THE correspondence on the perceived unfairness in the regulation in public places of dogs' mess and horse manure treats the issue as one of equality between their owners.

Thus dog owners say: "It is unfair that dog owners have to clean up dogs' mess in public spaces whereas horse owners do not."

There are two issues arising from this at opposite ends of the spectrum.

First: equality of treatment of users of polluting means of transport on public highways...

Therefore should the principle of clearing up pollution caused by dogs be extended to horses and motor vehicles when used as a means of transport on public highways ?

In other words should those means of transport used on public roads which emit CO2 gas (and other pollutants such as black smoke, nitrous oxides and noise etc) be made, somehow, fully to clear up their pollution as they go along ?

That might be a good idea but horses should not be singled out for special treatment

Second: degree of pollution or nuisance and the practical consequences of regulation.

Dogs' mess gives off an extremely offensive smell especially when trodden on and dragged around on one's shoes and carries disease. It is undoubtedly a health hazard and a nuisance though like horse manure it is not pollution as it is part of the natural circular cycle of nutrients.

In contrast horse manure smells good, does not stick to shoes and carries no known diseases and being a good fertilizer for vegetable and flower gardens it is much valued by those living near roads and paths who often race out to remove it for the benefit of their garden. Only a few people could think of it as a nuisance and it is not a health hazard.

Furthermore it is difficult and dangerous for a horse rider to carry a shovel on horseback and most inconvenient to get off their horse to shovel up the horse manure into a bag and then to re-mount with shovel and now loaded heavier bag to carry home with them on horseback.

Thus there is no logical basis for the argument that horse riders as a matter of equality and fairness be subject to the same rules as dog owners and clear up excreta left by their animals on the highway. The owners are not equal because one owner creates problems and the other causes no material problem.

To treat the issue as one of equality addresses no environmental, health, smell or other practical objective, imposes unsafe and impractical and therefore unfair obligations and is driven by a misconceived application of the concept of equality as the owners are not in an equal position. One owner causes damage and the other does not.