Mérida, Yucatán — One of the major-party candidates for mayor is turning the city’s iconic horse-drawn carriages into a campaign issue.
“A better Mérida protects animals. We will exchange the traditional carriages for electric carriages,” said the PRI candidate, Victor Caballero Durán.
Animal advocates complain that the horses are over-worked and are forced to pull buggies in the heat of the sun.
The horseless carriages would look similar to the current flower-strewn buggies, but would be propelled with an electric motor. In a video Caballero Durán released on Facebook, the alternative would underscore the city’s pledge to protect animals and to Mérida’s improve image as both a traditional and sustainable city.
“My goal is to run a city that aspires to generate awareness among Meridanos and national and international tourists about the good treatment we are obliged to give to all the animals that live every day with us,” said Caballero Durán, in a press release.
The caleseros, or drivers, would migrate to the new carriages gradually, he proposed.
“Therefore, I am proposing the replacement of horse-drawn carriages with non-polluting vehicles such as the prototype of the electric trolleys, which are friendly to the environment and above all, most importantly, frees the equines from the load work to which they are subjected,” he continued.
He stressed that this project would be totally inclusive and in conjunction with the caleseros, endowing them with an ecological alternative, profitable and even more importantly, in solidarity with the animals that have served them all these years.
The retired horses would be acquired by the municipality and placed on an educational farm to give them a decent retirement. Or they could be engaged in the rehabilitation of children with different abilities through equine therapy.
The candidate mentioned that the purchase of the carriages would be made through a public tender.
Caballero Durán faces the PAN’s Renán Barrera Concha on election day July 1.