Thursday, January 26, 2006


Horse Welfare, continued

Photo by L. Karim

Toxic pollution

It can be assumed that the demand for horse-drawn rides would usually peak during the summer months when the tourist trade is at its busiest. This is also the time of year when roads are most congested.
Air pollution, at any time of the year, has an adverse effect on horses' respiratory systems. The effect of sunlight on pollution generated by vehicle exhausts can create toxic and irritant low-level ozone smog. This is particularly bad because in the hot summer weather, just when the surrounding air is at its most irritant, the hard-worked horses will be breathing most heavily to cool their bodies down. As a result, they will be drawing in huge lungfulls of toxins.
The leading medical journal, The Lancet, has noted that animals exposed to ozone pollution have suffered emphysema, cancer and accelerated ageing, stating that 'in animals exposed to ozone the mortality from lung infections is increased'.
U.S. Veterinarian Jeffie Roszel has studied the breathing problems experienced by horses used to draw vehicles in traffic. He found that the 'tracheal washes and samples from respiratory secretions of these horses showed enormous lung damage, the same kind of damage you would expect from a heavy smoker'. Horses' nostrils are usually only 3 to 3.5 feet above street level, so these animals are 'truly... living a nose-to-tailpipe existence'.
from Animal Aid

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