“There is no way that cities, with their exhaust fumes, hard road surfaces, and busy traffic patterns can provide a humane environment for a carriage horse.”
— Holly Cheever, DVM


For years Colombian citizens have witnessed the unfortunate conditions to which thousands of horses and other equines are subjected. Strenuous work days, inadequate nutrition, physical abuse and inadequate veterinary care characterise the live of animals use as drawn carts. However, with the recent approval of the law that bans animal-drawn carts, the Colombian animal welfare community looks forward to the end of this cruel practice.

The law, that was voted in the Congress on Thursday, seeks at forcing authorities to collect all the data regarding the number of carts operating in the country and to start a ‘substitution program’. The law looks at ultimately prohibit the use of animal-drawn vehicles after other solutions are offered to low-income people who use them as livelihood.

ALTO, the Colombian platform for animals ‘Animals Free of Torture’ has been exposing this situation over the years: ‘Horses remain victims to high levels of pollution and the permanent risk of being run over by heavy vehicles. It is constantly observed that horses suffer wounds and lacerations that are not treated in time, fractures, vertebral problems, and the inadequate maintenance of their hooves is very common’, the platform ALTO claimed.

After the law enters into force next month, district and municipal authorities will have six months to carry out a census with the total data of the existing animal traction vehicles and their owners. Then, the Colombian Ministry of Transportation and the National Road Safety Agency will need to create a registry of beneficiaries to kick off the substitution programs.

Over the past years, Colombia has been advancing in legislation to protect equines. In 2012, the presidential Decree 178 banned the use of “zorreros”, a two-wheeled horse-drawn cart normally used to transport goods and waste in crowded cities such as Bogotá and Medellin. Today, SOS Animals Colombia and its partner organisations celebrate that the law approved last week will be a decisive step towards the abolition of this archaic and inhumane practice all over the country.

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