A UK car hire company which sparked debate by calling for riders to be fined £1,000 for leaving horse dung on roads said it “plucked the figure out of the air”.
In a statement released yesterday (19 September) ValueHire.co.uk stated that “huge piles of horse muck left on public roads are causing chaos for car drivers”.
The company points out that dog owners who fail to clear up after their pets are subject to fines and said the same should apply to riders.
Spokesman Susan Jones said: “Horses can leave an extraordinary amount of mess on the roads compared with a dog, so why should they be exempt from any of the fines dog owners face?”
“Not only do cars have to drive around or through this mess, but anyone who uses the road could cycle or walk in it too, it’s really dangerous.
“A fine would at least help to pay for the additional costs to authorities of clearing up horse mess, which is especially important in a time of tough cuts where savings need to be made everywhere.”
H&H asked for details of these “additional costs”.
A spokesman for the firm, said: “I don’t know if there’s any evidence but there’s a cost to everything.”
Asked why the company had suggested £1,000 as a fine, he answered: “That [figure] was just plucked out of the air”.
Ms Jones said that “76% of our customers are cross about this”. The statement goes on to say that 76% of people surveyed “thought horse mess should be the responsibility of the owner, and welcomed the idea of fines for those who didn’t clean up after their animals”.
Asked how riders would go about clearing up after their horses, the spokesman said: “We don’t really make a suggestion on that; it’s up to the individual.
“You can get bags and things to hang down on the horse.”
The spokesman said the statement had “opened a can of worms” and that there had “been some good debate about it”, adding that drivers seem to dislike dung on the roads the most as it is seen as a safety hazard.
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The main risk to public health from dog faeces is toxocariasis, an infection caused by roundworms that can be transmitted to humans. There is no risk to public health from the dung of a healthy horse.
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