Since 2017, SPEAK Strategic has led the public relations and advocacy effort for the horse carriage industry in Charleston, South Carolina. Carriage rides are the number one tourist attraction in Charleston and small, family-owned carriage companies have been operating in the city for over forty years. Local animal rights activists have spent years trying to ban carriage tours in Charleston and change public opinion about the industry. Thanks to SPEAK’s efforts, more Charlestonians than ever are learning the truth about the carriage horse industry and the treatment carriage horses receive. A 2018 poll showed an overwhelming majority of Charlestonians support the horse carriage industry and vehemently oppose a ban.
SPEAK helped the three largest carriage companies form an association called Charleston C.A.R.E.S. (Carriage Association for Responsible Equine Safety) to come together and promote an often misunderstood industry. SPEAK works regularly with City Council members, Tourism Commission officials and city staff on issues related to the industry.