Many years ago, before automobiles existed, people either walked or rode carriages. At least those who could afford it. The very rich even had their own carriages. Back in the good old days that Conservatives can only dream of, it was the mode of transportation of choice for those in high places or notables. But times change. One would hardly believe it. Within a few decades, the automobile gained the upper hand, and it is impossible to imagine the streetscape without it. What’s more, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get around the city in any other way, be it on foot or by bike, always the sacred vehicle has priority and deserves the most space.
The automobile, still a symbol of freedom and independence, occupies most of the public space. It is socially desired and is supported by the majority of citizens. But then there is still this nostalgic tendency, the horse-drawn carriage, also called Fiacre, which slowly and accurately carries a tourist through the streets, so that one feels a little like the beloved Sissi in Vienna or Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg. This anachronistic touch, this inspiring slowness that reminds you of earlier times that you have never experienced but know all too well from corresponding so-called historical films. To feel like a princess for once, or at least like a count. There’s something wonderfully romantic about it. But only for those who want to see it that way. It’s a business for the carriages and torture for the horses.
Horses are prey animals and have no place in the city, between the car avalanches and the noise associated with them. Accidents happen again and again, horses collapse or are not necessarily treated sensitively by the drivers. In addition, they have to stand in the blazing sun at all temperatures in summer. There are also no regulations on rest days, so they can be exploited to the point of total exhaustion. Yes, it is now well known that horses are steppe animals. This is the argument used to prove that they don’t have a problem with the high temperatures. However, I have yet to see any steppe that is paved and where there is constant noise, but this is not mentioned by the gentlemen and ladies who defend this cruelty to animals.
Exposing such animals to the rigors of the big city is anachronistic, decadent and grossly negligent. 24,000 people in Salzburg signed the VGT’s petition against the continuation of this madness. Nevertheless, the ÖVP mayor Preuner has extended the contract with the fiakers for another five years. Not only are there no improvements for the exploited animals, but things have also actually gotten worse. As a precaution, the obligatory rest days were deleted from the contract, as was the heat-free regulation. It’s exciting that the ÖVP is always one step ahead when it comes to maintaining animal cruelty. This is justified with the absurd argument of tradition. It simply belongs to the cityscape of Salzburg. But what is particularly questionable in terms of democratic politics is not a novelty for ÖVP politicians, but rather the rule that the activists were not even heard. The petition was refused by the mayor, a man who boasted that he was there for all Salzburg residents. You negate what you don’t want to hear or see.
Tradition is beautiful, but only for as long as nobody has to suffer from it. While other cities are working vehemently to replace the Fiaker with electric carriages, the city of Salzburg remains in the darkest days of the past. Dealing with animals and people is a fatal reminder of the time of feudalism. Citizens are silenced and animals are exploited with no regard for their needs.
Therefore, I will avoid the city of Salzburg for the next few years. Join us, #boycottSalzburg.
Or write to: email@example.com. And tell the gentlemen and ladies in the city government what you think of it. Because it is never too late to take action for animal welfare.