SIX ISSUES IMPACTING HORSE WELFARE

Oversight of the conditions of the Carriage Animals is conducted by Industry Operators with ONLY sporadic monitoring by The City of Charleston.

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select a box below to learn more about the issues

HEAT

RECUPERATION

LOAD

STALL SIZE

HOURS

FEED & CARE


ISSUE #1: HOTTEST TEMPERATURE allowed in the U.S.

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Cruel heat ordinance requires FOUR readings of a sizzling 95 degrees before horses can be relieved of the oppressive heat.

HARSHEST HEAT ORDINANCE IN THE US

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Operating in danger of heat distress:

  • The NOAA (the National Oceanographic and Aeronautical Association) Heat Index Chart shows humidity on the side and temperature across the top.

    • Look at 95 degrees on the NOAA Chart. This is the temperature at which the current ordinance requires horses taken off the streets.

    • The humidity is usually very high in Charleston; between 70 to 100% is the typical range.

    • You can see that those temperatures register in the DANGER category. Not Caution. Not Extreme Caution. DANGER.

  • In the course of their work shift, the carriage animals have NO shelter from the direct sun.

  • Unlike humans, carriage animals cannot get out of the heat or get water when they feel the need.

Loophole to keep carriage animals in extreme heat:

  • The new ordinance requires FOUR readings at 95 degrees. If during the FOUR readings the temperature dips even .01 degrees below 95 degrees, readings begin all over again.

Concerns about hiding the temperature

In 2004 - 2006 the city established a subcommittee to look at the issue of the health of the horses that work on the streets of the city of Charleston. A member of the 2006 Committee, distributed the following memo to the committee:

City thermometer located four stories atop a hotel.

  • Where cool breezes blow

  • NOT where horses work

  • NOT at nose level

NEED FOR MODERN THERMOMETER

Charleston should use a Technologically Advanced Thermometer, i.e. WET GLOBE used by OSHA and National Weather Service

  • The WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is a measure of the heat stress in direct sunlight, which takes into account: temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation)
    This differs from the heat index, which takes into consideration temperature and humidity and is calculated for shady areas.

  • Wet Globe Thermometer is HAND HELD so can be used at site of working equine.

  • If you work or exercise in direct sunlight, this is a good element to monitor. Military agencies, OSHA and many nations use the WBGT as a guide to managing workload in direct sunlight

HUMIDITY CONCERNS

If the humidity is more than 75%, heat stress is a likely due to inability to sweat regardless of ambient temperature. (Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut)

As noted above, the humidity is usually very high in Charleston; between 70 to 100% is the typical range.

Common terms for horse overheating include:

  • Hyperthermia

  • Heat exhaustion

  • Heat cramps

  • Heatstroke

  • Sunstroke


ISSUE #2: HEAVIEST LOAD in the U.S 

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17 Adult passengers including driver.

MOST EXTREME LOAD IN THE NATION

You need look no further than the Carriage Industry’s statements today to realize that these animals need our advocacy. Apparently, the industry would be fine with a 1500 pound animal pulling 34 passengers — approximately 8,000 pounds (4 Tons) — despite the fact that that is against the law.

**City of Charleston Ordinance**

  • "No carriage shall be operated having more passengers than what is permitted by its certificate of appropriateness or having a combined weight of carriage, passengers, and drivers that is more than three (3) times the weight of the animal(s) pulling the vehicle." Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (c)(5) 

  • "Animals shall be at least three and one-half (3½ years of age and shall not weigh less than nine hundred fifty (950) pounds in fit condition." Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (e)(11)

In Charleston, ONE horse pulls well over 2 tons of weight:

2,000.00    lbs. Carriage (average)

      50.00   lbs. Harness (average)

3,078.40*   lbs. 17 Adult Passengers

5,128.40    lbs. TOTAL

2 1/2 TONS PULLED BY ONE HORSE**

*Assumes 9 men and 8 women based on CDC data   
**Educated guess using CDC figures since the City does not enforce its own ordinance and refuses to weigh loads.


ISSUE #3: HOURS WORKED

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Carriage animals can be forced to work up to 10 hrs with wagon in tow.

SEVERE WORK SCHEDULE

OVERSIGHT BY CARRIAGE OPERATORS.

**City of Charleston Ordinance**

Up to 10 hours a day for 6 consecutive days

  • Despite a mandatory 15 minute break between tours, animals are permitted to work eight consecutive hours connected to wagons or ten hours with a ninety-minute break in a 24 hour period. In addition animals can be forced to work six days in a seven-day period.


ISSUE #4: RECUPERATION

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Are Vacation Days Sufficient?

PASTURE TURN-OUT TIME

OVERSIGHT BY CARRIAGE OPERATORS.

City of Charleston Ordinance

  • "Unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian, animals shall be given a pasture turn-out time of a minimum of four (4) consecutive days to total fourteen (14) days within four (4) months" Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (i)(1)(k)


ISSUE #5: STALL SIZE

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Stall size based on practices from the 1800s 

STALL SIZE AND TETHERING

**City of Charleston Ordinance** 

  • "Stalls sizes shall be no less than five (5) feet nine (9) inches × eleven (11) feet unless a carriage company undertakes any remodeling or refurbishing of any sorts to their stable that equals fifty (50) percent of the market value of the stable or moves their stable. In the event a carriage company does remodel or refurbish their stable as stated in the previous sentence then they must implement a minimum stall size of twelve (12) feet × twelve (12) feet for every stall" Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (i)(1)(f)
  • "The practice of tethering the animal in a stall is permitted so long as the animal can lie down without the risk of entanglement or injury" Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (i)(1)(g)

Dangers:

  • "Very busy, loud barns, or an area that is too small for the horse to feel comfortable lying down are some common problems for the modern horse. The result is that horses go without REM sleep over the course of weeks which has a negative effect on physical performance, and may even factor into irritability or behavioral problems.” Pet MD 11/11/2014


ISSUE #6: FEED AND STALL CARE

Ordinance requires feeding a working animal an undefined “adequate amount.”

Note this horse’s hooves and muzzle. His hooves are a green tint as is his muzzle.  This barn was found, in the Independent Vet Review, to use chlorine bleach to clean stalls. Chlorine bleach is dangerous when used in stalls because combined with ammonia, or horse urine, it can create a toxic gas, called chloramine vapor and hydrazine, in those stalls forcing the horse to breathe the toxic vapor.  

OVERSIGHT BY CARRIAGE OPERATORS.

FOOD 

**City of Charleston Ordinance**

  • "Animals shall receive an adequate amount of equine feed daily, which is free from contamination, sufficient in quantity, having nutritional value, and be provided frequently enough to meet normal daily requirements for the animal's condition, special needs, environmental factors and size of the animal so as to maintain a healthy flesh" Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (h)(1)

  • "Clean drinking water free from contamination shall be available to an out of service animal at all times" Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (h)(2)

  • "Out of service animals shall at all times have access to salt in a block or loose form" Chap 29. Article V. Div 1. § 29-212 (h)(2)

FREE CHOICE WATER

**City of Charleston Ordinance**

While free choice water is stipulated by the ordinance, it’s left to the industry operators to voluntarily comply.


LIVING CONDITIONS

Here’s how an Independent Veterinarian weighed in on those issues in May - June, 2009:

  • None of the companies, except one, was feeding the horses enough hay.

  • Herd Health for equine animals is not a new concept but it is to Charleston Carriage Company Owners.

  • Poor Ventilation due to blocked exhaust fans or failure to maintain exhaust fans. Low ceilings of stalls also create respiratory distress.

  • The size of stalls is too small. Dimensions of the stalls are based on highly antiquated practices based in the 1800’s. 

  • Use of Chlorine Bleach in the disinfection of stalls is a health hazard.

    • *Note the horse’s hooves and muzzle in the photo just above. His hooves appear to have a green tint, as does his muzzle.

    • This horse's barn was found to use Chlorine Bleach to clean stalls. Chlorine Bleach is dangerous when used in stalls because combined with Ammonia, or horse urine, it can create a Toxic Gas, (Chloramine Vapor and hydrazine.) in those stalls for those horses to breathe. 

What Can You Do?

Call or E-mail:

Ask them to:

  • Support the study of the Charleston carriage industry using a peer-reviewed, independent and science-based approach as proposed by Charleston Animal Society
  • Make 95 degrees temporary until the study is complete
  • Reject FOUR readings of 95 degrees before horses are removed from the street. It is cruel, cynical and NOT based on scientific data
  • Measure temperature at street level and in the Market
  • Join Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates