Horrific horse heatwave collapse sparks outrage

The plight of horses working in the current heatwave was horrifically illustrated yesterday.

A horse pulling a tourist carriage collapsed through heat exhaustion in the Albarizas area of Marbella. Police, officers from the Guardia Civil unit responsible for environment protection (SEPRONA) and the fire service were quickly on the scene and treated the stricken animal by hosing it with water.

The horse was eventually taken to a shelter where photos were later posted showing that it had made a recovery, but the incident sparked outrage, with many calling for the horse carriages to be immediately banned in Marbella.

The carriages are a common sight at this time of year, with tourists using them for scenic tours of the town. Though the carriages may be brightly painted and well maintained, the treatment of the horses is often less than picturesque. They often have to stand, harnessed to the carriages, for hours at a time without shade.

The horse’s owner has since been charged with maltreatment of an animal. Under Spanish Law anyone mistreating a domestic animal or causing death, injuries or physical impairments can be punished with a prison sentence ranging from three months to one year with subsequent disqualification from one to three years from any trade or business related to animals and other infractions can be sanctioned with fines from €75 -30,000.

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