New controversy over proposed carriage horse study

FILE

Charleston’s carriage horse industry says it will not stand in the way of the Charleston Animal Society’s call for an independent study of its working conditions.

During a phone interview with News 2, Charleston Carriage Works owner Broderick Christoff said he and other carriage owners were tired of accusations of abuse.

“If we need to change something, then find out what it is and we’ll change it.  And if we don’t need to change something, then find that out, too,” Christoff said.

Last week, one of Christoff’s horses slipped and fell in downtown Charleston.  Millions of people watched video of the incident after it was posted online.

Christoff says the horse, Big John, is doing great.

“He’s been off for a couple of days.  People have been coming to see him and bringing him treats,” Christoff said.

The Charleston Animal Society says the carriage industry’s call for an independent study is disingenuous. The carriage industry is urging the animal society to conduct the study with its own horses.

“Are we supposed to go start our own carriage horse company?” said Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore.

In a news release, the animal society said a study cannot be done without the horses and mules that actually live and work in Charleston.

“What an animal is able to draw is really dependent on how hot it is outside, how humid it is outside,” said Elmore. “So to try to look at these stressors in a vacuum doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

Christoff says the carriage industry goes to great lengths to monitor the health of its animals.

“If an animal’s temperature itself is too high for that animal to do a tour, it doesn’t do a tour,” Christoff said. “That’s always how it is.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 58 degrees outside or 98 degrees outside, the animal’s temperature tells us what we need to know.”

(Copyright 2017 WCBD.  All rights reserved.)

 

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