Diapers are now compulsory for carriage horses?

Blunt noses, annoyed scraped soles and dangerously lurching cyclists are common scenes around the brandenburg gate. Because that's where the horse-drawn carriages drive along berlin's magnificent buildings – and the horses fill the street with apples. A dispute has erupted between the city, trucking companies and animal rights activists over the apple problem in the capital. Even in the popular french tourist town of rothenburg ob der tauber, horse-drawn carriages are now unpopular.

While in the countryside, a pile of manure is as much a part of the idyll as the morning cockcrow, in the city, manure is subject to the road cleaning act and the road traffic act – which is why drivers have to clean up their horses' messes immediately. But the buck often doesn't stop there. Now the berlin senate is thinking about making horse diapers compulsory.

"We hope that something will happen as soon as possible", says head of the public order department harald strehlow to his colleagues in the administration. The penalties are apparently not enough as a deterrent. So far, the carriage drivers are threatened with a warning of 35 euros – if they remove the pile immediately after being asked to do so – or even a fine of up to 10 euros.000 euros.

Low capacity for intervention

"But we can't keep putting someone next to the carriage", strehlow complains about his employees' lack of powers of persuasion. And so he received complaints from residents in berlin-mitte, who now had to put up with yet another source of stink in addition to the exhaust fumes. The coachmen were even allowed to throw the apples into a plastic bag and into the city trash cans. But mostly shovels and buckets just dangle unused from the carts.

1.5 tons of horse manure are produced every day by the 31 carriage horses in berlin, according to mario schwarz of the testing organization dekra. "It's a danger for bicycles, especially when it starts raining, it's slippery and slippery", he says. "And if someone swerves and makes a turn – the road safety will not be better either."

Against the planned diapers – in the fiakerstadt vienna as "stinksackl" and in salzburg as "excrement pockets" obligatory for a long time – but there is resistance from the animal protectors. "Horses are animals of flight and can … Panic when this device hits the hind legs", warns wolfgang apel, president of the animal protection association for berlin. Moreover, they could cause chafing. From the animals' point of view, the excrement pockets should be rejected. The drivers themselves are tired of the issue – and don't want to make any more noise about it.
In dresden, on the other hand, the city tour drivers are more disciplined. They like to get down, sweep up the horse droppings with a shovel and broom and stow them in a small bag. But: on the single-lane roads in the center of the city, the patience of motorists is put to the test.

Harmonious togetherness in munich

A harmonious relationship between man and animal is also possible: in the english garden in munich, where both mounted police and a tourist carriage are on the move, the remains are left lying around – there have never been any complaints, according to the park administration. There are also no problems with the procession of the innkeepers and the traditional costume parade at the oktoberfest: in some cases, the carriages collect the dirt themselves – and behind the parade, a cleaning crew rolls through the streets in space-age vehicles.

For years, the situation in the small french town of rothenburg ob der tauber has been a real mess. Because of several accidents with injured fubgangers and exhausted collapsed horses, the administration banned almost all driving operations in the medieval old town. Now only three companies were allowed to drive, says michael sommerkorn, head of the legal department. The coachmen are angry – and are also upset about the 200 euro fine for broken down apples. One of them now likes to use electric carriages. "The city has nothing against this. It's only about the horses, they should go away."

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