Horse-drawn carriages used in popular holiday destinations across Spain will be phased out this year and replaced with electric vehicles
Horse-drawn carriages, a traditional leisurely mode of transportation for visitors throughout Spain, will be phased out in favour of electric-powered buggies as early as the first quarter of 2023.
Although the draft legislation has already been adopted, the various autonomous communities still need to clear a number of hurdles before it can become a reality.
Palma de Mallorca made caused a stir last August when it sensationally announced it would ban all horse-drawn carriages by 2024.
Authorities announced last September that horse-drawn carriages will soon come to an end on the popular island. A decision has been made that those carriages must stop operating from 2024. This comes after several animal welfare organizations have campaigned for this – which they continue to do in many other countries.
Animal welfare organizations rejoice
Obviously, this is a decision that many animal welfare organizations are very happy with, as it is one of the things that many organizations are fighting for. Among others, the organization PETA shows great joy about the decision, and the Danish branch of the organization Anima, for example, wrote the following on their Facebook:
“After pressure from activists on the popular holiday island of Mallorca, the authorities have now finally agreed to a ban on horse-drawn carriages! It is very popular on the island among tourists, which has led to great suffering for the animals. In recent years, much criticism has been levelled at horse-drawn carriages, and now we are finally seeing some positive results for the horses. From 2024, tourists will be able to use electric vehicles instead of horses to go around the city. We hope this will lead to a domino effect, and that more and more countries will subsequently follow Mallorca’s animal-friendly example”.
Seville against the ban
The Seville council and the coachmen themselves are totally against swapping their horses for electric buggies and insist that animal welfare measures are already in place. They also say they ensure that carriages never carry more than 80 kilos, that horses have breaks during the hottest part of the day and that drivers adhere to restricted working hours.
Despite these protests, several of the animals drop dead of exhaustion and dehydration on the country’s streets every summer. A technical report published by one animal rights group found that “the permanence of these animals for long periods of time standing when they are not circulating, is the cause of injuries to tendons, muscles and bones”. The horses are also continuously exposed to loud noises and other stressful situations, they added.
Rome in Italy banned horse-drawn carriages from city streets in 2020. However, animal rights activists criticised the authorities for not abolishing the mode of transport altogether at the time.
The city’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, said the open-topped carriages, which are a lucrative business for tour operators, would be banned from the streets of the Italian capital but not the parks.
“Carriages will no longer be able to circulate in the streets, in the traffic, but only inside the historic parks,” she wrote on Facebook. “You will never again see tired horses on the streets of the city during the hottest hours of the summer months because we have expressly forbidden it.”