A leading brewery has decided to end daily deliveries to pubs by horse- drawn drays because of an increasing number of accidents involving motor vehicles, and complaints by irate drivers.
Young's Brewery, in Wandsworth, south-west London, from which horses have been used to take out beer for 400 years, says it is no longer fair on the animals to subject them to abuse and danger from motorists, even though they are more cost-effective than diesel-powered lorries.
Four draymen will be laid off at the end of the month but all 19 horses will be kept on for special deliveries .
A spokesman, Michael Hardman, said: "It is a very sad day and the end of an era." The move had been forced on the company by a combination of road rage, and bad driving, he said.
In one of the worst recent incidents a motorist held up near Clapham Junction removed one of the chocks holding the wheels of the dray and hit one of the horses on the rear with it.
The pair of animals galloped unchecked for a mile through heavy traffic into nearby Battersea before they were brought under control. The motorist who attacked the horse was later taken to court.