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BOTH SIDES: Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides Tours Safe, Humane Or Mistreatment?

August 25, 2007 | Horses / Animal Rights / Horse Carriages

Excerpted from:

The Hartford Courant

Courant Staff Writer

...."Recently, the state Office of Policy and Management gave Wethersfield a $25,000 grant to provide horse-drawn carriages in the town's historic district, slated to begin this fall. The project has been billed as a way to accentuate the rich heritage of Connecticut's "most ancient town." A more progressive perspective, however, would suggest that buggy rides are an exploitative and dangerous tradition that should be left in the history books.

...To expect horses to serve as vehicles in any traffic is unreasonable. The health and safety dangers inherent in the animal-drawn vehicle business have sparked a growing momentum for bans in many cities across the world, including Key West and Palm Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Camden, N.J.; Toronto; Beijing; Paris; and London. Even when confined to light or pedestrian traffic, as in the Wethersfield plan, horses and traffic can be a deadly mix.

...There are more enlightened ways to herald and preserve Wethersfield's heritage than returning to the days when horses were forced to pull people through the streets."

Priscilla Feral, president of Darien-based Friends of Animals

read full article...


I'm only just beginning my read up on this, but I live in NY, where a horse just died the other day. He got spooked and ran into a tree. He's dead. This picture has to change immediately. Horses shouldn't be in the freaking streets. It's inhumane treatment-cut and dry. I'm hearing, "The horse-drawn buggy is romantic!" Excuse me,,.. "Romantic"??? what is the hot and heavy neccesity here? I don't think it's romantic. I think horses need to be off the streets. I like a good horseback ride occasionally, but not on the streets. This should truly end. If anyone has ideas, or needs a sig that may actually help...leave me a message here. Thanks.

There is no place for horse drawn carriages in New York City, or any other environment that mixes carriages and traffic. This is another form of exploiting animals. The carriage owners that limit their routes to inside the park, and treat their animals in a humane and caring manner is the minority. If there are to be horse drawn carraige rides, limit them to within the (auto free) park boundary and impose stricter standards in regards to the care of the animals, duration of work hours in heat or cold, nutrition, etc.

Hi Priscilla, I think you should know that in the Las Vegas Review Journal today, Sept. 18,2007 there is an article about a carriage business that will be voted on tomorrow by the Las Vegas City Council(they have stated they are in favor of it). The carriages will operate in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada--a hot, congested, poluted area to be sure. I have expressed my concern about this issue, but fear it is falling on deaf ears. Guess you should remove Las Vegas from your list of cities who care. Mary

Dave Shishkoff is a paid protester in Victoria BC, he neglects to tell people that he would not know a sick horse from a healthy one or how long horses work on the streets of Victoria. Dave, education is everything, become educated & informed on horses & carriage companies and then you can have a factual cause. Lets get the cars off the street, now thats a cause! [Blog editors' note: Bill, what is your actual concern, and how exactly does it relate to the subject matter? If you are working for more efficient public transport, from bike paths to trains, Friends of Animals would thank you. The cause at issue here is conscious animals who are pressed into service for the entertainment of tourists or, one might assume, people wanting to impress their dates.]

Richard, I think you missed the point of my comment. I'm sure starving to death wouldn't be a more enjoyable life for your animals. I commend those who take in refugees that escape human tyranny over non-human animals. Until the overall problem is solved - that is, human domination of other species - there will be countless such animals that will need loving care. However, it is deplorable to put these animals to work. To me, that is akin to granting refuge to a human slave, then demanding that they do yard work in return. You mention how you and your wife both expect the other to work. Of course! You are consenting humans enjoying a symbiotic relationship. But there is no consent when animals are put to work, whether they seem to enjoy it or not. To assume that they 'enjoy' such a contribution to their human caretakers is simple anthropomorphism and, in my opinion, hubris. Since you responded directly to my comment that challenges the idea of 'love', I'm assuming you feel that you love the animals under your care. As I said before, my question was a simple test. However, rewording it to your specific situation: if you knew of a refuge that would house your animals, care for them, and treat them with respect, and it was obvious that this would be a better life for them, would you bring them there?

I own five horses, two dogs and a cat. All of which were rescues. What struck me was the comment, "I suppose the simplest test for your love is this: If you knew that someone you love would have a more enjoyable life without you, would you let them go?" When it comes to my animals if I did that they would starve and die, that's how I got them becuase they were starving. My wife and I love each other but we both expect each other to work. I do not condone working horses when its too hot or too cold or overworking them. But I can't go along with they should just live free either. Horses and dogs and cats need homes everyday. It is my personal opinion that people should use thier efforts and money to adopt and save the animals they can save instead of putting effort out to abolish an already highly regulated and scrutinized business. Horses are being starved everyday and it is illegal. Report those people and adopt a horse, you can make a difference.

You guys are all out of it. I am a carriage driver in downtown Victoria, and we DO NOT send our horses to the meat factory when they are too old. They stay on the farm in a HUGE paddock with FREE CHOICE HAY and SHELTER. Regular vet care, worming, and a shoeing schedule, which is all something they would not have in the wild. As for subjecting animals to humans... are you saying horses shouldn't be trained? Do you people have any IDEA how freaking dangerous it is to handle an untrained horse whether it be a pleasure horse or a carriage horse? How would we get in to the paddock to clean it, brush them, pick their feet, shoe, worm, and especially GELD them?? If we can't do any of those we would have a bunch of wild horses running around impregnating and re producing more horses that we have no use for at all, thus ending up at the butchers or in a little white bottle on an elementary school shelf. These horses have ample turn out and time to be a horse, most get winters off, others get summers off, work PART TIME, they go on regular trail rides so they don't get bored, have drivers who LOVE them to death, and if they dislike their job, they don't do it! Basically for you to say that all horse training is cruel and breaks their spirit is bull, if you knew ANYTHING at all about horses you would know of trainers like Doug Mills (Training Thru Trust); Chris Irwin; Marion Weiskpoff; John Lyons; Monty Roberts. Sure there are some pretty harsh cowboys out there that still use the original method of "sacking out" or "breaking", but for the most part training methods started changing for the better about 30 years ago.

Training is now based on relationship building. Trust, harmony, companionship, and WILLINGNESS rather than submission and control. And let me just say that we carriage drivers have a damn good relationship with the horses we drive. Drivers and horses are not matched up if they do not have chemistry, and if the horse doesn't willingly perform well for the driver. FoA comments: But here's the rub. The horse carriage business is based on making a profit off the backs of the horses and not on trust, harmony, companionship or willingness. Horses aren't reading the want ads and applying for "carriage horses wanted" positions.

If a carriage horse does not like his job...HE WON'T DO IT. Forcing a 2000 lb animal to walk calmly around the busy streets of Victoria doesn't work. It is obvious when a horse is ill suited for a job, and if such a horse ends up in the hands of the carriage industry then they will either live on the farm as a pet or riding horse, where they receive regular farrier, worming, and vet care, or they get sold to a good home. And trust me, the owners of these companies are horse lovers first, business men and women second. And given that our horses come from the auction, where most draft horses would easily go for meat, I sure would enjoy a job walking the streets of victoria a few days per week rather than sit on someones dinner plate. Also, with all the output with owning a carriage company, trucks, maintenance, vet, and food for 20+ draft horses, this is not an industry of high profit. FoA comments: Darci, I'm not sure you know much about horses or if you're just telling tales. Ever see a horse that didn't want to get shoed? Now just how does a 200 pound farrier put shoes on a 2000 pound horse if the horse doesn't want shoes? Through domination and control. And that's how horses are made to pull carriages, plow fields, and run races. I honestly don't know what kind of profit is made by dominating carriage horses, but I am sure it's done for profit or it wouldn't be done -- now would it?

...As for the statement you made above about horses not wanting to get shod... This leads me to believe that you may be telling tales. Tell me, how does a horse owner get a 200 lb farrier to frequently and regularly shoe 2000 lb draft horses?? It goes further than just the bi monthly farriers visit... it's roots are with PROPER TRAINING! I cannot stress that enough.... FoA comments: Darci, Which is it? "If a carriage horse does not like his job...HE WON'T DO IT. " Or, "it's roots are with PROPER TRAINING!" The horses are forced by training to do something they don't want to do.


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