Should pony rides be better supervised?

published on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.

Animals are not “toys”, protests an animal rights association, which believes that market players in Paris do not treat their animals well.

In the name of “defending the interests of animals”, an association calls for a ban on pony rides in the parks of Paris.

For several months Paris Animals Zoopolis (PAZ) has been protesting against these walks in place since 1992 to put an end to “the idea that animals are toys”. Every Wednesday and weekend, dozens of parents and grandparents offer their children a fifteen-minute pony ride in Parc Monceau or the Jardin du Luxembourg, for about ten euros.

“We would like the town hall of Paris to ban these walks from another time”, specifies Amandine Sanvisens, co-founder of the association born in 2017. “The ponies do not always have access to hay and water, they do not benefit from sufficient break times and endure far too long transport times. “.

The question came to the Paris Council this week, prompting Christophe Najdovski, deputy in charge of animal welfare, to make an appointment in the spring of 2023 “to discuss the activities of ponies in Paris”, conceding that he “There is still room for improvement”.

In Paris, for almost 30 years, the main player in the market has been Animaponey, with its 80 animals that live the rest of the week free in the Chevreuse valley.

“The reason for a pony, once raised and trained, is to have a use in the service of children.

We know very well that it is not a toy,” said Stéphane Michaud, head of Animaponey in response to PAZ. “This association harasses us, wanting to deprive these kids, city dwellers, of a unique experience with animals”.

“PAZ is the only critical and active association” to make such requests, he assures, “far from the real respectable and historical animal protection associations, such as the SPA or the Brigitte Bardot Foundation”.

Thursday, the City of Paris recalled that it is “one of the first cities to adopt an animal welfare charter” in 2021. This text, supposed to improve the supervision of the activity, notably reduced the authorized transport time to two hours, shortened the time on site and regulated the length of the lanyards. “If the sector does not adapt, we will draw the consequences”, assured the deputy in charge of animal condition in Paris, whose services carried out “24 checks in its parks and gardens before and during the summer. last, in particular to ensure that hay and water are available to the animals”.

These measures do not convince PAZ –also committed to the defense of rabbits, rats and pigeons in Paris– for whom “problems persist”. According to the association, the town hall “gives the illusion that it is concerned about the animal condition with some changes to the facade”.

“Panic by the situation”, Stéphane Michaud judges the situation untenable. “PAZ put doubt in people’s heads, without ever discussing with us. We know our job, our ponies are pampered”, he defends himself to theAFP. “We accepted this charter to survive, but the conditions – especially around transport times – are untenable”. The operator assures that he is not far from throwing in the towel. “With the loads exploding and the clientele decreasing, without new discussions with the town hall, the interprofession and the operators, I will stop my activity at the end of the year”.

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