Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ban the Horse Carriage in Rome

The so-called "botticelle" that is, the Roman horse-drawn carriages are not a tradition of transport for people, but represent a degeneration of what was their original meaning and purpose. In fact, the "Botticelli" owe their name to the barrels: the carriage pulled by animals in 1800’s was used solely for transporting goods, and barrels in this case. There was never a "tradition" of tourist transport, therefore, as misleadingly one wants to make the tourist believe.

Nowadays there is no need to justify the use of animals for transport or freight, let alone people. Tourists can have, in Rome in 2009, many means of locomotion, extremely comfortable, fast, with accessories for every need, and far cheaper than the carriage. As well as transportation that does not cause suffering to horses.

Horses are obviously subject to a state of continuous suffering, being forced against their will to haul extremely heavy loads every day (more than one ton, the empty carriage weighs 800 kg ...). The working conditions are inhumane and the animal is brought along fast roads (like the Tiber) where the proximity of cars, speed and the roar of traffic so terrific, with the serious consequence of accidents, often fatal, while the horses are often forced to travel on uphill on cobblestone pavement which is slippery and uneven. These cobblestones, known as Sam Pietrini creates further discomfort when a horse is forced to stand on them without movement, often for many hours. The conditions worsen in summer when the hot sun makes the effort even more unbearable. And yet, the drivers pay no attention to laws, nor are laws enforced.

In times past, the horses traveled on isolated and relatively quiet roads in Rome. Today, the crazy traffic, chaos, smog, the sounds of horns, the speed of vehicles and scooters whizzing close to the carriages, etc. .. make this means of transport absolutely unfit to the conditions of congestion in the city. The carriage is so configured a practice that is deeply anachronistic and certainly cruel to horses, and is thus there is no longer any reason for them to exist today.

The drivers are only interested in making the most profit from this activity and therefore do not care the in the least about the well-being of the animal. The horse is forced to work in unbearable conditions some prohibited under the current regulations (Article 46 of the Rules of the City of Rome for the Protection of Animals)but are frequently observed that the maximum number of passengers is never observed, that the ban of working horses from 1pm to 4pm in the summer season is regularly violated, as well as to not go uphill, not to go at a trot, not to work more than 6 hours per day, etc. .. The carriage drivers also are not subject, like other workers (traders, taxi drivers, etc ...) to any official price list, being able to make money at will and come to ask even $ 300 per trip, all while not paying taxes to the state as there are no price regulations or receipts.

Two fatalities occurred at close range, one in June and November 20 2008, are clear indicators of a condition that is not very sustainable, and cannot last, if not continue to jeopardize the safety of people and horses. The risk factor for accidents is too high and stems from the incompatibility between the nature of these fearful animals, and the state of congestion of the streets of Rome.
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