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Ultimatum over surrey horses

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Humane Society has issued an ultimatum to the government over long-standing concerns over the condition of surrey horses in New Providence.

President Kim Aranha warned that the animal rights organisation will withdraw from government committees unless significant improvements are made by December 15.

She said: “We have to withdraw from all these committees because everyone thinks we’re endorsing them. We go to the inspections, and when we fail a horse, invariably the next day the horse is out on the road anyway and nobody pays any attention to the law.

Mrs Aranha said: “These horses are never going to be properly treated if we have the stables that they live in, you can do anything you want right now, but the stables they go back to are totally inadequate and it does constitute cruelty.

She said: “Horses were not made for this kind of life.”

The BHS has suggested that the government establish a national stable, with facilities to oversee the health and care of surrey horses. Next, Mrs Aranha said the route will have to be adjusted, preferably away from heavy Bay Street traffic.

“The stables are very meagre and in very poor condition,” she said. “We’re told nobody can afford it, nobody can afford it because they’re not making enough money. At the same time, if they go on with these horses in this type of condition nobody’s going to want to take the surreys.

“I found minutes from a Humane Society meeting from 1968 and they were basically saying exactly what I’m saying now,” she said.

“It’s a real problem, but it’s a problem that I would like to see resolved in a friendly manner,” she continued. “People keep throwing ‘it’s cultural’ at me, but you know it used to be cultural to run around naked.

She added: “We’ve evolved and this needs to evolve too. Either have a modern approach to the surrey horse or we replace them.”

Comments

B_I_D___ 9 years ago

Let's ban the Surrey's and the Surrey horses and go to the Indian 'Rickshaw' concept...get Bahamians pulling carts around our city streets day in day out!! See how fast THAT plan gets changed!! Bahamians have a mindset that they can do anything they want with animals and pay no attention to their wellfare or what may be termed cruelty. Maybe it all stems back to being slaves and treated as animals...now they are subconsciously enacting their 'ancestors' treatment onto the animals they now use for their trade!! Just saying!!

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banker 9 years ago

Co-sign. While driving down the street, I open my window and shout "Stop beating your dog". I would get out, but who knows who carries weapons these days.

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lazybor 9 years ago

exacty, it's shameful!http://tinyurl.com/c7l9ck6" width="1" />

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blackcat 9 years ago

The lack of care for these horses is heart breaking. I am often downtown in the area where the hhorses 'rest' and from time to time I've asked the surrey operators about their horses. They always laugh when I criticise their condition and tell me that the horses are their livelihood and of course they take care of them.

It is interesting to hear how the operators are quick to blame a lack of funds for their lack of care yet they have no problem cursing and carrying on with one another , drinking and throwing their beer bottles onto the ground near their "livelihood" , all in plain view of tourists and locals alike. I have witnessed this first hand and it is absolutely disgusting not to mention embarrassing. Between the arguments with the scooter rental employees and the badgering of tourists, it really is an unfortunate site. So picture this : taxis trying to collect/ drop off tourists, scooter rentals AND the surrey horses all entering and exiting through one crowded gate. It is chaos.

The surrey rides should stop altogether. Animals need care- particularly horses and their hooves which can create an extremely painful experience if not properly looked after. Let's not even get to the legalities of age etc because I have seen what looked like 10 and 12 year olds driving these things down Bay St. Someone I know has seen a surrey being driven on the highway!! Figure that out

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TalRussell 9 years ago

"I found minutes from a Humane Society meeting from 1968 and they were basically saying exactly what I’m saying now,” said Comrade Sister Kim. If successive governments have allowed this "public" abuse of Horses to exist, and long before 1968, how in the hell can you trust them to monitor the drilling for oil sludge in our sparkling turquoise waters, with a high potential to destroy Bahamalander's white sandy beaches which stretch for miles? Good lord where is the "Buggy Party" for we abused daily horses, after all the pot cake doggies now have one? Not the sort of fight the red shirts want to endorse, considering all the horses are in Bahamaland ... legally? .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Icwq4...">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Icwq4...

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SP 9 years ago

How do we get Bahamas Humane Society President Kim Aranha to take a moment and visit Fox Hill Prison too? "Humans were not made for this kind of life.”

Surrey horses maybe mistreated, but they are treated a whole lot better than inmates at Fox Hill prison!

Perhaps we can influence A.R.K. and Kim Aranha to focus some attention on human suffering at the prison.

Lord knows they would all be lobbying loudly and demonstrating in Parliament square if dogs, cats, dolphins, turtles or any animal were subjected to the living conditions at the prison.

Let's get together and do something humane for those incarcerated as well as the horses this time.

Might just get some traction with government if we combine a human element along with the animals.

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eyeswideopen 9 years ago

Do the crime - Do the time!! Animals are innocent!!!!!!!!!

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john33xyz 9 years ago

eyewideopen - yes, that is true. When you are found guilty of, say, robbing a gas station - the Judge sentences you to (for example) 3 years in prison. This means that you are separated from most of society, unable to earn an income, any loans you have grow with interest, you are unable to travel or do any of the things that most of us take for granted. That is the punishment. Do the time, do the crime. You are right. However, ...

The Judge does NOT say that while you are in prison, you must drink rusty water, be served rice with saltpeter in it, served chicken from persons wearing gloves with specks of feces on them, urinate and defecate in buckets, sleep on a cold cement floor without blankets, wait many days or weeks for even the most simple medical attention, be given no toothpaste or soap, bathe in cold water in winter, be sexually molested and raped, be brutally assaulted and incur broken teeth and bones, be kept awake at night by other prisoners continuously screaming at the top of their lungs for no reason, along with a bunch of other things that happen to you there that are kept very secret.

Also you earn no money if you are not "lucky" to get on a work program, and then be set free after your term is complete with nothing to start a new life with except a bad police record which ensures nobody will hire you.

If YOU and others believe that THIS is a deserved and acceptable punishment for robbing a gas station (or other crimes) then LET'S put it in the LAW, change the Constitution or do whatever is necessary to make it WRITTEN and accepted. Why don't we admit in writing what our true beliefs are? Why do we instead pretend to be Christians and claim that all men (and women) are children of God? Let's choose which type of people we are and then BE that kind of people instead of being two-faced.

If you are a barbarian, don't be ashamed. Stand up and proclaim loudly for all to hear "I am a barbarian !!!!"

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ETJ 9 years ago

A.R.K. and BHS are ANIMAL welfare organizations - there are precious few of these groups in the Bahamas as it is and you want them to turn their attention to the human prison conditions? Perhaps there would be fewer people incarcerated had they been taught kindness and compassion - including towards animals - from a young age.

What are YOU doing about the conditions at the prison? What group are you affiliated with? If none, why harangue animal welfare people for doing what they are mandated to do?

You would do better to ask the Christian Council, your church, the Salvation Army and others what they're doing about it and please do get involved yourself. You might also ask the government why Amnesty Internationals long standing concerns over the prison have yet to be addressed.

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sherco 9 years ago

It is highly unlikely that the drivers are EVER going to follow any rules given them or take proper care of their animals, in even a "National Stable" setting as suggested by the Bahamas Humane Society. If the drivers aren't making enough money in this trade (as they so state) to give their horses proper stabling and care, then why don't they get out of it??? That is such a ridiculous argument as to why they can't afford proper stabling; it only shows that it is self evident that they shouldn't be in the surrey business! We need to end, once and for all, this cruelty by closing down the horse drawn surrey trade...it has been going on far too long and nothing has ever been resolved...the horses just continue their miserable and inhumane existence.

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Sally4th4animals 9 years ago

The Bahamian Islands were a safe haven for slaves escaping the U.S. mainland ... they wanted to be FREE.

The Bahamians wanted their FREEDOM from British rule ... and this year marked 40 years of freedom, yet they keep the message of SLAVERY alive in Nassau, New Providence with slave horses for all the world to see.

As thousands of cruise passengers arrive and pour onto the streets of Nassau, ... their FIRST IMPRESSION is the beaten down slave horses. Anyone with a conscience can see the spirits of these animals is broken.

It's the same as a human slave ... in time their spirit is broken, and yet the Bahamian Government allows cruel use of horses to prevail. It's a shameful "custom" as is slavery itself.

The Bahamian Government, and especially the Department of Tourism should be in greater step with the times.

LET FREEDOM RING FOR THE SURREY HORSES TOO!

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AL 8 years, 9 months ago

I just returned from a cruise from the Bahamas. Our ship spent a day in Nassau. As we exited from the ship, we saw several horse buggies carrying tourists. The horses were in bad shape; some had foaming and twitching mouth, others were limping. They were all dirty and very thin. Some had skin conditions that looked like rain rot.. The buggies were lined up under a long holding area. At some point I counted 11 horses in the line. Each "stall" area had a red watering dish attached. I walked up to see if there was water in the dishes, but they were bone dry, most filled with garbage. One dish had some dirty water in it. Unfortunately the horses were moved thru the line so fast, that they did not get a chance to drink from the one dish that had the water. I asked a young man - one of the buggy's rider - why there was no water out for the horses in the other watering dishes and he said that they give them enough water. It was clearly not the case. I was so disgusted and disturbed, that I had to go back to the ship. From the ship I could see the area and saw that the same horses were ridden from 8am (when we arrived) until 4:30pm. There was no food or water and they barely were able to stop to rest. As the hours passed they became even more lethargic, hanging their heads and were dragging themselves. Even though it is December and the temperature was only in the 80s, the horses looked hot and thirsty. I can’t even imagine how they feel during the summer months! I am wondering if anyone keeps an eye on these poor creatures. It was just horrible to see that so many people watched them, but did not see their suffering.

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