After a horse collapsed and died in summer heat, campaigners in Italy have revived demands for a ban on tourist carriage rides.
The horse died on the grounds of Caserta Royal Palace in south-west Italy’s Campania region on August 12.
Photos of the animal, which is thought to have experienced heat exhaustion, were soon posted on the internet with activists describing it as “shameful” and “a pointless death for company, attracting visitors and maybe taking a selfie.”
As the National Animal Protection Association (ENPA) threatened legal action, the Royal Palace, a popular tourism spot near Naples, suspended its carriage service after death.
“It’s absurd that nowadays we still use animals for these purposes… even in the light of accredited scientific knowledge that demonstrates, without doubt, that animals suffer and suffer exactly like we do,” ENPA vice president Massimo Pignoni said.
It claimed the Royal Palace’s horses had been carrying tourists “at full load” despite the soaring temperatures.
“The (subsequent) autopsy will ascertain the cause for which the poor animal collapsed to the ground, lifeless, while carrying a carriage full of tourists on a hot day,” it added.
“If we humans suffer a lot from the heat at this time, imagine what it’s like for horses carrying a carriage full of people under the sun,” Francesco Emilio Borrelli, Regional Greens councillor said.
Horse-drawn carriage rides remain a steady tourist attraction in Italy but in recent years, when horses fall under Mediterranean temperatures, they have courted controversy.