Although I like most of what Guadalajara Mayor Alfaro has done, I’m mystified as to why he has taken up the cause of eliminating the wonderful Guadalajara tradition of calandrias and replacing them with electric-battery-powered carriages.
Of course, Alfaro is falling in step with a global trend (perhaps a fad) against working horses; New York’s Central Park is going to do away with horse-drawn carriages, too.
But I believe horses would rather work than stand around—or be sent to the slaughterhouse, which is where the calandria steeds will go after their jobs are eliminated. Nobody is going to pay to feed horses that don’t have a purpose and it is common knowledge that local tacos and hamburgers often contain horsemeat.
I’ve taken visitors on calandria rides half a dozen times during my 50 years in Guadalajara (some of them in the foreign service) and seen them lined up by the Regional Museum during many visits there. To me, they did not appear mistreated. (I’ve ridden horses a good deal and took a 10-day horseback trip through Mexico’s Copper Canyon. Would Alfaro do away with horseback riding too? And what about racetracks?)