Working horses in Malta are suffering from thirst and dehydration and an international charity is calling for action to be taken.
Malta’s carriage horses are a popular attraction in the country, taking tourists on rides in a traditional “karozzins” or carriages, for up to an hour.
A veterinary survey by World Animal Protection in September found that while the horses were in good overall condition, all of them were thirsty and did not have ready access to clean, fresh water.
The survey found just one dedicated, working tap for all of the horses in the area and this was on a specific route only used when carrying cruise ship passengers.
“I want to give my thirsty horse a drink of water but I can’t do that if there’s nowhere to get it from,” said karrozin owner Christian Caruana.
“We’ve been going round in circles on this for years and we’re grateful to World Animal Protection for trying to help us and our horses. They are our livelihoods and we care deeply about them and their welfare.”
When World Animal Protection first became aware of the problem in 2009 there were a greater number of water points.
They are urging the authorities to reconnect these water points that have been disconnected or decommissioned.
“It is clear that the horses need more water than they are able to get access to,” said Ruud Tombrock of World Animal Protection.
“They are thirsty and they are suffering for want of a drink. But the horse owners can only provide it to them if it’s there for them in the first place.
“We’ve been pleading with the authorities for years about this so that we can give our horses the water they so badly need.”
The charity is now asking the public to get behind the cause by signing a letter to Malta’s transport minister Joe Mizzi.
“We’ve made some practical, pragmatic and inexpensive suggestions on how to solve the problem and we look forward to a positive response from the authorities,” added Mr Tombrock.