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Help Give a Carriage Horse a Valentine: Freedom

February 11, 2011 | Horse Carriages / Take Action / Horses

By Edita Birnkrant and Dustin Garrett Rhodes


Friends of Animals, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, Heart for Animals and New York City activists are holding a demonstration and outreach effort to implore the public to boycott the abusive, dangerous and decidedly unromantic horse-drawn carriage industry on Valentine's Day, February 14th, at 5:30pm. (Central Park South & Fifth Avenue, at the northwest corner of 59th Street.)

We'll be carrying Valentine-themed posters with messages like: "Don't Break Cupid's Heart: Say NO to Carriage Rides" and "Give a Carriage Horse a Valentine: Freedom." We'll also be distributing hundreds of educational flyers.

The horse-drawn carriage trade exploits horses by forcing them to pull carriages in the chaotic, dangerous environment of New York City's midtown streets- where they continually inhale car and bus exhaust. Horses are shackled between the shafts of their carriage, their vision restricted by blinders-often working in extreme weather conditions with inadequate access to water or rest, day after day. Complaints to the City and ASPCA about these conditions go unheeded, despite the ASPCA's police powers.

Eventually, horses are either too ill, injured, or worn out from such a punishing existence that they can no longer turn a profit for their owners-and are promptly shipped to "killer buyer" auctions in Pennsylvania, whereby due to a loophole in the current existing NYC law, they can legally be sold to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico with no record or fanfare.

Friends of Animals, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates intervened in June of 2010 to rescue Bobby, a former carriage horse whose owners had sent him to a killer buyer auction-the last stop before the slaughterhouse. Bobby is now residing at the Equine Advocates Sanctuary; Bobby's happy ending is the exception, not the rule.

Friends of Animals urges the public to support Intro 86A, Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito's bill to replace horse-drawn carriages with eco-friendly antique touring cars-so that every horse is placed in a safe sanctuary once the industry is shut down. New Yorkers should contact their City Council member and kindly ask them to co-sponsor Intro 86A, and non-New Yorkers can write Mayor Bloomberg to voice your support for replacing carriage horses with antique cars.

What better way to express your affection for more than 200 horses exploited daily in New York City's carriage trade than by speaking out on their behalf and pressing for their release? Please join us on Monday.

Posters and flyers will be provided.

Please write Mayor Bloomberg & Christine Quinn:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Fax (212) 312-0700

Speaker Christine C. Quinn
250 Broadway
Suite 1856
New York, New York 10007


Whenever I plan to visit New York I will definitely not take a carriage ride. Those poor horses have a terrible life and should not have to do this degrading type of work. Animals weren't put on this earth to be our slaves. We share this earth with the animals and they should be treated with love and reverence. It breaks my heart and sickens me to see how so mny animals are treated horribly in ths world.

Let the horse have his "well-earned" freedom. Animals are not here for our agenda, they have their own. They have been very patient with humans.

We live in a sad sad world. Things like this will never change unless we get more activists and lobbyists in Congress who will fight for us.

Please stop using these beautiful animals to make a profit. And I agree with Ms. Dorer, for the carriage horses, nothing short of a weekly robust protest will help to ban this ghastly business.

I moved my daughter to NY a few months ago. We were having a great time. We went out to eat, bought things for her first real move,and went to the theater. I was having a great night until i saw a horse pulling a carriage at around 11:00 at night. It just put such a pall on my evening. You can say they are taken care of, I honestly don't know, but it is cruel to make a horse pull a carriage through the streets of a big, noisy, dirt city (all cities are dirty) in all kinds of weather. I know I wouldn't want to do it. What is happening to horses in so many areas of the country is appalling. It is time to let go of the romantic notion of horse drawn carriages and move into an era where they are no longer slaves to pull people around. What happened to the vintage auto idea?

Totally agreeing with vanne hanisch-godoy.

We were protesting horses in traffic when Koch was mayor.He suggested straw hats for the horses in the summer. It seemed like we made some progress when the administration pondered keeping the horses in the park, but then they could not be moved and all we could do was talk to the passengers the drivers picked up. The evil done to animals is never ending. For the carriage horses, nothing short of a weekly robust protest will help to ban this ghastly business.

The conditions under which these noble animals live is horrendous. It is one of the sad realities of life that animals often suffer at the hand of man. May kinder hands prevail.

I no longer live in NYC, but if I did I would be there at the rally for the carraige horses at central Park South. Maybe this will be the year that the buggy rides through Central Park are no longer available. GOOD LUCK

Animals have better things to do than serve us, and be there for our entertainment!


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