Horse-drawn carriages in Rome may soon be a thing of the past, as new welfare guidelines are introduced.
Carriages will be confined to parks during weekdays and replaced by electrically powered vintage cars in the centre during the week.
“The plight of horses drawing carriages in polluted and crowded streets had become a scandal leading to the deaths of several animals among the 90 employed in the trade.
“The time has come to abolish this anachronism,” deputy minister for Italian tourism Michaela Vittoria Brambilla told The Times newspaper.
Concerns arose last year following the euthanasia of a horse that fell and broke its leg after being grazed by a lorry.
The guidelines, expected to take effect in 20 days, will allow the horses to have sheltered breaks, where they will receive food and water.
Coachmen will be forced to register the horses’ working hours and compliance will be monitored via microchips implanted under the horses’ skin.
But activists are calling for a ban, still claiming this is not enough — as horses will continue to stand in traffic jams under the heavy sun.
New York’s Central Park is also under scrutiny after an animal rights protest group claim the noise and other distractions of the city are harmful to the horses’ health.
Legislation was recently introduced in the New York City Council to end the rides, however carriage drivers have rejected the criticism saying 400 jobs would be lost.