A petition calling on a ban to horse-drawn carriage rides in Charleston has spurred a huge reaction after a video showing a horse name Big John collapsing on the street as it was pulling a train full of tourists last week.
Concerned people rushed to try and help the horse after it collapsed on the road, rushing in with water to help the horse.
The video of the incident has been seen 12 million times. It has led to a petition found here which is urging the city of Charleston to ban the tourist attract. It needs 160,000 supporters and late Thursday, more than 157,573 people have already signed up.
The petition by a group called Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates is calling on companies to stop the practice of using horses to lead tourists around the city.
There are several alternatives for touring the city. No one wants to see these companies go out of business, but it would be nice to see a positive change in their practices.
Thousands of people from all over the world are asking for your help! We need to take a serious look at the current Carriage business in Charleston. The system is broken and inhumane!. Charleston & Savannah have joined together to form one voice for the horses on our streets. It’s no longer a romantic, genteel way to see our beautiful city, it’s a disgrace.
After the video was posted, carriage companies in Charleston says they will now agree to an independent study of how well horses tolerate pulling a dozen or more passengers on the city’s hot streets. But they are refusing to let their horses participate in the study.
Those pushing for the study immediately rejected the proposal as inadequate, according to a story in the Post and Courier. The Animal Society and Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates have been calling for the study by outside experts conducted under the guidelines of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Charleston Livability and Tourism Director Dan Riccio has said the city would support such a study but would not force the carriage companies to participate.
The letter says the animal society will have to provide its own horses for the study.
Touring with animals that have catheters inserted and recording equipment attached to them and all the other extra steps that would be necessary for a proper study is beyond our interest and is not an image we can portray,” the letter says. “Furthermore, as the City of Charleston has no laws preventing you from bringing your own horses into the city for this study, you are completely free to do so and start driving and testing those horses as soon as you wish.”
The letter says the carriage companies will make sure the study horses have water, “and we will generally support them and treat them as we would our own.”
Elmore rejected the proposal in a response sent out Monday.
“The carriage industry thinks they placed the ball back in our court, but the ball they sent back is flat,” Elmore said in a release.
The release goes on to say that a study cannot be done without the horses and mules that actually live and work in Charleston.
“To use a replacement herd … would raise questions about the validity of the study and is yet another hurdle thrown in the way of getting answers on what comprises humane working conditions in Charleston,” according to the statement.
Charleston Carriage Works, which owns Big John, said the horse tripped and got up when his harness was removed. The veterinarian’s report said the horse tripped and was fine and ready to go back to work that same day.
“We are serious about that press release,” Charleston Carriage Works owner Broderick Christoff said. “If the Charleston Animal Society did their study as described in our release and the results were more restrictive regulations, the industry would adopt them without an issue.”