Horses stood outside a Bogota university’s campus Wednesday awaiting physical examinations before adoption, in what was the first wave of ridding the capital’s horse transport method.
Five university veterinarians at Bogota’s University of Applied and Environmental Sciences (UDCA) awaited the animals to check blood work and dental hygiene, administer vaccinations, and take photos for identification. Once cleared, the horses will await adoption by more than 5,000 applicants approved by the Colombia’s secretary of transportation.
In return, horse owners will receive motor vehicles for their corporation in Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro‘s project to rid the city of horse transport by September 2013. The mayor assured the somewhat-wary horse owners that, “In eight days, in the Plaza Bolivar, they will give you the trucks that you have chosen.”
Secretary of transportation, Martha Coronado, said that the whole process will take eight months. “The cart drivers decide what type of vehicle they need, they approach the [car] dealer and the Secretary directs the resources to cover the benefit.”
Some city officials are concerned that the capital cannot afford such a large-scale swap of horses for cars.
“We are concerned about where the resources will come from,” said councilwoman Clara Lucia Sandoval. “We have 14 million pesos [approximately $7,700] and to cover all of the cart drivers [in the city] we need 57 million [approximately $31,400] more. Another problem is that there must be strict oversight and control because each day new cart drivers are applying [for the benefit].”
Horse owner, José Pablo Tocancipa, told El Tiempo that even though it was sad parting ways, he is ready to leave behind the horse and wagon.
The city aims at removing 50 horse-drawn carts per week from Bogota’s streets.
Adios a las primeras zorras (El Espectador)