They took their sweet time, but they finally came to realise that karozzini are not just any other means of transport and therefore require to follow specific regulations that also protect the horses.
The new regulations state the following :
- In July and August Karozzini will not be allowed to be in use between 1pm and 4pm. Super, right? Because we all know that June and September are always so much cooler! NOT!
- When not working horses are to be kept in a shaded area and provided with water. Fantastic! Even though most of the horse canopies around Malta are broken or occupied by cars, or both.
- The horses are only allowed to work on alternate days and each trip cannot be longer than 45 minutes. Bloody awesome, but how on earth is this ever going to be monitored ? How will Law Enforcement know which horse is which ? And will they really check in the first place ?
- The maximum number of people in a carriage cannot be more than four, excluding the driver. Splendid, but are we talking about four of me or four of the Michelin man? And what about ridiculous hills like Crucifix Hill in Floriana?
- Animal Welfare officers will have the power to remove any animal and animal-drawn vehicle which is in breach of the law. Woohoo; and put them where? Animal welfare do not have space for one more dog or cat, let alone horses, and the only horse sanctuary in Malta is threatening to close down cause of higher rental fees.
- All these changes come hot on the heals of recently increased fines and punishments attached to animal cruelty. Yippee ya du dah yeah! But not if we don’t have the man power, the will or the skill to enforce any of these regulations. In the past five years only a handful of people have ever been charged (not necessarily arraigned) with animal cruelty, and we all know that it’s not because animal cruelty and neglect in Malta is at an all time low.
So yes, thank you Hon Camilleri and all those involved in making this happen. Thank you MEP Miriam Dalli for your invaluable support. Thank you Magistrate Denis Montebello for your intervention, thank you Moira Delia, thank you Steffie Cassar Torregiani, thank you Animal Welfare, and thank you to all the activists, who fought tooth and nail for this.
This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but it’s just that – one single step – in a long and treacherous journey. Let’s not stop here, and make a real difference by actually enforcing the law, as otherwise, amending it, would have been an absolute waste everyone’s time.