The horses for your hackney ride are all in excellent physical and mental health. They are fed with the best products and spend their “free time” in small compatible groups on the paddock. Fiaker farms in Vienna are regularly subjected to an unannounced inspection with regard to the applicable animal welfare regulations by the Vienna Veterinary Office. Inspections at the stalls are carried out continuously about once a week, and daily if the outside temperature is above 30°C. In case of violations of legal provisions, the official veterinarians take the necessary measures. For example, it is possible for official veterinarians to remove hackney carriage horses from the driving service for health reasons. This is also practised time and again in exceptional cases. Veterinary findings must then be forwarded to the authorities. The Viennese Fiaker and Horse Hire Carriage Act currently stipulates that the operation of Fiaker companies is permitted from the harnessing of the horses to their unharnessing in the time from 10-23 hrs. Driving onto the stands is regulated or restricted in the operating regulations for hackney carriage and horse-drawn carriage companies. The Animal Welfare Act stipulates that horses must rest for at least 8 hours within a 24-hour period. The request of many animal lovers not to allow hackney carriages to drive in the city centre in future, but only in Schönbrunn, for example, is not feasible. Removing this old Viennese tradition from the city centre is a goal that is hardly feasible. Nevertheless, the MA60 will continue its efforts to find positive solutions. It should be noted that in case of observed abuses, the veterinary office is available around the clock at the telephone number of theAnimal Welfare Helpline: (01) 4000-8060. Here, reports are received and processed by giving the faker number. Support and suggestions that can lead to an improvement of the situation for hackney horses are always welcome at the above telephone number.
Fiaker companies are repeatedly accused in the media of behaviour that is cruel to animals. These attacks come from NGOs like the Verein gegen Tierfabriken, which raise funds by collecting donations. Therefore we link here to the extensive study of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, about a possible heat stress in Fiaker horses, carried out under the direction of the three university professors Prof. Dr. J. Troxler, Prof. Dr. R. Van den Hoven, and Prof. Dr. Chr. Winckler. 400 measurements were taken and it was found that the typical conditions of a Viennese summer do NOT overstress the hackney carriage horses. “Heat stress, in the form of overstraining the thermoregulatory system in the horse, was not found in any of the nearly 400 measurements taken on the animals.” Recommended improvements for horses have now been mandated by law and are self-evident practice. There are “counter-studies” and statements by politically driven organisations on this, such as the VGT (Verein gegen Tierfabriken), which have managed without measurements.
Silvia Paul Fiakerbetriebs GmbH
Albrechtskreithgasse 28/Top 23+24
1160 Wien Österreich
Telefon +43 (0)1 235 00 45
Firmenbuch: FN 251119 V