn out to pasture, and essential social interaction with other horses. Finally, both people and equines may suffer serious injuries when horses become “spooked” by vehicular traffic incidents and crowd noise and attempt to flee until they collide with an obstacle, or trip and fall.

For all these reasons, the HSVMA supports ordinances to ban equine carriage rides in urban locations. When a complete ban on urban carriage rides is not attainable, we support enactment and strict enforcement of specific regulations to protect the health, well-being, and safety of equines used by the carriage horse industry and people who avail themselves of carriage rides. At a minimum, regulations should guarantee appropriate husbandry and veterinary medical care, and should ensure that carriages and motor vehicles do not share the same roadway.

Approved by the HSVMA Board of Directors, June 2020

Read all Policy Statements »

The arguments HSVMA make against horse and mule drawn carriages are excellent and very well put. We encourage you to use them.

Regarding the final paragraph, this is not a criticism but our philosophy at the Fund for Horses is quite different.

We are not welfarists. We call for the abolition of cruel practices, not the mitigation — the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness — of them.

Related Reading

Now is the time to think about the future of Philly tourism without horse-drawn carriages“, by Janet White, Tuesday’s Horse, July 2020.

Hold your horses: Can Old Timey e-carriages replace old city buggies?,, 11 Sep. 2019

• “Local activist wins award for spearheading Chicago horse-drawn carriage ban“, Tuesday’s Horse, April 2020 (goes into effect 1 Jan. 2021)

Can EV really replace Central Park’s Horse Drawn Carriages, Car and Driver, Dec. 2014 Issue.

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Now is the time to think about the future of Philly’s tourism — without horse-drawn carriages

Image by bridgetawilcox from Pixabay.


The COVID-19 crisis has brought tourism to a standstill around the world, and Philadelphia’s tourism economy has already lost $1 billion because of coronavirus.

While city tourism officials are meeting regularly to discuss how a recovery will take place, it’s the fresh thinking of outsiders that could provide the solution — not a return to the status quo, but an entire redesign of Philadelphia tourism.

“The Future of Philadelphia Tourism” was the topic of a September 2019 meeting, whose attendees included local tourism officials, City councilman Mark Squilla, animal advocates and tourism and marketing researcher Dr. Clare Weeden from the University of Brighton, UK. The discussion focused on “Responsible Tourism,” a growing industry trend which emphasizes that a destination’s people, economy and environment are affected by the “footprint” left by tourists and tourism organizations.

Horse-Drawn Carriages

A matter of particular concern was Philadelphia’s horse-drawn carriages, a controversial feature of Philadelphia’s tourism, which has become a liability in recent years.

In her analysis of Philadelphia tourism, Weeden noted that a key in the marketing of responsible tourism is differentiation, and Philadelphia has the opportunity to set the standard in market differentiation by promoting a special concern for environmental and animal welfare issues. “Resident and tourist awareness of animal welfare means that one day very soon, carriage horses’ existence as part of a commercialized tourism product will become unacceptable for most people,” she said.

Continuing the focus on this issue, a group of doctoral students from the Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) strategic leadership and complex systems leadership programs took on the project of studying horse-drawn carriages in Philadelphia. They presented the conclusion of their case study earlier this month:  As awareness of the problems associated with horse-drawn carriages increases, demand for them will decrease, creating an unprofitable and unsustainable business.

Some of those problems, were described by Dr. Holly Cheever, leadership council member of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), in a letter to Squilla expressing support for a legislative ban on horse-drawn carriages in Philadelphia. The problems Cheever outlined include:

  • respiratory impairment resulting from the horses constantly working nose-to-tailpipe;
  • lameness due to the horses’ excessive pounding on paved city surfaces;
  • heat prostration during extreme temperatures;
  • spooking when the horse is startled by a threatening stimulus, often leading to vehicular accidents.

The TJU study emphasized market trends, drawing attention to the animal welfare concerns of Millennials — the generation that travels the most and is most likely to spend more money on vacations than any other age group.

Eighty-six percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are willing to spend more on their travel if it means the experiences are completely ethical. Tour companies are jumping to respond to the demand by developing animal-friendly policies. TripAdvisor, for example, amended their 2016 policy to “no longer book attractions where animals were forced into unnatural situations for entertainment purposes.”

As bans on horse-drawn carriages continue to be enacted in cities around the world, electric horseless carriages (e-carriages) are increasingly taking their place. Identical in appearance to 18th century horse carriages, e-carriages are battery-powered, equipped with GPS and USB ports, and offer riders both an historical experience and a cruelty-free activity. E-carriages are in perfect alignment with the principles of responsible tourism, and offer a win-win solution, creating no job losses, only increased opportunities for businesses and tourists alike.

Post-COVID crisis, Philadelphia will be competing with other tourism destinations for people’s time and money, so we’ll need to appeal especially to the younger travelers driving the market. It will take some time to re-open Philadelphia for tourism, but now is the time for a total redesign of Philly’s tourism brand and offerings, in keeping with what our city is all about — revolutionary ideas, innovation and bold actions.

Let’s get the conversation going between city officials and forward-thinking outsiders who can provide the fresh approach needed to create a new American revolution.

Originally published May 14, 2020 at

Janet White is a resident of Northeast Philadelphia who runs a group called Carriage Horse Freedom. She was a spirited campaigner in the ban on horse drawn carriages in Philly.

Related Reading

• “Hold your horses: Can Old Timey e-carriages replace old city buggies?”,, 11 Sep. 2019

• “Local activist wins award for spearheading Chicago horse-drawn carriage ban”, Tuesday’s Horse, April 2020 (goes into effect 1 Jan. 2021)

Featured Image: By bridgetawilcox from Pixabay.

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Charleston recommends change to ordinance following death of carriage horse

Horse drawn carriage Charleston, SC viewed through wrought iron gate.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) — The City of Charleston could be amending its ordinance on carriage tour horses to include new safety measures.

This comes after Sunday’s incident where a horse took off running attached to an empty carriage.

Ervin, a draft horse who had been with the Old South Carriage Company since 2018, sustained injuries on his legs and had to be euthanized.

Investigators with the city’s Department on Livability and Tourism determined that the actions of two employees who were detaching the horse’s tack from the carriage allowed the horse to break free.

“It was determined that the individual had removed the bridle. That is a measure to control the horse and should be one of the last things that should be taken off before the carriage is removed or after the carriage is removed and that wasn’t done,” Charleston Livability Director Dan Riccio said.

Although Riccio says the horse’s handlers didn’t violate the city’s criminal ordinance, he says they are recommending updating a city ordinance to add additional safety measures.

“We would draft an ordinance to suggest that companies would be required to use a ‘cross tie’ method which consists of two ropes that are fixed to both sides of the halter of the horse,” Riccio said. “If they forget something in the process, there’s a safety measure in place to prevent that horse from running away from them.” Read more »

Related Reading

Runaway carriage horse dead in Charleston, SC »

Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates call for new regulations after needless death of carriage horse Ervin »

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