Call for ban on “cruel” pony rides

  • Equine welfare organisation calls for ban on ponies working on fairground carousel rides in Europe

    The World Equine Organisation is calling for a ban on the use of real ponies on carousel rides.

    Visitors to a Belgium fair have been horrified to discover live ponies being used to give children rides on a carousel.

    The Foire du Midi, taking place in Brussels this month is just one of the many fairs across Europe offering pony carousel rides as one of its attractions.

    Caroline Foster, who lives in Brussels, was disgusted by the sight of these ponies and contacted HHO to enlist other users’ support.”The first evening I went there were about eight or nine ponies crammed nose to tail on the carousel,” she said.

    “I started crying and had to be physically restrained. I have never seen anything like it before in my life.”

    Standards of theserides vary enormously depending on the country, as does the standard of care offered to these animals.

    Typically around six or seven small ponies are tied to a mechanically rotating arm. These animals have very little room to move and some of their tack causes rubs and sores, particularly around the head area.

    The ponies are then forced to walk round in one direction, at a set speed for many hours giving rides to children of various ages and sizes.

    As well as enduring all types of weather conditions, these ponies are unable to urinate, drink or eat freely. They are also subjected to the continuous loud fairground music. One vet who witnessed a ride in Spain concluded that the animals were more than likely to be profoundly deaf.

    During peak season these animals spend their time either working or travelling from one fairground destination to another.

    David Ward from the World Equine Organisation said: “We don’t want to stop children’s contact with animals, but there has to an alternative.”

    Traditional pony rides where children are walked up and down by handlers in a quiet area of the fair would be a more humane way.”

    To register your support in banning these rides email: carouselponies@europe.com

    For more information on other pony carousels and to sign the online petition organised by the World Equine Organisation visit: www.weo.org

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