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A tradition of cruelty: horse drawn carriages

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They are absolutely everywhere in downtown Charleston - horse-drawn carriages. These carriage rides have traditionally been at the top of a lot of visitors "to do" list, as a way to see the sights.

Unfortunately, there are no enforceable regulations regarding the care and treatment of these horses. With no systems set in place to track any incidents of abuse, neglect, or premature deaths. There are voluntary heat restrictions that some of the carriage companies adhere but no mandate.

Unlike Charleston, most cities that use carriage horses have city ordinances that mandate minimum standards of car for horse being used by the carriage horse industry.

The physical toll the job puts on these horses is atrocious. Horses are forced to constantly inhale deadly care fumes. Pull heavy loads in the most extreme of temperatures. Denied sufficient water in order to minimize urination in the streets, despite the high risk of dehydration. Not to mention the strain the pavement puts on the legs and hooves.

When they are not working they are confined to small stalls with the inability to turn around or even lie down.

I urge everyone to contact Mayor Riley to end this cruel business or at the very least enact fair and humane treatment legislation. Please sign this petition to establish a committee that will address enforcement, health and working conditions of carriage animals in Charleston.

The sights of Charleston are best seen on your own two feet. You get to go wherever you want, you'll get better pictures, and you're not contributing to a tradition of cruelty.

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