Italy minister backs move to ban Rome's horse-drawn carriages
Oct 25, 2010, 11:30 GMT
Rome - Animal-rights activists petitioning Rome's mayor to ban horse-drawn carriages on Monday received the backing of Italy's Tourism Minister Michela Vittoria Brambilla.
The practice by which horses are used to take tourists through Rome's traffic-clogged streets, was slammed by Brambilla, a noted animal-lover.
'Tradition cannot serve to shield an activity which is no longer in line with popular sentiment and which damages the image of the capital and of Italy,' she said.
Rights groups are schedule later Monday to submit to Mayor Gianni Alemanno, 5,000 signatures collected against the use of horse-drawn carriages in the city.
'Considering that Rome is almost an obligatory stop on any tourist itinerary, I am sure that Mayor Alemanno will consider the opportunity to make the capital more 'animal-friendly' ... and accept the banning request,' Brambilla said.
But Alemanno has described the ban as 'excessive.' Since taking office in 2008, he has instead moved to tighten rules governing the licenses issued to those who operate the horse-carriages.
These have included restrictions operating the carriages during the city's most torrid hours and increasing the frequency of veterinary checks.
Brambilla, however said a ban is no longer 'something that can be postponed'.
She cited the outcry prompted by several incidents over the last few years in which horses have died - including when one was hit by a car and another which was put down after it broke a leg on a cobbled street in front of the Colosseum.
Brambilla also cited media reports of scams in which tourists were overcharged by those who operate the carriages.
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