Animal rights activists marched to Valletta on Saturday morning as they sought to pressure legislators into banning horse-drawn carriages, or karozzini. 

Demonstrators who form part of Animal Liberation Malta walked from The Mall in Floriana way to Castille Square in Valletta, “This is cruelty, not tradition” [Din moħqrija – mhux tradizzjoni] and “You ride – they die”. 

Karozzini continue to serve as a tourist attraction in Malta, although rules were tightened some years ago to ban them in July and August and restrict horses to three-day working weeks.

They are rapidly falling out of favour in many other countries, however. Barcelona, Prague, Melbourne, Chicago, Montreal, Salt Lake City have all moved to ban them in recent years.

Video: Animal Liberation Malta

Palma de Mallorca, a rival Mediterranean destination, will ban horse-drawn carriages as of next year, replacing them with electric vehicles. 

Activists who protested on Saturday said they would like Malta to follow a similar path, with existing cabby drivers given new licences allowing them to operate electric-drawn carriages instead. 

They also want a moratorium on all new licences for horse-drawn carriages and a grandfather clause introduced into the law, ensuring that any horses that retire from carriage duties are not replaced. 

All other horse-drawn carriages, such as hearses, should also be banned, they said, “since there are adequate alternatives.”

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