(HORSES/ANIMAL WELFARE) PUERTO RICO — Horse-drawn carriages are an outdated practice facing much controversy as of late.

Last year, Israel and New York City banned the use of horse-drawn carriages, and this year, Puerto Rico’s capital city San Juan is following suit.

A family-owned business operated many of the horse-drawn carriages in San Juan. Photo credit: Jeff Greenberg
A family-owned business operated many of the horse-drawn carriages in San Juan. Photo credit: Jeff Greenberg

Last week in San Juan, several photos went viral depicting a horse collapsing on the street while pulling a carriage. Only days later, an order to ban the use of horse drawn carriages in the streets of Old San Juan went into effect.

Years of animal abuse allegations led to the ban; however, the deplorable conditions these horses endure are all too real. Horse-drawn carriages were popular with tourists in Old San Juan, yet this cruel practice no longer seems sensible in today’s society.

Cinthia Oritz, a recent tourist to San Juan, commented on the outdated tradition:

“It’s 2015, and horses should not be used in that manner,” she said. “There are other ways to show tourists the beauty of Old San Juan.”

The current mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, read a statement attributing the ban to “the deplorable conditions of exploitation and mistreatment to which the horses are submitted on the streets of Old San Juan.”

She also claimed a need for “protecting the horses from the mistreatment to which they are exposed every day.”

A horse collapses in San Juan because it collided with a car. Photo credit: Their Turn
A horse collapses in San Juan after colliding with a car. Photo credit: Their Turn

Whether for tourism or transportation, horse-drawn carriages lack real purpose in the 21st century. Many times, horses in these conditions face exhaustion and receive little veterinary care. Animal lovers are thrilled that San Juan no longer contributes to this cruel practice.

Many cities such as Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Chicago are all calling for bans. You can help end this cruel and unusual practice by signing a petition to ban horse-drawn carriages in Chicago.

— Rebecca Hartt, exclusive to Global Animal

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