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The mayor and horse celebrate the latter's retirement The mayor and horse celebrate the latter's retirement. The sign reads "retired."

Work horses feted at retirement party

Xalapa retires horses used to haul garbage carts

Horse-drawn garbage carts will soon be history in the Veracruz municipality of Xalapa, where authorities have decided to implement a plan to improve the quality of life for work horses.

The first stage of a program that replaces the horses and carts with motocarros, three-wheeled, motorized vehicles, will retire 14 horses that are used for garbage collection in areas that garbage trucks cannot access.

Xalapa has banned the use of horses for such work after a law was passed to prohibit the animals’ use for anything other than agricultural work.

While the horses might be expected to celebrate, the cart drivers themselves were looking forward to the change.

“We expect things will go a lot better for us,” said a drivers’ representative.

An emotional Pedro Landa said the change was important, not just to protect the animals, but also the drivers “who every day have to suffer while carrying out their work.”

At a retirement ceremony yesterday, Mayor Américo Zúñiga Martínez said modern technology would allow the community “to prevent, once and for all, the exploitation of a single horse in Xalapa.”

The mayor said the horses would be put up for adoption by responsible people who could give them sufficient space.

Speakers yesterday said Xalapa is the first municipality in Mexico to take such action on behalf of work horses.

A veterinarian with The Donkey Sanctuary program said Ciudad Neza in the State of México had implemented a similar plan but the Xalapa model was more complete.

The garbage collectors’ replacement vehicles resemble an elongated motorcycle with three wheels and a large box behind the driver.

Powered by a 200-cc engine, they cost approximately 50,000 pesos each, or US $2,700. Twenty of the vehicles were delivered yesterday.

Mexico News Daily

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