This is one of these things which might actually work

One of France’s oldest breeds of heavy horses, the Poitevin, may be saved from extinction if breeders succeed in convincing local authorities to draft them into service to pull dustbin carts.

Dozens of French towns and villages have already ditched dustbin lorries in favour of horses and carts as a greener way to collect household waste.

Dunno about greener – there’s probably more methane from those guts than there is CO2 from a lorry.

However, the breweries that retained horses on their drays did find that they appeared to be more cost effective up out to 4 miles from the brewery. Plus they were great advertising. Add in some little value, whatever you might want to think of, of “saving” the breed and you might well be onto an economic winner there.

I don’t say that’s true, only that it’s entirely possible. The biggest barrier I see to it in fact is being able to pay the people with that rare skill these days of being able to manage a team in harness.

16 thoughts on “This is one of these things which might actually work”

  1. Only for some types of waste.
    If the waste needs to be compacted then a horse is not a solution. Or you need far more units to shuttle to and from the tip.
    A proper rubbish cart can do 16 hour days, with two crews. I don’t know what the limit is for a team of horses but I doubt it’s that high.
    On the other hand, a horse can move by itself. I’m old enough to remember the milkman delivering by horse and cart. He walked beside and the horse moved and stopped at the next customer on command.

  2. And, given that its France, there will be a push by the union to create a new position where someone drives behind the horse to stop and pick up its mess, thereby both negating any potential benefit from using a horse and increasing the cost of providing a basic service.

  3. Andrew C–alright apart from the middle class idiot in the bandana suggesting farmers should revert back to 19th century technology.

    The song should have been interrupted by several tons of heavy horse shite being dropped on the stage from above,.

    Wheeze of the week indeed.

  4. Having worked at a brewery which kept a pair of Shires. I can say that even for local trips smaller city arctics work out cheaper. We only had them due to the chairman wanting to keep them. They were mainly used for shows, but pulling the odd dray wagon meant they were still working horses. If you think that servicing a truck costs money, wait till you see a vets bill.

  5. How many cities have the necessary law that allows the driver to take a leak against a rear wheel of the cart without risk of arrest?

  6. The Unused Testicle

    Terrific Greenie idea.

    Vastly more expensive than a lorry. Much greener if you ignore the production of food rather than petrol (the land could have been used to grow wood chips! Er, sorry, biofuel)

    And a steady trail of ready made biofuel in the streets!

    Just don’t ask the Greenies to collect it. it’s so yuk!

  7. Extinct? Breeds?

    Species go extinct, not breeds. In most cases, if someone wants them back, they can just breed them again.

    Don’t know about horses, but 85% of dog breeds DID NOT EXIST 150 years ago.

  8. Seagoing_Barbarian,

    My twat of a councillor who likes fortnightly collections tells me that the Mercedes-bodied collection lorries only last 3 years, and so under their contract, the council pays them to write them off in that time. As I’m driving a 10 year old car of a much lesser manufacturer (allegedly, but Mercs are used as taxis in Istanbul), I call that twaddle of the first order. why do we elect such morons?

    By the way, when the horse reaches the end of the road you can (if French) eat it or put it in Tesco lasagna, which you can’t do with a lorry …

  9. I’d be more convinced of the economy of it if it was the entrepreneurial guy offering extra collections in leeds was it?

  10. Could be a good idea for the places built of mazes of twisty little lanes and alley-ways where it’s impossible to get a conventional vehicle down. Robin Hood’s Bay, Staithes and the Cornish equivalents.

  11. In the U.S., UPS and FedEx delivery trucks are old – very old, like 40 years old. Well maintained antiques.

    I’ve been told it has to do with property taxes, but I think there has to be more to it than that.

  12. @Excavator man, October 29, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    By the way, when the horse reaches the end of the road you can (if French) eat it or put it in Tesco lasagna, which you can’t do with a lorry …

    I don’t see why not: Lasagna fortified with Iron – anaemic and pregnant women will pay a premium for it.

  13. I saw a programme where some woman who owned a shire horse rented it out to help farmers haul logs around in inaccessible places that machinery couldn’t reach.

    Or something. It was ever so rural and romantic.

    Made me think that if only all logs were in inaccessible places we would have a greener less industrialised landscape.

    Where we all huddled around fires terrified of wolves and tigers.

  14. Actually Whitbread gave up using horses to pull the drays around the City *before* they closed the Brewery to the general disappointment of pedestrian residents and workers.
    Not sure that you can recreate “extinct” breeds since some are developed from a mutant gene that does not reside in the surviving population.
    Your best chance is the advertising

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