What are the pros and cons of reintroducing animal powered transport?
July 28, 2023 1:17 AM   Subscribe

What would the positive and negative impact be of going back to horses as our primary mode of transport instead of fossil fuel powered cars? I've been rolling this around in my head recently as part of a thought experiment, but lack expertise on key points. I'm curious if others can fill in the blanks.

Assuming that we need to give up fossil fuels completely, and there is a chance current green-ish alternatives like battery powered cars may turn out to be just as bad. What if we were to return to using horse or other animal powered transport? Help me figure out the pros and cons that would be involved in this.

Important note: I'm not interested in cynical hot air re this'll never happen because we're all doomed & our politicians are greedy & voters are stupid etc etc. On the understanding that everything is possible except raising the dead, but sometimes we avoid necessary choices because the consequences are unpleasant: I'm interested in thinking through what those consequences might be. So assume this is something that is possible; what are the logistical problems that would have to be tackled?

Cars have only been around for the last century, but this is a very short period of time in the grand scheme of human history. What's more, the switch from everyone walking or using animals to get around to most people using cars, buses, or trains to get around happened relatively recently and quickly.*

The switch away from animal powered transport involved specific changes in infrastructure and labor/expertise, which presumably had economic, social, and cultural effects. Roads that used to be cobbled so horses hooves could get a good grip are now flat so car wheels can turn smoothly. Farriers, Blacksmiths, and Grooms are no longer skilled professions. We don't recognize manure as a normal background smell. We expect a journey of a few miles to take a few minutes. As objects of aspirational desire horses are coded as girly and teenage rather than masculine and adult.

Animal powered transport in the 21st century would not be the same thing as it was in the 19th or early 20th centuries. In part because of interrupting and removing existing infrastructure/social patterns, and in part because of new things that now exist. So what would it look like?

If we were to try and get rid of cars and other fossil fueled transport completely, presumably we couldn't just bring back those jobs because much of the expertise will have been lost.

How could you get people & businesses to adjust to different expectations of travel times (maybe we wouldn't need to, with email/WFH/internet?).

What about our internet shopping habits? I guess we'd have to give up next day delivery. Maybe water or horse powered canal boats are the long-distance alternative to trains/trucks.

What kind of regulation would there be of animal welfare now, to ensure animals were not exploited or treated cruely? How would that interact with the labor and career-path aspect? Actually, how would you get over the initial adjustment to seeing domesticated animals as anything other than pets?

Do horses have the same, ahem, emissions problem as cows? Would suddenly breeding lots and lots of horses for transport turn out to be just as bad for the environment? Or could the manure-to-fertilizer pipeline actually be a side benefit?

Would people own their own horse or hire them for a trip? I think from novels written in the past there was a combination of the two, right? Hiring "cabs" in town or hiring horses between stops on a long journey, plus rich people keeping their own horse along with the stable and associated staff.

What would public transport look like?

I'm also wondering if it could potentially be a more socially just form of transport, if horses need less well maintained roads - but this is an example of me making guesses because I don't know!

So what do you think?

*fwiw I'm a former archaeologist, so you can take my word for it that a 100ish years really is very fast in human history :-)
posted by EllaEm to Travel & Transportation (74 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure bicycles and rickshaws would be substantially cheaper and lower maintenance than horses.
posted by quacks like a duck at 1:27 AM on July 28 [56 favorites]

An electric bicycle powered by electricity from solar/wind is going to have a much lower carbon footprint than a horse.

Horses = food has a carbon footprint for the fertiliser needed to grow it

Plus horses = emit methane from their digestive system, and methane is much more potent towards climate change than carbon dioxide is
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 1:34 AM on July 28 [17 favorites]

Famously, transporting food via animal power has a hard distance limit because the animal generally needs to eat too, so if it's carrying its own fodder it can't go longer than X (where X is the distance it can go with the amount of food it can carry/pull). This is why before mechanised transport, long-distance food trading was done by water, either river or sea. The farmer would get the grain by cart to the nearest market town, always on a river, and barges or ships would take over from there. And wind- or muscle-powered shipping was so much slower and less reliable than engines. This would have major impact on the countries that are now food importers, like the UK, most of Africa, a lot of regions of China, Japan, but also food exporters like the US (because of loss of markets). Mass famines would follow if this transition wasn't gradual and managed.

(See also: consequences of Ukraine's sea exports being blocked for the markets in grain, sunflower seeds and oil, etc.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:35 AM on July 28 [26 favorites]

Best answer: My grandmother described how in London when she was a girl, you'd walk into a bakers shop, and the baker would wave his hand over the cakes and a great swarm of flies would come up, then he would pick up the cake and hand it over.

Horses make manure. Flies like manure. Horse-drawn transport in a city leads to a LOT of flies.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:40 AM on July 28 [32 favorites]

Solar powered trains and locally, horses as status symbol transport.

I know in the north part of north island of New Zealand, there are a few towns with substantial horse riding because I was told, of the cost of petrol and the very mixed terrain.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:41 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Horses are very, very expensive to maintain and very carbon-intensive. The amount of energy needed to the amount of productivity obtained is orders of magnitude larger than any bike or electric train. Maintaining horses is historically and presently dependent on a cheap underclass of servants and household staff.

Bikes, buses and trains would be far more likely.

In any case, a lower-carbon future would mean no more 20 minute drives to the big shopping center out of town and more shopping on the local high street. Fewer McMansions.

People on both sides of the political spectrum disagree with this image of degrowth (one believes renewable energy will solve everything, and one believes carbon emissions do not cause global warming — both are wrong). But this is my area of expertise, I am a scientist, and I have spent years looking at the numbers. Cheap, reliable and carbon-free, pick two of three. Bikes and walkable towns for the future.
posted by moiraine at 2:24 AM on July 28 [37 favorites]

Best answer: I was just rereading James Herriot and one thing I noticed was that he's right on the transition point from veterinarians working with draft animals to working with small pets like cats and dogs due to the rapid switch to cars (and changing views of pets). We currently have a shortage of vets and would need to seriously increase the number of large animal vets to handle a return horses.
posted by carrioncomfort at 2:28 AM on July 28 [18 favorites]

I have read memoirs from my rural farming community from before cars were a thing, and what really impressed me is that people walked a LOT. Market day in the town 20 miles away on the other side of the mountain? Family matriarch walks there in the morning, walks back in the evening. Horses get mentioned for haymaking and ploughing, not so much for people transportation.
posted by Rhedyn at 2:35 AM on July 28 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Also, I would say the pros of animal power are 1) works without energy infrastructure, and 2) works on terrain that is too steep and/or crowded for most machinery. Horses are still used for sustainable logging for that reason. If we did go back to primarily animal powered transport (over land), which I agree is highly implausible while there are electrical and other non-fossil fuel options, then we'd presumably no longer need modern paved roads, just reasonably clear and level tracks.
posted by Rhedyn at 2:47 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Time and distance.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:54 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Theophile Escargot mentions manure, but I'm not sure he makes it clear just how much there was. One of the reasons for cars being popular was the money cities saved by not having to clean up manure, and we're talking tens of thousands of tons a day in a big city. A horse is a big animal and they eat and shit a lot.
It takes a lot of horses to run a city. Trucks are faster and carry vastly more than horse-drawn wagons - a semi-trailer can hold sixty tons. I imagine a couple of tons would be good for a wagon, so think at least twenty teams of four or six horses, but traveling at two or three miles a hour, so you'd need maybe twenty times as many because trucks move twenty times as fast.
You also need trained people to drive the horses, and to train them. The learning curve for a truck is smaller than that for a man or a horse.
I'm also pretty sure that most people didn't own horses - they were expensive and you had to feed and water them and much out the stall every day. A horse is in many ways an involved hobby that takes up a considerable chunk of time, and you don't get a day off. Unless you could pay the local livery stable to take care of your horse, or had servants, you had to balance your need for a horse against you ability to care for it.
As there's no such thing as a used horse. You can get a cheap, beat-up car that's functionally very close to what a new one is. Horses decline in cost with age, but they also decline in utility, but the cost of keeping them remains constant. I won't go into the cost of disposal of a dead horse, but my father was famous in our small community for paying to have one buried. Most of them were soaked in diesel fuel and burned, which is exactly as unpleasant as you might think.
I saw an exhibit on this a few days ago, with headlines from 1910. It said that the sooner the city in question changed over from horses to cars, the sooner we could get away from the death toll involved with horses.
As someone who used to ride them, horses are very big, very dumb, and easily spooked. Their legs are tipped with deadly weapons, and a horse can rear up and hit you with its front feet, fall on the rider, bite a chunk out of you, and kick anyone nearby. I once saw a horse being transported in the back of a half-ton truck try to climb out. The truck was only up on two wheels for a second before the driver subdued it, but it was very close to landing on one side. Our control of horses is entirely based on us being smarter than they are, and being more prepared. When they're scared or angry that goes away.
Even today deaths among riders aren't unusual. I knew a man who went into a stall with a horse ... he survived, but barely. The force with which a horse can kick backwards is hard to explain, but if you walk behind one within kick distance you're gambling with your life.
A friend's kid got behind a horse and spooked it - he was about eight - and it knocked him down with a tap from one hoof.
The parents were outraged, but the owner praised his horse as being polite and restrained. "If that had been Buck, here, his head would have gone sailing through the trees."
Horses are also very fragile. They get tangled up in barbed wire and have to be cut out. If they survive, vets are expensive and horses pull out stitches with their teeth. Horses get digestive problems and die, break their legs and have to be shot, shy away from nothing and impale themselves on tree branches, and are generally a huge pain and heartbreaking. If a horse falls over and can't get up it'll die. My family put thoroughbreds in a pasture with standard horses and lost three in a week. The two kinds don't like each other, and they fight. Horses jump fences and get out on roads and get killed. That won't be a problem in a horse-only society, but once they get into the habit you may spend a fair amount of time looking for them.
Cars have many advantages - they carry more than one person, they're warm and dry inside, they don't have to be fed when you're not using them, and you can make out in one. I'm sure the liberalization in attitudes toward sex accompanied the rise in car ownership for a reason - if you've got a car you have a back set. Cars cover a lot more distance in a day than horses, carry more, and don't have to sleep. There was a time when a horse would outlast a car, but the car I currently drive is older than any horse I've ever ridden. Also when I go out in the morning my car is where I left it. I don't have to go out in a field and try and coax it to come and let me saddle it.
I can see the appeal in a return to a slower, more easygoing way of life where people take their time and ride horses instead of flying past in cars. It sounds like fun, but there are a lot of reasons why people got rid of their horses and made their stables into garages.
Oh - roads weren't done with cobblestones so horses could get a grip. Horses can walk on practically anything. Hard-surfaced roads require them to have metal shoes nailed to their feet because their hooves, which are basically big fingernails, wear down too quickly. Cobblestones are what you get when you build a road out of rocks.
I don't think we could get away with worse roads. The Romans were notoriously well known for theirs, because a good road was highly prized even when everyone used horses. A horse might be okay on a dirt road, but they'd expend less energy on a decent one. I'm told that the wide roads in a lot of cities in the American west were laid out that way so people could find an area which wasn't impassable for ruts. Hard surfaces did away with this problem.
The statement that the expertise necessary to use horses on a large scale has been lost is also incorrect. There are more horses around here than there were when they were the primary more of transport. There are radically more people, too, so we'd need to ramp up, but that could be done.
From an ecological point of view ... the point often missed about energy is that we have a source of concentrated energy. You can dig it out of the ground, using about 1/7th of the energy to get more. That enables our society do do things we couldn't otherwise do. If you're using horses you'll need more horses to grow the hay for them to eat, and I suspect there are hard limits on this, because your source of energy is sunlight. You'll need a lot of land and a lot of people to farm it.
In a traditional society most people are farmers, and the skilled and educated people are a very small minority. Concentrated energy makes us able to use vastly fewer people. If agriculture was horse-drawn I imagine we'd have to go back to having at the very least 90% or the population growing food. I can't begin to imagine what that would do to society. I imagine, for a start, that education would become more rudimentary and less common, the standard of living would be much lower, and people who'd been more than a few miles from their homes would be unusual. This isn't saying we'd return to a dystopian copy of medieval society, but there are certain things you can't get away from.
I don't know if we'd have the skilled manpower left to make electronics and computers, maintain the net, do a lot of research. People have a habit of surprising one, but it's obvious that this change couldn't be made voluntarily, so the basic change would be an authoritarian government of some kind.
It's possible that you could artificially limit the uses for energy to everything but human transport and delivery, and maybe trains, but I'm not sure how you'd enforce that, and it would warp your society into strange authoritarian forms which would have to be maintained by arbitrary laws. I think that and the more primitive lifestyle are the only things we can really be at all sure about.

This kind of makes me want to get a horse.
posted by AugustusCrunch at 3:12 AM on July 28 [57 favorites]

Advances in technology allowed humans to live more densely together - agriculture was a huge one, that allowed the creation of towns and cities, but fossil fuels and industrialization were also huge.

If a depopulation scenario resulted in a kind of rural, low density population, then horses would be totally viable. I'm imagining something like the rural / traditional people in the South American highlands that we passed through on a week long hike. The horses and cows roam freely and eat natural grass (much like 80 million head of cattle in Australia) so they are self sustaining. The "local economy" as it exists is mostly the exchange of mutual labor obligation, not assets. In short, the horses and cows are treated as communal resource just like water and air, and what gets exchanged is labor - you help me build a fence, and I "owe" you 20 hours of labor you can call on in the future, in an informal way.

People would provide salt for the horses (there's a lack of it in the highlands) and rudimentary vet care. If someone needed a horse, they just found one in the hills, saddled it up, rode it to the destination, then let it wander off again. If someone needed to haul goods, they could go out, find 20 horses, saddle them up as a pack and load them up with goods, lead them to the destination, then set them free, they just wander off back into the hills. We encountered packs of horses just returning back to where they came from, without any human supervision. As tourists we slept in tents in the open with random horses wandering around at night, then the next morning paid some USD for a short ride up a hill to cut our journey short and they literally just went out, found some horses for us, gave us a ride and then let the horses run off to where-ever they wanted. Honestly those were the cleanest and healthiest horses I've seen, they seemed completely odorless, and we were stepping in a lot of horse poo that also seemed to have no smell. I can't explain it, maybe it's the diet and natural environment. It was the only time I wasn't bothered having poo particles and bits in my shoes and pants and inevitably tracking some of it into my tent.

Of course, I'd assume it would take some level of community enforcement to deter bad actors, outsiders, enforce cultural norms, but nothing they hadn't already worked out over the past thousand years.
posted by xdvesper at 3:19 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]

I read Black Beauty over and over as a kid and that is enough for me to think that going back to horses would be incredibly cruel.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:43 AM on July 28 [20 favorites]

I claim sanctuary's point is really key here. Prerailroad bulk transport overland was extremely difficult because everything that moves on land needs fuel, and preindustrial fuel (i.e. fodder for draft animals, food for humans) is very bulky. Small-time transport doesn't worry about this; figuring out provisions for a single merchant and two horses taking a cart 20 miles is trivial and well within the means of even the smallest community; moving 5000 wagons with drivers and a pair of horses each over 100 miles is a massive undertaking could starve to death on the way unless they lay in supply depots.

This is a pre-industrial version of what is now known as the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation; broadly, fuel needed for anything which can't refuel on the way grows exponentially with distance, with the exponential term dictated by fuel density. The move from low-density food to high-density combustible hydrocarbons made the equation a lot less impossible.

An entertaining fictional illustration of this principle is Bret Devereaux's takedown of the events of the "Loot Train" in Game of Thrones, which was impossibly large and completely incapable of achieving the ostensible goal of moving a lot of food.

The exception to the rule would be anything which uses gatherable fuel (small-time beasts of burden which don't tax a community's resources, mid-size armies which could "forage"*, electrical systems with solar panels), anything with fuel preplaced in depots (but how does the fuel get to the depots?), or non-self-propelled water transit (which uses currents and wind, which are free, fuelwise). That last one is the big one and it shaped demographics prior to railroads: the only way a community whose population was larger than the agricultural fertility of the immediate surroundings (which is to say, most cities) could exist is if it had access to an ocean or navigable river. That was a pretty hard and fast rule, and it means that cities like Las Vegas and Tucson simply could not exist in their current size without railroads.

Water transport was basically the only way bulk material moved around until very recently historically. Let's suppose you live in Basel and you need to transport a valuable object or important message to Rome. Whether you serve the Emperor Augustus or the Emperor Napoleon, you'll do that with one man on a fast horse and send 'em south. But if you want to transport 50 tons of grain, you don't do it that way. You don't do it that way even after roads through the Alps make the mountain travel easier. You load it onto barges and send it north, up the Rhine, all the way to the North Sea, load it onto oceangoing vessels, and swing around the tip of Spain into the Mediterranean. Looking at a map, that seems like a stupidly roundabout way to do it. But because horses eat and boats don't, it ends up being way more efficient.

* "Forage" is a euphemsim for "plunder resources with a pathological indifference to whether the communities left behind had enough for their own needs".
posted by jackbishop at 3:45 AM on July 28 [7 favorites]

Animal welfare would be a huge concern.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:59 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]

If you think the amount of land that cars take up with roads and car parks and garages is bad, you haven't considered a horse. They ideally need a couple of acres grazing each, minimum 1 acre.
That would not work in cities. Or suburbs. It only works well in rural areas.
However, advantages include that they are partly self driving, and you can get on your horse in the evening and it'll generally return home.

For dense cities, it's trains and subways. That's actually *still* how the most densely populated cities work, because cars aren't an efficient mass transport system and require too much parking and road space.

But, look how a standard city like London is laid out. 9 million people and you don't really need a car. Terraced housing, but people have a small back yard, garden shed, bbq etc. There's allotment gardens for those who want to grow more veggies. You're usually 5-20 minutes walk from The Tube aka a subway aka a *train*, and your local amenities such as supermarkets and schools are near the tube station. From the tube you can get to work or any other part of the city.
Trains don't need batteries, they can hook directly into the power grid, and they carry many more people for a much smaller footprint than any kind of car.
Trains encourage hub and spoke city design, which is just more livable. Rural areas would have their major train lines too, you'd just have bikes and horses to get to the railway station.

I don't get all the hype for Tesla and Elon Musk, because cars are just not a transport method that works very well. The most exciting development for me is when they were working on cheaper tunnel drilling, which could be used for building subway networks... Of course they bizarrely suggested that cars would go through the tunnels, which is bizarrely inefficient. But yeah, being able to create subway tunnels more cheaply would be the killer technology. And it's good for laying drains, other infrastructure etc.

London doesn't even come near the cities with best public transport, it's just a standard example of how large cities actually function with a tech that is neither car nor battery based.
posted by Elysum at 4:02 AM on July 28 [7 favorites]

Best answer: There is a lot to unpack here, and I don't know if I can systematically answer everything. But I'll try. My great-grandfather was a haulier and my grandmother bred horses, I have owned horses, and today, my neighbor uses my land for his horses. I am a horse person, I guess.

First of all, one of the reasons my great-grandfather had to give up his business was that the land he rented became too expensive, as the area they lived in was incorporated in the city. You need land for horses. For one, they need hay and oats to eat, and second, they need to rest outside, they can't be indoors in a stable all the time. Back in the day, when some horses would work all day, they still needed holidays to recover. Typically cities would have commons areas where the horses and often also urban cattle would go out to pasture after hay was made. Today, people who have horses in city environments drive them in trucks out to pasture in the countryside during summer. (Or at least they should. Otherwise their horses will have a short life). So if one wanted to return to horsepower, one would have to recreate the commons, which would be an entirely different infrastructure.

Horses also need a lot of water, which is a ressource that is becoming scarce. One summer when there was a drought, we had to drive to get water for the horses, since our well was barely providing enough for the humans. We carried 100s of liters of water every day.

Horses do not in themselves produce as much greenhouse gas as ruminants. But producing their food does because it depends heavily on chemical fertilizer. In theory, horses can manage on grass and hay alone, but large working horses can't work on grass and hay alone. Icelandic horses, horses from the Asian steppes and some of the sturdy ponies from the British Isles can all do quite a bit on grass/hay alone, but still they are not as productive as those old working breeds like Shires and Belgians who once pulled trams, boats and loads of coal.

Manure is a good thing. You can fertilize the land with it, and make biogas out of it. But collecting it and keeping it is hard manual labor. In my memory, my grandmother was always walking around with a wheelbarrow, collecting manure from the fields, or raking it out over the lawn or the fields if they looked barren. I have done my own good share of mucking out, and even up to my late forties, I still had the muscle to prove it and could easily carry my own weight. In cities before cars, collecting manure was a job, and a hard one. You would have to establish an infrastructure for collecting and processing the manure, and though this seems to me to be a lesser problem, maybe finding people to work on this could be a problem. Back in the day, it is true that removing manure was a big issue in cities, but before chemical fertilizers were invented, it was also a big business.

Horses are very expensive. A good horse to this day costs as much as a car, like it always did, and you need more than one for haulage or longer transportation of people or plowing fields. In this day and age, where we care about animal welfare, another reason you need more than one is that horses need company, they suffer if they are forced to live alone. They are also expensive to maintain. They need food, and land (as stated above), and vets and farriers and blacksmiths and grooms, as you say yourself. These are all skilled professions, and their services are expensive. I don't think it would be that hard to build up the workforce: there are lots of people who own and maintain horses for sports out there. It's not like the professions have died out, at all. I think they were on the brink of dying out 40 years ago, but that has turned completely. If you are good at it, a horse farm is far more profitable than a dairy farm. But being good at it is very sciency. Just saying. Anyway, the cost of horses would mean that most people would still need to walk, ride bikes, or use public transportation.

The need for co-existence of horses and bikes would mean that we would still need smooth asphalt roads. That is not a big issue for the horses, though even in my memory, there were still gravel horse paths alongside the bike paths some places in Copenhagen. Gravel is gentler on the horses legs. No one needs cobble stones, except that they have a better LCA than asphalt, but that is a whole other story. Horses are really hard on roads, so the notion that we could do with less road maintenance is completely off. It's true that horses are good in rugged terrains where roads are scarce, but the whole point is that traffic is very low there. As soon as you have more than a handful of horses on a road/trail a day, it will be worn down and useless for any other traffic (walking/bikes) or horse-drawn wagons within few weeks. In the old times, road maintenance was a huge issue in local and national politics of any country. You can still find Bronze Age routes where there are multiple parallel tracks, because people just moved to the side when a road became too muddy or a track too deep.

Some people think horses smell bad. I don't. But neighbor complaints are a huge reason we don't have as many urban and suburban stables today. And it is true that they attract flies and other insects.

IMO, horses are useless for long distances. I claim sanctuary pretty much covered this above. Before cars, there would be an infrastructure where one could change horses at dedicated inns along the main roads, and thus speed up the voyage. In Europe, many of these inns still exist, so one can calibrate the distance/day (between 30 and 50 km, depending on the topography). But this was only for special traffic like mail, because it was very expensive.

I think that even if one could create a new infrastructure where horses played a bigger part than today, there would still be a need for good public transportation and freight, specially electrically powered trains and ships. I think on balance, an equipage is probably more sustainable than a Tesla, and IMO more beautiful, but obviously, there would have to be an outright ban on EVs if people were to change to horses. I can't take a long weekend holiday in Hamburg with my horse-drawn carriage.

On preview, reading AugustusCrunch's fine answer, there is one thing I disagree with them about: horses are dangerous, yes, but not nearly as dangerous as cars. And in a horse-based society far more people would know how to handle them.

Also, when I was a kid, horses that had to be put down were sent to the horse butcher. If they were young, they would be butchered and sent to countries where horse meat is still popular, like France. If they were old, they would be made into pet food. The heart and hooves were buried here on the farm. So no waste there. One of my ponies was stuffed and made into an art piece (I later discovered, long story).

Finally, I have had so many wonderful experiences with horses. Sleeping with my first pony when he almost died from laminitis. From that night on, we had an unbreakable bond, and you don't get that with a car. My second pony was like a puppy, he'd follow me everywhere and I could do everything with him.
But the wildest, most exhilarating experience was in Petra. It was months before the Iraq war, and there were no other tourists, just a bunch of archeologists. Normally, only people who had difficulty walking were allowed to ride on horseback into the archeological site. But I struck up a conversation with a bedouin, and he let me ride his little Arab horse. I wondered about how the helpers worked differently than what I was used to, and he said it was because she was a racehorse, the champion of the region. Wow. Then he asked if I wanted to try a gallop. And that is how I ended up racing through that canyon we all know from the Indiana Jones movie (I don't remember which one). An experience I would never have had without having learnt to ride. (I have mentioned this before, so I have omitted some details).
posted by mumimor at 4:04 AM on July 28 [53 favorites]

I agree it's bizarre that human society thinks practices and structures that are only 100 years old are completely inevitable. I really like this question for that reason.
I agree too with the answers above that all our global economic infrastructure is the main obstacle. Even internet shopping relies not just on delivery but vast productoin where pieces from one continent get to another from remote mining areas quickly and in huge bulk to make our every device. We have a uniformity of products globally. It is very different than how people used to produce and consume, even with international imports and exports being established for hundreds of years. It's exponentially greater now.
But one thing I haven't seen mentioned: Most nonwealthy households used to expect to live and have daily life in a close radius to home the vast majority of time in their lives.
You can get a cheap beater car for you or your household that still will run decently. You can't get far with a cheap old horse.
posted by lesser whistling duck at 4:04 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I once talked to someone who grew up in a mountain village where ponies and donkeys were still a common method of transportation. They reminisced fondly about the fact that “drunk driving” was not a thing there — even if you were plastered, you could get on your pony and she’d take you home.
posted by ourobouros at 4:16 AM on July 28 [14 favorites]

I don't want to take care of a horse. Anyone else feel like me?
Right. So someone would come up with "it's like uber but for horses," and it would quickly degenerate into an exploitative and abusive system, only worse because you don't have to pay a horse for contract work at all.
Also all the poop.
Also, not that I visit them often as it is, but every person in my entire family lives over 1000 miles away from me. Let alone all the other complications, I simply could never afford literally 50 days of hotel stays just spent in transit to get there and back at horse speed.
posted by phunniemee at 5:41 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Henry Mathew wrote about the life of London's poor in the 19th century, including the crossing sweepers (Wikipedia) required to enable people to cross the streets without getting their shoes and clothes too dirty from all the horse manure (and worse). They were mostly old people, children, and anyone else unable to get any better work. So, in the 21st century, who would be doing that? Would they (as then) beg money off the people they swept a path for, or would keeping the street clean (manually, if there are no motorised/electric street cleaning machines) be paid for by central or local governments out of taxes?

There's a bit (in Google Books) where he discusses a proposed system of "street-orderlies" to stay on top of keeping the streets clean, and providing poor people with paid work:
The first "demonstration," or display of the street-orderly system, took place in Regent-street, between the Quadrant and the Regent-circus, and in Oxford-street, between Vere-street and Charles-street. The streets were thoroughly swept in the morning, and then each man or boy, provided with a hand-broom and dust-pan, removed any dirt as soon as it was deposited.
The demonstration was pronounced highly successful and the system effective, in the opinion of eighteen influential inhabitants of the locality who acted as a com-mittee, and who publicly, and with the authority of their names, testified their conviction that "the most efficient means of keeping streets clean, and more especially great thoroughfares, was to prevent the accumulation of dirt, by removing the manure within a few minutes after it has been deposited by the passing cattle; the same having, hitherto, remained during several days."
He estimates that to expand this throughout the country would provide work for 100,000 men. This when the UK population was under 30 million (now 68 million) and a smaller percentage lived in towns and cities.

He also says that the cost to Londoners of "extra washing" caused by "defective scavaging" is estimated at between £1,000,000 and £2,500,000 per year (around £100,000,000 to £250,000,00 in today's money).
posted by fabius at 5:51 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]

More factors:

There are 8 billion people on earth today. The last time horses were the major form of transport was 150 years ago - there were less than 1.5 billion people alive then.

Horses were a luxury 150 years ago - only for the rich or people who could make a living from the horse (i.e. who could offload expense on to their work or others). How would this scale today?

Large swathes of the food system would need to be repurposed. Horses are inefficient uses of calories for transport (between 15,000 and 35,000 per day, which corresponds to 15-50lbs of food EVERY day), as horses need energy whether they are transport or not.

What happens when hundreds of millions (minimum!) of horses age out every year and are not efficient transport? Do we euthanize them? How big would the pile of bodies be?
posted by lalochezia at 5:52 AM on July 28 [8 favorites]

Horses are inefficient uses of calories
What happens when hundreds of millions of horses age out every year

Introducing uber for horse feed: for horses, of horses

posted by phunniemee at 6:17 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

The only bit of history I know much about is the ten years that Samuel Pepys kept a diary, which provides a little illumination on what kind of city dweller might afford a their own coach and horses (while bearing in mind, obviously, it was a very different time).

For most of the 1660s, for his travels around London he would walk, take a boat on the Thames, or hire a horse-drawn hackney carriage (itself, only something the wealthy could afford).

It was only in 1667 that he began planning to get his own coach. By this time he was a high-ranking civil servant in the Navy Office, often reporting to the King and Parliament, and was worth upwards of £6,700, which is well over £1,000,000 today, depending on how you measure.

He decided to do this because he was spending so much money on hiring carriages, and he was getting so fancy ("for I do see it is a greater charge to me now in hackneys, and I am a little dishonoured by going in them"). This required renting land for stables and carriage storage, not to mention the ongoing costs of the horses, repairs, painting and oiling, and fancy clothes for the coachmen.

Any time he left the city, for journeys that would today be easy day-long trips, out and back in a day, it was a multi-day excursion, either having to change horses and/or stay overnight at points along the way for them to rest.
posted by fabius at 6:22 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]

Do we euthanize them? How big would the pile of bodies be?

This is what the glue factory is for. Make sure you're buying at least a gallon of glue a month, it's your patriotic duty!
posted by pullayup at 6:23 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

“In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure.”

This doesn't surprise me for London, because British agriculture was already seriously diminished at the beginning of the 19th century. But it does surprise me that that manure wasn't a business in NYC, because I imagine there must have been farmers in upstate New York, Long Island, Connecticut and New Jersey who could use the fertilizer. But obviously, I imagine wrong.
posted by mumimor at 6:31 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Horses are only faster than humans over comparatively short distances. We're much better long-haul travelers and can eat on the move. What horses can do is carry a lot more weight, but as pointed out above, their food becomes the critical logistical hurdle.

My wife has a horse, and my mother-in-law, who lives next door, has two. I joke sometimes about bringing the string to the grocery store, which is only three or four miles away, but horses and cars on 50+ mph roads really don't safely coexist. There isn't an obvious way to manage a *transition*, where we'd still have some motor vehicles but horses were being bred in massive numbers to replace them, and there would need to be, because numbers-wise we'd need several generations (5-7 years minimum per generation, depending on the breed) before there were anything like enough horses to manage transportation requirements.

And seriously, horses are expensive, fussy, and delicate. My my mother-in-law's older horse isn't rideable and won't ever be again, not in any functional way, and she might live another ten years eating her head off. This is fine for a beloved pet, which she is, but I'm not sure I or the modern world is ready for the return of the practice of calling the knacker to turn a lame but otherwise healthy horse into dog food.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:33 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

We could always have some dog-carts as well and feed the expired horses to the dogs.

"Mush! Mush! Got to get to Primark before closing, boys!"
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:40 AM on July 28

Have you ever heard of the great horse manure crisis of 1894? Did you know that a horse poops every two hours? On average, one horse dumps out between 15 and 35 pounds of manure per day. Oh, and they pee about about 2 1/2 gallons per day. In the late 1800's, one newspaper predicted that in fifty years every street in a large city would be buried under nine feet of manure.
posted by SageTrail at 6:40 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

I thought I'd do some cost comparisons on horse drawn carts/carriages versus rickshaws. I've used whatever numbers I could glean from Google, and oversimplified the problem ridiculously, but hopefully it brings us out at the right order of magnitude.

Let's say that a horse can travel around 25 miles a day (sustainably, i.e. the horse can do this multiple days in a row without destroying itself).

I looked around at prices to have a stables look after your horse, and it's around £700-800 a month if you include all the food, grooming and routine vet treatment. Let's assume that this is reasonable approximation of the cost of looking after a horse in a horse and carriage business. I'm ignoring the fact that the stables for the cart business might need to be more urban and therefore on more expensive land.

Apparently one should estimate around £1000 a year for non routine veterinary costs.

Seems you can buy a horse for about £4000 and have it work for maybe 20 years.

All in all, this horse is going to cost you about £10,000 a year (we'll assume you buy the horse in cash and aren't paying horse finance).

If you drive the cart exactly 25 miles 6 days every week, that's around £1.30/mile for your new horse and cart business. I'm not including the cost of the cart or the driver because I'm about to compare it to a rickshaw which also requires a cart and driver.

For our rickshaw, let's say you buy a fancy bike for £1000. The servicing and replacement parts costs you say £300/year. You keep it in your garage. You can ride it up to say 50 miles/day. It lasts for 30 years.

That's about 2p / mile.

This horse is 65 times more expensive than the bike.

Maybe the horse can pull a heavier load than the bike, I'm pretty sure it's not 65 times heavier though.

I still didn't account for the fact that two drivers working shifts could timeshare this bike, which they can't do with the horse because the horse needs to rest.
posted by quacks like a duck at 6:46 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Animal welfare would be a huge concern.

There's a reason we still use phrases like "beaten like a rented mule." Animal transport (horses, mules, oxen, dogs, whatever) wasn't based on treating them like favorite pets, and I think it would be a shock to most people now to see what it takes to make an animal work that hard.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 AM on July 28 [7 favorites]

If we did go back to primarily animal powered transport (over land)...

Your land proviso above got me to wondering about horse powered boats.
posted by fairmettle at 7:23 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's a reason we still use phrases like "beaten like a rented mule." Animal transport (horses, mules, oxen, dogs, whatever) wasn't based on treating them like favorite pets, and I think it would be a shock to most people now to see what it takes to make an animal work that hard.

Well, anecdotally, my great-granddad was known for being kinder to his horses than to his human family, and I was brought up to never beat an animal, while I was used to animals being put down if they broke a leg or had a chronic illness, and we did eat horse meat every now and then. It was a farm, not a rescue. Apart from the ethics, it makes bad economic sense to beat your horse or mule or ox. What you want is to establish a partnership where you work together to get things done. What my gran said, that she had learnt from her dad, was that you need to learn to hold the horse as if the reins are made of silk -- so they would break at the slightest disagreement.

Again, horses were incredibly valuable then as now, and beating them makes no sense regardless of your ethical standpoint. That doesn't mean there aren't sadistic idiots out there today and that they didn't exist back then.
posted by mumimor at 7:33 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]

I think Patzek and Pimentel worked out some of this — one of them touched on some of the numbers in a lecture a couple of decades ago. The fossil fuel demands of the mills and factories that make fossil-fuel-using vehicles was a big difference IIRC - animals will reproduce themselves with relatively little help.

“Horses” is synecdoche, they were historically the luxury animal power, many other animals are slower or weaker but need less luxurious feed. We see horses in historical movies more than we ought.

Check out the Webbs’ history of the Road Laws in the UK.

If you’re asking "can we live modern rich fossil life with horses instead", no. If the question is “if we live on annual solar power rather than fossil fuels, will we want animal power” — well, just about every previous society with the option did.

If you’re wondering “could we live on the solar energy budget, but better than historical cases?” — it will take a lot of imagination and experiment and planning, let’s get at it!
posted by clew at 7:35 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Ulrich Raulff’s Farewell to the Horse describes in great detail what it took to dismantle a horse-drawn world, and is definitely useful for thinking about this question.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:38 AM on July 28 [7 favorites]

I'm pretty sure bicycles and rickshaws would be substantially cheaper and lower maintenance than horses.

My bike produces notably less shit than a horse.

From the article RonButNotStupid posted;

"New York had a population of 100,000 horses producing around 2.5m pounds of manure a day."

OH MY GOD, A DAY. And we have more things to move around, and more people to move around. Yeah it is a good thing, and can be used as fertilizer, but the infrastructure to process that amount of shit would be arguably just as herculean as some of the climate issues that we need to solve.

This is probably a bad, rough assumption, but just assuming this would track linearly with today's population in NYC, as a straight ratio with NYC's current population, you're looking at 212,500,000,000 TONS (468,482,307,142,865 pounds) of shit everyday.

From what most ag schools calculate, they assume that 50lbs is .8 cubic feet. Given the above, this is, lets round up and say 7,500,000,000,000 cubic feet of shit a day, which is a Haley's Comet amount of shit every day, or enough to fill the grand canyon with shit in one day.

This is just one day of horse shit. Just for NYC.

This is my shittiest post ever.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:39 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]

Some hard facts instead of arm-wavy nostalgic visions:

According to a comment above, horses consume
15000 to 35000 calories a day.

Average daily use:
Horses: 17 to 40 kWh a day
Modern electric car 50 miles: 15 kWh
Modern electric bike 20 miles + 1000 calories: 0.3 kWh

As you can see, bike wins by orders of magnitude. This isn’t even take into account the upfront energy costs into making a modern electric car compared to bike.
posted by moiraine at 7:46 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If there's a return to horses, is there also a return to carts, carriages and covered wagons? And the accompanying lifestyle changes? So grade school field trips, busloads of teen-aged athletes/band/cheer squads, grandma leading the carpool, routine long-distance medical care, long weekends away, and non-essential family travel during rain and snow are now gone? Well, work-from-home and school-by-internet might finally be perfected.
posted by beaning at 7:51 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

According to a comment above, horses consume
15000 to 35000 calories a day.

While I don't disagree with the general point that bicycles are much more efficient and suitable for modern life, I think the calculation here is way over the mark, maybe double or four times. But that's just nitpicking. Bikes are better.
posted by mumimor at 7:53 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

I have to say, this strikes me as one of the most bonkers hypothetical questions I've seen on AskMe. In addition to the many good points already made, let me point to this map of the USA showing land use. Note the considerable proportion of land given over to livestock feed. Imagine how much that would need to increase. Perhaps while we're entertaining hypotheticals we could legislate that everyone go vegetarian, which would radically alter the land-use map. But putting enough land under tillage to feed all those horses would be yet another limiting factor. And that land would need to be widely distributed so the feed was close to the horses that would need it, because hauling feed over long distances would be inefficient and require…more feed for horses.
posted by adamrice at 7:59 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

I think the calculation here is way over the mark, maybe double or four times

Again, sources? Lots of arm-wavy assertions here. I am not horse guru either but even a quick Google search would back the initial claim of 15000 to 35000 calories up.

Quick Google search 1
Google search result 2
Google search result 3
posted by moiraine at 8:04 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Comment removed, please just focus on answering the question instead of making jokes, thanks.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 8:07 AM on July 28

More on the "manure crisis" here, including lovely photos of streets filled with shit and dead horses.

Per one observer at the time, the streets were “literally carpeted with a warm, brown matting . . . smelling to heaven.”

Horse refuse and the remains of dead horses littered the streets and provided a breeding ground for (by some estimates) billions of flies a day across the nation. These, in turn, spread diseases, elevating the problem from a nuisance to a public health crisis.

Pressures were felt outside of the city as well. Each horse needed over three tons of oats and hay per year, in turn requiring tens of millions of acres of rural land for their food supply.

The article notes that conditions in NYC greatly improved with increased regulation in the late 1800s, but problems remained until horses were replaced by cars - which bring their own significant problems, of course.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:15 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Again, sources?

Nah, experience. I don't remember ever having fed a horse more than 2 kg of oats a day, which is about 7200 calories. I'm sure a race horse or a high performance dressage horse needs about the double, and there will be additional energy from hay, but still, that only just gets to the 15000 cal. I may be wrong about those elite horses, though I did feed a couple back in the day, but it still doesn't seem to be a real average.

Anyways, horses are really inefficient and high in maintenance compared to bikes and EVs. I love horses, but I don't see a horse-powered future, unless the world breaks down to a degree where there are no roads and no cities.

One thing I forgot above is that since horses are live animals, they are also unpredictable. If you produce ten thousand bikes, most of them will be good. If you breed ten thousand horses, which no-one does, there will be at least a thousand that have some genetic disease or birth defect. The number is probably higher, since I am an optimist. And they will get into accidents. Outside my window, six one-year old horses are grazing. One stepped onto a sharp object and is now costing my neighbor enough in vets and medicine that his entire profit on that cohort will be lost.
posted by mumimor at 8:19 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]

The Kate Daniels fantasy series by Ilona Andrews has a world where technology works part of the time and magic works part of the time, forcing people to frequently rely on animal transport. You might want to read some of that as an example.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:31 AM on July 28

Best answer: Content warning: Animal cruelty and death

Freud did a case study on Little Hans, a five year old boy who developed a phobia of horses. The little guy was surely struggling and we can point to many reasons that the culture he lived in accepted practices that put unbearable pressure on him. But many of the ones that Freud considered triggers of sadistic-social-sexual displacement, we would simply consider deeply traumatic.

Little Hans had more than one experience watching a fallen horse in the street being beaten to death. The reason that horses were beaten to death was because there were many carriers who could not afford a good horse, so they would buy an old broken down horse and try to keep it going - and when it was failing they knew it had only so many weeks or days left in it before they would have to buy another old, sick cheap horse to replace it. When it collapsed they would take extreme measures to get it back on its feet, otherwise they would have to to arrange for a replacement horse just for their freight - and they would still have to deal with getting the horse up off the road where it was obstructing traffic. If they could just get the horse to stand, they could get it into a horse van, or lead it back to a stable, or something. The horse van with its crane to pick up a dead or disabled horse was an expensive measure of last resort. If you couldn't get your horse to stand, you pretty much had a dead horse. A horse that got winched into the van was almost certainly a write off. There is a reason there is an old saying about someone "flogging a dead horse." That is exactly what they did, frequently, because giving up on a dying horse was devastating to the carrier financially. You might even flog a horse you loved, because getting it on its feet was the only way to get it to medical care.

The calèche's in Montreal were taken out of service on January first, 2020. These were horse drawn vehicles that were hired for drives in the old part of the city, usually by tourists. Just as modern vehicle traffic resulted in kids losing their right to roam in their own neighbourhood, car traffic proved too brutal for the horses. When they were hit by cars it was appalling. A horse has thin long legs, and when a leg gets broken, the horse is put down because it can't walk on three legs. There are quite a few contemporary Montrealers who recall the sight of a crying policeman drawing their service revolver and shooting a horse that lay on the tarmac, struggling in pain.

There is a world of difference between the nineteenth century practice and the twenty-first century practice. The first involved deliberate brutality, the second soon resulted in the police who ended the horse's suffering getting into a world of bureaucratic trouble, because firing weapons is strictly regulated only to situations where there is an immediate need to protect human lives. The were instructed NOT to do it, and still did it when the Calèche driver begged them to. Which is not to say that a blind eye was turned to the suffering of the horses of the nineteenth century - public despair and trauma over the treatment of horses led to a thriving opposition to animal cruelty, the establishment of the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and only after that to the Societies that opposed cruelty to children. The fiction of that era was rife with the plucky hero or heroine coming to the rescue of an abused horse.

So the first thing that would have to happen before horses could come back to our streets would be that the cars and the capitalist pressures would have to come off them. This is hardly unthinkable - we could quite easily end up in a situation where gasoline is suddenly being rationed to critically essential vehicles only, no private cars, and no deliveries except to large distribution centres. Most streets would be empty of gasoline powered traffic. Ambulances, buses, and fire trucks would be the only exceptions. I could picture this happening easily - as soon as the governments of the world put emergency restrictions in on the distribution of gasoline, after a few large disasters provide people with incentive to demand them, or more likely when they start to restore infrastructure after a temporary but extensive interruption in the supply of fuel.

Back in the day when animal powered vehicles were a thing, people used horses to move heavy goods because they were strong and fast. Oxen were much more practical for heavy work than horses because they could pull heavier loads, but they also couldn't go fast and they couldn't work as long - an oxen driver's day was much shorter, because oxen can only work for about six hours a day. They need the additional time for feeding and chewing their cud. Horses can work a full day and get by on a few feeds from a nose bag and a trough in their stable at night.

You probably know the term post as having to do with mail delivery, but may not know that the term refers to having posts on a route where you could change horses. If something went by post it was going by the fast route, where they would change horses periodically, and keep going. Traveling by post was for impatient travelers and time sensitive objects. The fact is that horses can go fast - but they can't sustain it. If a person on a horse left Lands End in Cornwall at the same time as a man on foot, and they both raced to get to John O'Groats on the other side of the UK, the horse rider would lose. The man on foot could sustain the pace and walk at night, the horse rider would have to let his horse rest. Horses are sprinters, fast only so they can run from danger. They can keep up a good pace for awhile but their natural speed when not fleeing, is a slow meander, grazing and frequently stopping. Americans will have heard of the pony express where the mail was transported by riders who rode in relays, passing he mail package over from one rider to another. This was also a form or shipping things by post route. The word literally comes from the word post from a post in the ground.

So horses and oxen are severely restricted in what they can be used for. Another example of the difficulties we face is that shoeing oxen is not done by a clever teamster at home - you actually have to lift them in a sling to shoe them, or force them to lie down as they can't lift up their feet enough for the farrier. Their maintenance is a serious business.

Of course there are plenty of other animals that can be used to pull a vehicle, if it is a light one - dogs and goats and donkeys have also been used reliably to pull vehicles. If we go forward to a day when people start figuring out alternatives to cars and trucks, they are going to remember this. Bernese Mountain dogs may be having a popularity trend now, but wait until people realise that they do so well with cart training that a daily run to the local depot to pick up supplies is exactly what they were bred for, and something they thrive on.

Children often used drove a lightweight trap pulled by smaller animals - It was excellent training in learning to drive an animal powered vehicle, and so much safer than letting a twelve year old take the reins in a vehicle they could not control. One of the serious hazards of heavy draught animals is a runaway. Horses are flight animals, easily triggered into running. The bolting horse is a staple of nineteenth century fiction. It was so common everyone had seen the resulting carnage, the way that everyone in our society has seen the aftermath of a car accident. Again, the bolting horse was often killed when it crashed because of how fragile they are.

So I picture a number of people taking up urban goats - for the milk supply, for the mowing and so that they would have a little lightweight cart for personal freight needs. But there is another vehicle that would become enormously popular, as it did when the age of the horse was transitioning to the age of the automobile - the bicycle.

Bicycles have enormous advantages over horses: If you can't find a source of water suitable for a horse to drink from several times a day while traveling, you are not facing an immediate emergency. If you get sick and crawl home, barely able to get to bed, and definitely not up to taking the harness off, rubbing down, filling the manger and making sure the water trough is full, you can just lean the bicycle up against the wall in the hall and go stagger in. If you are suddenly called away for four days, you don't need to get someone in to look after the horses for you. This was a very real problem. There are many devastating cases on record where someone was thought to have been deputized to look after the horses while the owner was unable to do it - and by the time anyone realised that the animals were dying unseen within a barn, the entire investment in livestock was gone. If you leave four cars in a garage for eight days they will start without a hitch. If you leave four horses without fresh food and water it's time to call the knacker. Someone above pointed out that the cost of a horse was equivalent to the cost of a car. That's a mighty expensive loss, even before you factor in the heartbreak, because so many people love their horses as individuals.

My money would be on the bicycle, and the bicycle cart entering a heyday before horses returned. Instead of personal cars, commuters would use something resembling a nice lightweight bike. Draft animals would be for heavy work, plowing when gasoline powered tractors were unavailable, and transporting heavy loads that could not be broken into smaller ones. Raspberries, for example, could be transported from the field into the city by a fleet of bicycles traveling overnight and be sold in the morning. Construction materials to repair buildings damaged by climate change storms would be another thing. That would be oxen. And the horses would be running post between the the city and suburbs or villages, carrying urgent lightweight freight, and passengers who couldn't go by bike.

Of course horses would be extremely expensive to get once gasoline became scarce. Their price would shoot up as every frustrated business person wanting goods delivered would begin to think a horse would solve their problems. But we wouldn't be able to manufacture horses at any speed - A mare can produce sixteen to twenty foals during her lifetime. But a mare that is used for extensive breeding is going to not be available for nearly as much work. And if she starts breeding at eighteen months, she's going to be unhealthy - the recommended ages for breeding are between five and ten years. Every foal will need to grow up before it is useful - so it's going to take a great many months and years before we have even the beginnings of enough horses to supply our light freight needs, let alone before ordinary people can hope to have a horse of their own, the way they now hope to have a car.

Livery stables and carriers are going to become a thing again. Someone with a goat cart, or a bicycle cart towed by a bicycle is going to deliver your groceries. Side roads, not used by the remaining large trucks, are going to deteriorate more and more. Your average residential street will not need good paving, and in fact, to lower the temperature of cities in the summer, removing the asphalt is going to be a good thing. Semi hard roads with just enough gravel to keep them from turning into mud are likely to become optimal.

I have little fear of the horse manure becoming a long term issue - that's because with fossil fuel production being stopped fertilizer is going to become as acute a problem as transportation. So I picture everyone with a little plot of land putting in a kitchen garden. Horse manure is great for a potato plot. Britain reached peak agricultural acreage during WWII when everyone dug for victory. The more varied and widespread your agriculture is, the better you can survive varying weather conditions and crop failures, and the smaller your transportation expenses, because locally grown is best. All those suburban lawns are going to need all the top soil and dressing they can get. There may be a tug of war between those that want to glean the horse droppings in the city, and rural producers who believe it should be reserved and shipped out to them - there have been many such competitions before.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:59 AM on July 28 [10 favorites]

Interesting question. It is worth pointing out that we are not that far removed from the era of horsedrawn commerce. In the 50s as a kid I lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. There were a few small grocery stores, but the principal way food reached households was via door-to-door sales. Several times a week, because most people had no refrigerator. Vegetables came via the "groenteman", who had a large horse-drawn wagon on which fruits and veggies were displayed kind of the way they are in a bodega. You could come out to the wagon and buy, or he would knock on your door. Nearly everyone used this service. He didn't grow much as home but bought his merchandise at a wholesale market. I think this continued well into the 60s, maybe 70s. (I'm pretty sure this is him.) But he was the last home-deliverer using a horse. A bakery delivered using a pedal-powered cart. Dairy had already switch to a truck that came overnight. A rag collector pushed a hand cart through the street.

Fast forward, here in Vermont a dozen years ago, a friend's mother who was in her 90s asked him what "locavore" meant. So he explained it was about buying and eating local food. She said, well, all our food was local until not that long ago — certainly through the 40s and into the 50s. And here too, a lot of the farming and delivery was done using horses in the first part of the 20th.

So the point is, we are only about 70 years removed from the end of the era of the horse. But is there any way to bring it back at any significant scale? I think not. We have vastly more people, who are vastly more concentrated in metropolitan areas. You might be able to start a viable vegetable route with a horse and wagon in a small town in Vermont, but in cities, for reasons already well explored above, there is no going back.
posted by beagle at 9:32 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]

I'm sure a race horse or a high performance dressage horse needs about the double, and there will be additional energy from hay, but still, that only just gets to the 15000 cal. I may be wrong about those elite horses, though I did feed a couple back in the day, but it still doesn't seem to be a real average.

So I looked into the old books we still have and it seems a very high performance horse needs about 23000 calories, and that it is really hard to get there, because a horse can't digest more than those 2kgs of grain I mentioned above. You have to sneak in some sugar and fat that they don't really want to eat. And come to think of it, I remember big bins of molasses and rapeseed oil from which we mixed in parts into the grains. However, this is still only very high performance horses, not everyday working animals.

A horse bringing produce into a city from the surrounding countryside was not a high performance horse. It would walk in a sustainable pace and then spend several hours just standing, and often grazing in a bag made for the purpose with fodder mixed from grain, hay and straw. It might even have had a poop-bag attached at its rear end, because a vegetable grower would not want that manure to go to waste. A hackney horse would need more food and rest, but not at the level of a race horse.
posted by mumimor at 9:50 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Expensive, thoroughbred, beautiful racing horses owned by wealthy people with paid horse carers, who live in specially constructed homes and who get excellent food and excellent veterinary care

are subject to disturbing, awful abuse.

That, commodified, and desperately needed by people who don't have time, resources, or understanding.
posted by amtho at 10:53 AM on July 28

The question of sustainable transportation is a great one! And some people have touched on the best answer: a combo of trains, buses, bikes (both ebikes and non ebikes), and walking infrastructure, along with dense, amenity-rich communities, is the answer. (I dream of being able to take a convenient bus or light rail to outdoors destinations, for example.)

Also, I do want to note something. You said:
Roads that used to be cobbled so horses hooves could get a good grip are now flat so car wheels can turn smoothly

Let me well actually this. Well actually, folks on bikes were the ones advocating for flat pavement. We didn't go from horses to cars, but bikes to cars.

If you've never been on an ebike, you might be surprised at how incredibly transformational they are. They are easy to pedal, even when carrying weight (I pushed an adult friend of mine around in a big borrowed cargo bike with ease!). They are the horse-replacement of your dreams. I didn't get it til I rode one, honestly.

The other part of this is that our worlds could get a bit smaller. Right now we in the US are accustomed to driving all over for work, for leisure, for shopping. A smaller world, where we live closer to where we work and shop and go to school, with rare plane trips or extended vehicle travel, would be much more sustainable for all of us.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:13 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]

Also you might be interested to know that, in some places, horse tether rings are still around. In Portland, Oregon, it's not required for sidewalk repairs to replace any existing horse rings (and some folks have mini toy horses and other animals tethered to sidewalk rings).
posted by bluedaisy at 11:15 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]

In other parts of the world horses lasted even longer - I hitched a ride on a horse cart with firewood one winter in the late 90s in the mountains of Poland. In the 80s it was still hard enough to get a tractor that smaller farms kept horses and oxen for lighter work. Not coincidentally, in the 90s and aughts with widespread mechanisation Polish agriculture went from food deficits and rationing to being one of Europe's export powerhouses. Even outside the question of transport, agricultural productivity is so much higher when one person can drive a machine that swallows hay and spits out neatly wrapped bales - the old stacks, you needed half a dozen people to cart to the barn before autumn rains came and everything molded. This is what enabled the transition to a non-agricultural economy.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:04 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow! Some awesome answers so far. I am loving this!

mumimor, my goodness so much detail in all your replies - thank you!

ryanshepard - thanks for the book rec, I will check that out.

beaning - yes exactly! What would that look like? Would it be less of an issue because more people work from home? How would it change how we think about things like field trips and away games etc?

Jane the Brown, I like your comparisons of different animals and what each would involve in a contemporary system. Oxen v goats v horses v dogs v human hand carts etc. In terms of cruelty, I want to approach this from a problem solving perspective (what laws and policies can be put in place in the 21st century to avoid the animal cruelty of the 19th?) rather than a doomerish cynicism and your details help me think through some of that, so thanks.

Some new jobs that would be created I hadn't thought about before include road sweeper. Much more labor (and money) involved in manure collection and reuse, as well as horse meat processing. Space would be needed for pasturing animals near where they are working (similar to current enormous parking lot footprints in the US) and local water sources, which would be difficult in areas which already have pressure on water. Additional grain consumption would wrap into current food shortage issues/solutions - potentially replacing the biofuels problem.

Btw I think maybe I could have been clearer in my original post: assume that I am aware that there are alternative options to solving the climate problem of cars such as bikes, walkable cities, etc etc. I'm just interested in hearing the pros and cons of this particular option.

The answers I'm finding most helpful are those that acknowledge that it would not be a return to a preindustrial age, but about what this form of transport would involve in a post-industrial 21st century world.

(Also because this is a pet peeve of mine and its cropping up all over this thread: peeps, agricultural work is highly skilled work! It was in the past and is now! Please let's not talk about the people whose vast multi-generational expertise and 365-days of the year labor keeps us all alive as "peasants." Damn.)
posted by EllaEm at 1:01 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Also please keep going if you would like, even though this is now marked as "resolved," because this is fascinating. And my partner is now v happy I'm not just rambling on at him about this over the dinner table :-)
posted by EllaEm at 1:14 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]

I'm going to approach this from a pure engineering standpoint. A semitruck has about 400-600 horsepower per this site. Let's average that to 500hp per truck. There are 4.06 million active semitrucks in the USA, per this site. So to replace our trucking industry with horses, from a straight power balance, would take

500 hp/truck * 4,060,000 trucks

which is 2.03 billion horses. That's just over 6 horses for every person in the USA.

For a sense of scale of what that would take, this site says there are 94 million cows in the USA. You would need 21.6 times as many horses as you would cows to fulfill just the freight transportation needs alone, to say nothing of personal transportation needs.

What would that do to the environment? Cows produce 220 pounds of methane per year, and make up 27% of the US's methane emissions. Horses produce 45.5 pounds of methane per year (google search goes to a paywalled article). So if you were to suddenly make 2.03 billion horses appear in the US, it would increase the US's total methane emissions by 120%. Again, this is just for freight transportation alone.

This whole calculation assumes that one horse can replace one horsepower of engine, which is kind of like saying with enough shaken-up 2-liter bottles of soda you could launch yourself to the moon. There's logistical reasons (feed, water, manure, fatigue, etc) why this wouldn't actually work. Horses are not a good replacement for fossil fuel transport.
posted by zompus at 1:56 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Carriage Houses

Check out this site - this guy covers the US reliance on wide streets fit for autos way before the auto was even introduced. It's a walk through a town called New Berlin NY, and how similar it is to modern suburbs even though it was platted and formed in 1807. He juxtaposes the current with pictures from the late 1800s=early 1900s because it was not remodeled to the 1950s stripmall version. He also compares it to cities/towns in other countries - how different it was, and includes 'travelling transportation', the extensive rail network that connected this place to NYC.

It's a very small town, but most of the original houses are giant and have carriage houses for horses. IMO it shows that modern life hasn't really progressed that much in the past 100 years, and that life wouldn't be nearly as wildly different as we might imagine....

He also shares the occasional shots of old NYC, they are honestly surprising. They basically look nothing like the pic shared above (about the poop, which was obviously taken after some kind of disaster - it's not representative of how it would have looked on a random day at that time.)
He includes a bit about the Flatiron Building, NYC's first skyscraper built in 1902 in another in a series of articles. Here's an actual picture before the Flatiron - there are about 50 horses in the shot. It's snowy (I think) so the horse manure is noticeable - is there a lot? Not really. You might think they built them wide to contain many lanes of horse traffic comparable to modern auto traffic - not true.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:00 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]

Not really. You might think they built them wide to contain many lanes of horse traffic comparable to modern auto traffic - not true.

The shot is also wide enough to cover what we would call the entire 'neighborhood', so the manure is something that a neighborhood-sized sanitation department (of which there would be many in NYC) could deal with.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:06 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]

You also might say 'hey - it's not comparable now because more people live in Manhattan now' - also incorrect. A comparable number of people lived in Manhattan when this pic was taken - more lived there when the Flatiron building was built, 800k less live there now.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:14 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Also, touched on lightly above but very very relevant, horses were only part of a spectrum of draft animals.

Oxen, as mentioned, could not work as many hours a day as a draft horse, but were basically a byproduct of the dairy or beef industry. Mules, the offspring of horse and donkey, were much smarter and less flighty than a horse, with many of the same physical advantages.

Compared to the high-performance but high-maintenance horse, a lot of seemingly less efficient critters are a lot less money and a lot less maintenance.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 3:06 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]

Best answer: So much would depend on unknown parameters. What is the time frame for this reversion? Will cities have to be rebuilt around it or where they already destroyed and it's just how will the new construction be done? Have gas vehicles been retained at all? Ambulances, fire trucks, police cars? Tractors or semis? Moving vans? Do power plants, computers, and other electrical/gas driven technology continue? Are oxen pulling city buses along repurposed state and city roads? Or other these roads bombed out?

Honestly, I rather imagine something like a mix of 1940-1950s options and limits of home delivery (good bye to specialty grocers who do not deliver and those exotic foods that only one person in the neighborhood wants!) Technology may allow improved education and entertainment options but it's hard to extrapolate without knowing the parameters.

Elderly persons and those using adaptive services for cars or mass transport will be likely adversely affected. Medical care will be impacted; for one example, I don't really see anyone wanting to ride a horse home after chemo or surgery which impacts treatment, insurance costs, etc. if people now stay longer in the hospital after those services. Maybe we can finally get telehealth and home care of quality and paid for by insurance.

In the USA, there are cities which are simply bedroom communities for those working in the city and hour long commutes in my area are not unknown, particularly as mass transit in Texas is essentially non-existent in the bedroom communities common in the suburbs. USA metroplexes such as greater Houston, DFW, or the Boston-NYC-DC corridor are heavily car-dependent for the multitude of millions living there. Cities such as Toyko, London or Mumbai are heavily dependent on scooters, and I can't imagine horses +/- bikes fulfilling the need. Maybe they revert back to regionalism?

Where I work, there are 19 plus parking garages, each handling several hundred cars. The medical/business center is generally considered to have 50,000+ workers/visitors go in and out each day--I don't think a switch to horses/oxen or even buses could handle that. There would not, imo, be any place to safely house the animals without tearing down parking garages which also impacts the adjacent surroundings, esp in those cases where the parking garages form the bottom or top of buildings which also have other uses. There is currently no surrounding parkland period end of statement. Underground tunneling would be extremely challenging given the type of ground and low elevation. Above ground rail routes would require agreement to use/lose private property, and similar efforts have already been challenged in court fights.

Finally when I look at my particular day and presume horses only, first I have to learn to ride long distances and acquire the horse and its necessities as well as my own riding gear. Whether this reversion occurred slowly or suddenly will impact cost and availability of such. Depending on the horse's speed and weather will determine when I need to be up to ride 25 miles to work and care for/pass off care of the horse. I'm probably not running lunchtime errands. And I may not run after-work errands or events depending on how safe I feel about riding in the dark. There's a reason 1930-1950s small towns and certain areas of the cities would "roll up the sidewalks" after dark. My neighborhood is close enough to a K-8 school that the kids can walk but those in private schools or living further away or higher grades will need other options if internet school does not exist as a good option. And my partner is probably at home all day as two horses likely prohibitively expensive for a city dweller.

Nationwide tours and sports competitions probably become regional at best but perhaps technology allows other options and we finally can see Broadway plays and Taylor Swift concerts in our own homes.

Does Greyhound re-emerge as a way for the 18-25 yrs olds to get to college and the military bases?
posted by beaning at 3:38 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]

In terms of cruelty, I want to approach this from a problem solving perspective (what laws and policies can be put in place in the 21st century to avoid the animal cruelty of the 19th?) rather than a doomerish cynicism

Things don't need to be that bad, but still, there's no way to extract the amount of work needed from animals without what would be to many contemporary people pretty upsetting scenes. Like, you know when you see a one-person lawncare guy go by in an old truck that is loaded to the gills and every panel is bent and dented? People would need to work animals just as hard as that poor truck.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:07 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]

You might be interested in the various ways the Amish have adapted horse transportation to the current world. They make use of trains and occasionally boats as transportation, too.

They're a handful of horses-only places, like Macinac island, that are touristy but may give insight into what that could be like.

Before cars cities had a lot of deliveries available, including from markets and department stores. You would shop in person and they would deliver it later. There were also horse drawn busses though they were so hard on the horses they were replaced as soon as possible. And the amount of streetcars was far higher than has survived in even the most transit friendly place.

The mid Atlantic part of the US had a big grain export industry even before the earliest trains so the logistics of that could be relevant.

Working horses used to be kept in standing stalls, which are smaller than the box stalls almost everyone uses now. I haven't seen this mentioned yet but horses must eat hay and it not only takes up a ton of space, but it's very variable by weather and also can catch on fire if not stored well. There are large parts of the country that now have enough sport horses they mostly ship hay in my the tractor trailer load and that is not cheap.

The vet industry would have to adapt. Many vet schools are partially publicly funded for agricultural industry reasons, but it's still very competitive to get in and classes are small. large animal is much less popular for lots of reasons including lower pay and the difficulties of traveling distances to do hard dirty work. Maybe more animal transportation would shift that model to encourage more vets, or it could become more like the human health industry.
posted by sepviva at 5:08 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I made a very long comment on the cruelty thing and then deleted it. But the essence is that cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans are both aspects of a certain type of capitalism. They are not necessary. I live in a capitalist society where there are minimum wages, everyone has access to healthcare and a pension and education is free up to the Phd level. And cruelty to animals is punished severely, except when it comes to pigs and chickens, and we need to talk about that.

In the deleted comment, I also described how we have known that cruelty to animals is evil and also counterproductive for centuries. But I got too upset, so this is the short version.
posted by mumimor at 5:16 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]

Best answer: One thing I didn’t see mentioned, (sorry if I missed it), is what you do with the horse and accoutrements when you go somewhere for work? The stabling costs in terms of space and infrastructure would seem to cut down on this for office workers.

I think a lot of the comments above are thinking of a more rural situation where you periodically go into town for a few hours and tie up the horses.

Whereas in an animal based transport economy, what does one do with those animals if you are at work? This seems to make an office-based work situation difficult without considerable portion of the workforce walking plus maybe a horsecart (horse-drawn tram on train tracks, common in early Chicago, helpfully can be grade-separated for better safety.)

So I think the thought experiment must either assume that only the very wealthy have horses and carriages who need stabling during the day, while people mostly live close to work or the physical geography of where people work must change. (I’m too lazy to link but one might also note the current plethora of articles about CBD real estate prices tanking due to WFH.)

As an aside, while likely unworkable, I love the idea of Bernese dog and goat traps based on the pictures.
posted by ec2y at 5:22 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]

One thing - you might be making the assumption that people who drive cars would drive or ride horses. That won't scan. Before cars, even many very wealthy people in the US and Europe did not keep horses. It was more like the same people who have vintage cars and very expensive sports cars today, that was the population that kept carriage and riding horses.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:12 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]

Mod note: One removed. Supercilious sarcasm isn't a good approach for Ask Metafilter.
posted by taz (staff) at 11:50 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]

I don't think it could ever make sense to ride or drive a personally owned horse-drawn carriage to work on a daily basis. Paying for one stable with all the services would already be expensive, paying for two would be silly.
As mentioned way up above, with Pepys as an example, people walked a lot. And they did so till the early 20th century. In a contemporary setting, public transportation would be the best alternative to walking in cities with long distances. In a lot of cities, that would entail a huge investment in new infrastructure and probably also densification of suburbs.
posted by mumimor at 6:31 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]

As prior commenters noted:

works without energy infrastructure

animals will reproduce themselves with relatively little help

Regardless of direct fuel source (fossil or renewable), bicycles, trains, and other efficient transport modes require a pretty global supply chain for manufacture and upkeep. I do not know the minimum level of ingredients and skill and equipment necessary to manufacture and reliably repair, e.g., a leg-powered bicycle, but in the case of supply chain collapse beyond what we are already currently experiencing, I would predict that reliability and supply would get harder, and less-efficient but easier-to-build designs would get popular. And that would get even more pronounced the more complex the components or the more high-quality ingredients they demand, as with anything computerized or something big and heavy like a train car. At some point we simply would no longer be able to maintain the high-tech transportation of yesteryear. And it is plausible for someone to assess the likely impacts of already-here climate change and predict not only that we need to stop relying on fossil fuels for so much transport, but that we need to stop relying on the assumption of a 2005-era supply chain. (I mean: just-in-time manufacturing, our ability to manufacture and distribute objects beyond the regional level, the default approach of manufacturing objects by assembling interchangeable components bought from specialized vendors far away and possibly from a different governmental jurisdiction, assumptions that manufacture and distribution will reliably happen on-schedule regardless of weather and that skilled labor shortages will be rare, etc.)

Growing enough fodder for draft animals to eat, breeding and raising and caring for them, cleaning up after them, etc. would definitely require a lot of work. Switching to widespread use of draft animals would, as many have noted, require big investments in agricultural, veterinary, livestock upkeep, and sanitation capability. I presume we'd also need a lot more leatherworkers and ropemakers and smiths and farriers and shipwrights and carpenters to make and fit reins, shoes, wheels, carts/wagons, boats/barges, and similar complementary goods. And I would assume we might need more miners and cowherds and loggers and so on to get the raw materials for them to use.

This sounds really hard, yeah. But it would actually be possible (with huge variances region-by-region, and with era-defining changes in the fundamental structure of global civilization) in case of supply chain collapse, more plausibly, in my [not very informed] opinion, than relying on some combination of bikes, electric vehicles, trains, and other post-Industrial-Revolution, interchangeable-parts, requires-factories-to-exist modes.

Those civilizational changes, other commenters have already noted, such as:

cities like Las Vegas and Tucson simply could not exist in their current size without railroads.

Most nonwealthy households used to expect to live and have daily life in a close radius to home the vast majority of time in their lives

a depopulation scenario

grade school field trips, busloads of teen-aged athletes/band/cheer squads, grandma leading the carpool, routine long-distance medical care, long weekends away, and non-essential family travel during rain and snow are now gone?

If you’re asking "can we live modern rich fossil life with horses instead", no.
posted by brainwane at 7:40 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]

Slicing the question a little differently: Trains and bikes and walking are fine for town dwellers’ consumption needs, but not so great for either first mile or last mile heavy freight. Animal power was still common in the US up to WWII, despite railroads, because you had to get crops *to* the railroad. And if you’re out in dispersed productive farm or timber land, there’s more room for animals and you can use the manure conveniently. So that might come back again and reduce fossil fuel use while keeping us in sort of the style to which we have become accustomed.

Don’t know about heavy hauling in cities.
posted by clew at 9:40 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]

I think only a very small percentage of the population would be willing and able to adapt to the lifestyle needed to to rely on and use horses as transportation in a humane manner. A horse and buggy is essentially the anti minivan in terms of creature comforts as well as priority of the welfare of the vehicle (and its engine).
posted by oceano at 10:43 PM on July 29

Response by poster: A last comment to say thank you everyone, I have learnt a lot here and appreciate you all engaging with my thought experiment!

The_Vegetables - wow, that blog series about villages and suburbs is so up my alley it might as well be lurking under my window. I'm going to have so much fun nerding out with it. Thank you!
posted by EllaEm at 7:14 PM on July 31

In the various "resources necessary to support a horse" comments I've seen land, grass/hay, grain, water-- but has anyone mentioned metal? A horse working on city streets must have shoes (definitely forefeet but ideally all round), and those shoes must be changed every 6-8 weeks. Even recycling shoes, that's a lot of steel and aluminum.

And person-hours. Farriery is skilled work that can't be fudged-- done badly, it can shorten a horse's working life. A good farrier will note the wear on a horse's feet, choose and fit the specific type of shoe for the work it does and any foot issues it has. In a horsepowered world, you would need a LOT of farriers to see EVERY working horse every six to eight weeks, take their shoes off, trim their feet and re-shoe. A lot of resources would have to go into training farriers (as well as training horse-trainers, saddlers, wheelwrights and the like).

Speaking of horse-trainers and person-hours: it takes a LOT longer to train a horse than to assemble a car. And there's a limit to the number of horses a skilled person can be training at any one time. So even if the number of horses could be bred to meet demand with land to raise them on, there would be a bottleneck when it came to training.

One aspect of horsepower that might work is to bring back a network of canals with barges drawn by horses or mules. (The US and Britain both had this until they were superseded by railways; many canals remain.) The equines would be owned by the canal companies with stables to house them along the route where barge operators could change horses. In-house vets and farriers; contracts with local farmers for turnout (that is, field access) and the growing of feed. A barge is the most efficient form of equine haulage, as long as you're not bothered about it being quick.

But in general, having seen many working horses in poor condition and poorly treated, I think we're better off in a society where the only people who work with horses are those who like them.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:50 PM on August 2 [3 favorites]

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