The Americas

In Paraguay, 100 horses are protected, traded for moto-carts

  • Gabriela Zaracho, 16, holds her baby as she waits to exchange her horse-pulled cart for a motorcycle in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Hundreds of poor trash collectors from the Bañado Sur neighborhood, who make about $300 dollars a month, left behind their work horses in favor of motorcycles, which cost $2,000 dollars each. The animals will live out the rest of their days at a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

    Gabriela Zaracho, 16, holds her baby as she waits to exchange her horse-pulled cart for a motorcycle in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Hundreds of poor trash collectors from the Bañado Sur neighborhood, who make about $300 dollars a month, left behind their work horses in favor of motorcycles, which cost $2,000 dollars each. The animals will live out the rest of their days at a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman hands her son a reflective vest after he turned over his cart-pulling work horse in exchange for buying a motorcycle in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Hundreds of poor trash collectors from the Bañado Sur neighborhood, who make about $300 dollars a month, left behind their work horses in favor of motorcycles, which cost $2,000 dollars each. The animals will live out the rest of their days at a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

    A woman hands her son a reflective vest after he turned over his cart-pulling work horse in exchange for buying a motorcycle in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Hundreds of poor trash collectors from the Bañado Sur neighborhood, who make about $300 dollars a month, left behind their work horses in favor of motorcycles, which cost $2,000 dollars each. The animals will live out the rest of their days at a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lorenzo Machado, left, and Alfonso Molas, who work collecting and selling what others throw away, keep warm by a fire before turning over their cart-pulling work horses in exchange for buying motorcycles in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Hundreds of poor trash collectors from the Bañado Sur neighborhood, who make about $300 dollars a month, left behind their work horses in favor of motorcycles, which cost $2,000 dollars each. The animals will live out the rest of their days at a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

    Lorenzo Machado, left, and Alfonso Molas, who work collecting and selling what others throw away, keep warm by a fire before turning over their cart-pulling work horses in exchange for buying motorcycles in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Hundreds of poor trash collectors from the Bañado Sur neighborhood, who make about $300 dollars a month, left behind their work horses in favor of motorcycles, which cost $2,000 dollars each. The animals will live out the rest of their days at a sanctuary. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)  (The Associated Press)

Nearly 100 horses that have clopped through the streets of Paraguay's capital for years, hauling heavy loads of junk, are being retired to a farm sanctuary.

The haggard, ill-fed horses pull carts filled with cans, cardboard and plastic that their owners scavenge from garbage bins and later sell to recycling centers. On Friday, the owners were able to trade the horses for 100 motorcycles they can use to pull carts or for any other purpose.

The initiative begun two years ago to protect the animals while offering their impoverished owners a way to make a living. The plan backed by the municipality of Asuncion was launched after a 2014 city ordinance banned the use of horse carts.

Officials in other Latin American countries have adopted similar programs.