Animal rights activists plan to take to the bayfront Saturday to continue efforts to ban horse-drawn carriage rides in St. Augustine.
An estimated 50 protesters with One Protest, a Jacksonville-based advocacy group, and Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, a statewide organization, are expected to gather around 4 p.m. to bring awareness to what they say is an outdated practice.
Carla Wilson, Central Florida Coordinator with the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), said she has been part of the protests in St. Augustine for the past 15 years.
“We focus on the first day of summer to call attention to the heat,” Wilson said. “Horses don’t belong pounding this hot pavement in the summertime.”
After ARFF lobbied local officials and held multiple protests, the City of St. Augustine passed an ordinance in 2012 that included protections for carriage horses including a requirement that horses be provided water after every tour and a rule that horses must be pulled off the streets if the temperature reaches 95 degrees. But Wilson said that’s not enough.
“The ordinance is great, but they just need to go altogether,” Wilson said. “There is nothing romantic or nostalgic about being pulled around in a horse carriage with a poor horse on hot pavement that’s breathing exhaust fumes in 2019.”