As the Charleston Animal Society and other advocate groups continue to push for more regulations on the local horse carriage industry, those in the industry argue there are misconceptions that need to be addressed.
Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston published a video Sunday addressing misconceptions. The video (watch above) was a statement from equine veterinarian Dr. Sally Banner-Brown in which she goes on the record stating heat was not a contributing factor to an incident involving a horse a few years ago.
“Anytime something happens, it’s always automatically, ‘Oh, they’re overworked.’ Or, ‘It’s heat exhaustion,’ or something like that,” Dr. Banner-Brown said. “When quite often, it’s not. It’s just an accident.”
Palmetto Carriage Works general manager Tommy Doyle said his company did the interview with Dr. Banner-Brown because “people need to know the truth.”
The release of the video Sunday follows a public back and forth between the industry and the Charleston Animal Society.
Most recently, the animal society stated it would continue to push for an independent study of the industry while the carriage companies responded and said the animal society would have to use its own animals for such research.
In March an ordinance changing the regulation on heat limits for horse-drawn carriages was passed. The new rule states carriage animals must be pulled from service once temperatures reach 95 degrees or a heat index of 110. The previous acceptable operating temperature was 98 degrees with a heat index of 125.
In addition to pushing for a study of the industry, the animal society has also shared concerns over the weight of carriages. Currently there is an ordinance in place that requires the weight of carriages not be more than three times the weight of the animal(s) doing the pulling.
CAS and other advocate groups have publicly challenged the consistency of carriage companies’ compliance with that ordinance.
ABC News 4 has reached out to Dr. Banner-Brown and Edisto Equine Clinic where she works for additional insight and expert opinion.
Doyle said the goal behind publishing the video Sunday was simple, and it’s not the first time Palmetto Carriage Works has taken a modern multimedia approach to addressing concerns. The company has published a series of videos on its website and social media platforms on topics ranging from the history and facts of the business to unfortunate encounters with passionate advocates.
“This is our effort to educate the public and get our message out,” Doyle said. “We take care of our animals and the best care of our customers. We haven’t been able to get our message out in the past. The only voice people seem to hear out there sometimes is the other voice.”
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