1,000 signatures reached
To: Intramuros Administration
DEMAND BETTER CARE FOR KALESA HORSES
Email the Intramuros administrator Atty. Marco Antonio Sardillo at email@example.com and ask him to require calesa operators to:
1) strictly enforce the Department of Tourism Rules & Regulations on Accreditation of Kalesa horses stating that the maximum number of passengers per calesa should only be two (2) people excluding the coachman ;
2) ensure that the eight (8) hour work rule is observed for the calesa horse with REAL rest periods by removing the calesa from the horse and any contraption that keeps the horse from stretching its neck downwards for at least one hour during breaks;
3) require calesa operators to show quarterly proof that the horses have been seen by equine veterinarians and farriers (those inspecting and reparing the shoes of the horse) and, in line with the Animal Welfare Act, the operators must be able to show accreditation with the Bureau of Animal Industry's - Animal Welfare Division or BAI-AWD; and,
4) suspend the permits of those allowing horses to work under poor health conditions.
Why is this important?
Rambo has been working as a Kalesa horse for more than 15 years. He trudges in at 7:00 am in Intramuros so that he can transport four to eight people - excluding the coachman / cochero - around the Walled City. Rambo is supposed to show these tourists the very best of Philippine culture and heritage.
But the sad reality?
Kalesa horses like Rambo live miserable lives. They are overloaded, overworked and they are made to work in poor health conditions without seeing an equine veterinarian for most of their working lives. Currently, six (6) to eight (8) people, excluding the cochero, are allowed to ride the calesas in Intramuros. DOT rules and regulations clearly state that there should only be two passengers for calesas.
(See http://accreditationonline.tourism.gov.ph/Downloadables/Standards/2000%20Rules%20and%20Regulations%20Governing%20the%20Accreditation%20of%20Calesas%20Providing%20Transport%20Services%20to%20Tourists.pdf )
While cocheros or coachmen say that the horses "rest", the horses do not get a reprieve from the heavy calesa strapped to them during their so-called "rest periods". Many of the horses have contraptions attached to their heads that do not allow them to stretch their necks downwards.
Quarterly inspection of hooves, deworming, annual filing of teeth (floating) by an equine veterinarian are extremely important for a working horse. But Rambo and his colleagues have never seen a horse doctor. They will be worked until they are lame. And when they have 'walking problems', that is the only time that a veterinarian will be called in -- if they are lucky.
Most of the time though, the cocheros make do with old wives' concoctions - ranging from motor oil rubbed on wounds and open sores, and bleeding them out themselves to 'cure' them of lameness.
Kalesa horses take a long walk back to a stable somewhere in Tondo by 7:00pm. The stables have never been inspected by the BAI-Animal Welfare Division. The small stables do not allow animals like them to lie down. People believe that horses sleep standing up. Many do not know that horses also need to lie down.
Rambo works as an Intramuros kalesa horse. Photographs are taken. Fees are paid. But he does not "live". He exists.
And he can only hope that people will speak up for him, before it is too late.