[image-1]The Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates (CCHA) are a welfare-based organization addressing the treatment of carriage horses and mules in Charleston. This Saturday the group, which was founded in 2016, will hold a peaceful walk downtown from 11 a.m.-noon. The advocates ask that participants meet at the Custom’s House on East Bay and proceed down North and South Market streets.

Participants are encouraged to wear white and make handheld signs; signs on sticks are not allowed. The CCHA says, “The Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates and our supporters are coming together for the first time to raise awareness and educate the public about safety concerns and the working conditions of Charleston’s carriage animals. Participants will walk in the summer heat on the same streets where Charleston’s carriage animals work to demonstrate solidarity and empathy for the animals who work in these conditions day in and day out.”

The CCHA joins other organizations in town like the Charleston Animal Society, in asking for a “peer-reviewed, science-based study of Charleston’s horse-drawn carriage industry and legislation that provides for humane working conditions for Charleston’s carriage horses and mules.” 
Although measures have been taken to protect the city’s carriage horses, they still fall short of the study of carriage horse conditions that CCHA is demanding.

This past March City Council approved new carriage horse heat standards; carriage horses now are removed from the streets when temperatures reach 95 degrees rather than the previous limit of 98. The ruling also applied to the heat index, with horses being pulled from the streets when the index hits 110 degrees, rather than 125. At the time, the Charleston Animal Society and Pet Helpers expressed their concerns that the ordinance didn’t go far enough.

Last month the city of Charleston and local horse carriage companies added new signage to carriages that warn drivers to keep a safe distance after several incidents of collisions with parked cars. City livability director Dan Riccio explained the reason behind the new signage, “With so many people traveling to and through our area at this time of year, we thought it would be a good idea to remind visitors, in particular, that following horse carriages — or any other vehicles, for that matter — too closely is never a good idea.”

Riccio continued, “We will be watching this initiative closely over the next several months to see how successful it is in practice and whether any additional administrative or enforcement measures of this kind should be brought forward during our next carriage safety review.”