Have horse riders been given a free ride for too long?
A huge majority of British people say that horse riders should be made to clear up horse mess from roads, it seems.
According to a leading UK waste management and recycling company, Brits are no longer impressed by the cry of “put it on your garden”, and think that horse owners have been getting a free ride when it comes to this unpleasant responsibility.
The BusinessWaste.co.uk company says that not only are there health risks from leaving horse manure on roads, but it also presents safety issues.
“This isn’t simply somebody shouting ‘health and safety’ over something they don’t like the look of,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “These are genuinely legitimate concerns that have gone unaddressed for years.”
A poll of over 3000 UK residents on behalf of BusinessWaste.co.uk found that:
• 97% think that horse riders should pick up horse manure from the road
• 89% should be subject to the same fines that are faced by dog owners
For example, Davina from Warrington told BusinessWaste.co.uk that her street is a thoroughfare for horse riders and is riddled with mess as a result: “Horse riders have had a free ride for too long. It’s worse when it rains as it just spreads everywhere.”
There’s a perception that because horse manure is good for your roses, it doesn’t carry disease.
“That’s a myth,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk‘s Mark Hall, “While certainly less dangerous than dog mess, horse faeces contain unhealthy bacteria such as E. Coli, Listeria and Salmonella, all of which could lead to serious illness.”
On that information alone, it’s clear that not sweeping up after your horse is a danger to health.
Another problem is that it presents a true danger to two-wheeled road users, with motorcyclists and cyclists at risk from slipping in an equine deposit.
Paul from Bath says: “I remember riding my old Honda through a horse poo on a country road. Next thing I knew. I was upside-down in a ditch with a broken arm, and my bike was written off. I’m lucky to be alive.”
BusinessWaste.co.uk’s Hall says that there are no clear statistics for bike injuries caused by similar incidents, but animal mess on roads is a persistent gripe among the biking communities, both motorised and leg-powered.
However, criticism isn’t universal, with a small number of people saying that horse manure on roads is a tiny problem compared to that of feckless dog owners who don’t clean up after their pets.
“In their defense, riders told us they do try to pick up after their horses,” said Hall, “Though in some cases it’s not practical.
“In fact, one rider told us ‘When you’re up on top of a horse, you sometimes don’t know what’s coming out of the back end’, which is fair enough in the circumstances,” the Business Waste spokesman said.
BusinessWaste.co.uk says that this is one of those problems that will always be disputed. But without on-the-spot fines for riders, it’s one that probably won’t be adequately addressed.
“There’s nothing to prevent riders from doing the right thing the next time they take their horses onto the road,” Hall says.
“Most car users know how to show horses consideration, let’s have a little in return.”
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