Saturday, December 2, 2023

Buggies go horseless in Yucatán, gasoline engines take over

Motul, Yucatán, has become the second city in the state to replace horse-drawn carriages with motorized ones following pressure by animal rights activists to abandon the practice, citing animal cruelty. 

Mérida was the first city in the state to begin using gas-powered buggies, which it did in November 2019. 

Horse-drawn carriages have been banned in Cozumel, Quintana Roo, since May as the practice violates the state’s animal welfare laws. 

They were also banned in Acapulco, Guerrero, this spring after the state decided to begin enforcing animal welfare laws on the books since 2014.

In that city, buggy drivers have taken to pulling the carriages with ATVs provided by the state government. Carriage drivers also received 10,000 pesos (US$ 469) from the government and a year’s worth of free maintenance on the four-wheelers. They were instructed to find a dignified retirement home for the now prohibited horses.

One such sanctuary is Cuacolandia in Puebla, where owner Elena Larrea cares for more than 100 abandoned or abused horses, including 42 former carriage horses from Acapulco that arrived after the ban was put into place, many with open sores and suffering severe malnutrition.

In Guadalajara, horse-drawn carriages were banned in 2017 and replaced with electric buggies equipped with a 10-horsepower motor that can drive the carriage at speeds of up to 25 kilometers per hour. 

“We cannot continue to mistake the idea of tradition with animal abuse. That no longer has a place in Guadalajara; we’ve put a stop to it today,” then-mayor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez said at the time.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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