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Mayor Bloomberg Challenged to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

June 08, 2012 | Horse Carriages / Press Releases / Horses

After Bloody Columbus Circle Carriage-Horse Smashup

For Immediate Release
June 8, 2012
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, NY Director, Friends of Animals
917.940.2725; EMAIL

Carriage horse Doreen after accident -- photo credit: NYCLASS/Allie Feldman

New York City-Yesterday evening's latest carriage horse smashup at Columbus Circle resulted in the head of a 12-year-old mare named Doreen bashed into an SUV windshield after being sideswiped by it and a motorcycle in a collision in the notoriously gridlocked and chaotic traffic circle near 60th Street and Broadway.

"Forcing horses to pull tourists in flimsy carriages through traffic-jammed streets is insanity-in the past year, several serious accidents have occurred, and a horse has dropped dead on the street-we call on Mayor Bloomberg to stop justifying this grotesque animal abuse and public safety risk and enact a ban on the exploitative horse-drawn carriage industry in NYC," says Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals.

Pending NY State ban legislation mandates each horse be placed in a sanctuary or refuge once the cruelly antiquated industry is banned-ensuring that the horses won't be sent to slaughter which current law shamefully allows.

Pictures from the accident scene show the smashed windshield and the bloodied, terrified horse, which was reported to be limping after she was brought to her feet and led away by the driver of the carriage. Friends of Animals calls on Mayor Bloomberg to stop this insanity and get these exploited and abused horses off the streets immediately, before another horse gets injured or killed, and before a human tragedy occurs.

We also demand a thorough physical examination be performed on the injured horse by an independent veterinarian-not one paid for by the carriage horse industry. Broken-down carriage horses who are unable to pull carriages any longer and make a profit are usually put up for sale at the New Holland, Pennsylvania auctions-notoriously called the "killer buyer" auctions because it's the last stop before the slaughterhouse for many horses. Friends of Animals helped facilitate the rescue of one such horse in 2010-a former NYC carriage horse too old to make a profit for his owners and who was destined for the slaughterhouse before animal advocates intervened to save him and place him in a sanctuary.

It's clearer than ever that New Yorkers and tourists are fed up with the constant occurrences of bloodied, injured and dead horses, the carriage collisions with motorists and the spooked horses running out of control in traffic as a result of the frightening stimuli and dangerous environment they are forced to endure daily, which also puts the public at a continuous and grave risk.

"Mayor Bloomberg has the opportunity to take these horses out of the living hell they endure in this industry, where horses are denied their most basic instincts while enslaved for forced labor-denied the crucial ability to even run free, graze on grass, move about and socialize with other horses-a shameful tradition of animal exploitation that needs to be banished from our streets," says Edita Birnkrant.

"Mayor Bloomberg: Don't wait for a human death to occur before you wake up to the ugly truth," Birnkrant insists. "Further tragedies will happen in your name as long as you enable this dysfunctional, backward, and inherently abusive industry to operate under your power."

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Outlaw and STOP the use of horses for all purposes in NYC. It is animal abuse. What horse (or any animal) would want to reside in or walk the dirty streets of NYC? Its 2012 and a disgrace that this continues. NYC is living in the dark ages on many levels...

So where do you draw the line? Or do you? What makes you people think you have any right to tell people what they can do with their private property? Should a person even be allowed to RIDE a horse? What about service animals? Do you view seeing eyedogs as forced labor? You folks seem to be way more about controlling other people than helping animals? FoA comments: The line is drawn at the exploition of animals. FoA is against it. What side of the line are you on? Carriage horses are exploited solely for economic reasons.

It appears Greg has almost got the point being made - by saying "What makes you people think you have any right to tell people what they can do with their private property" Well, that is the whole point.... no one has a right including humans abusing and forcing animals to work in order to make money. The laws that gave humans that right need to be changed.If carriage owners, circuses etc were not abusing the ANIMALS' rights then there would be no cause for anyone to correct the abusers. The animals are sentient beings - what gives anyone the right to make ANY sentient being their private property?

Sounds like Greg might be an operator of a horse used to pull a carriage, and his livelihood -- exploiting and endangering his horse in crazy New York City traffic -- is now endangered, too. Even if this isn't the case, Greg needs to look more compassionately at this insane practice of forcing horses to mingle directly with cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, etc. What is he so angry about? That FoA is trying to prevent additional horses AND people from being injured in traffic? Horses and gas-powered vehicles are definitely not meant to mix! FoA: After you've gotten legislation passed to end horse-pulled vehicles in NYC, please do the same in Philadelphia and other cities where this terrible practice continues.

As sad as this industry is the alternative will not be much better. So everyone can know my credentials before I start my argumentative statement, I am an experienced person in the horse industry since 8 years of age, I am presently getting my masters in Equine Science, and afterwards my PhD in Equine Science as well, and I save and rehab horses from all walks of life: ex-race horses Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, Ex-NYPD horses, Budweiser Clydesdales, and EVEN ex-NY carriage horses- basically anything I can take on financially I have and will do for the love of these animals. Based off of my experience in the "rescue industry" I can tell all of you that if you outlaw this industry altogether-due to the over-population in the horse rescues today and the poor economy that discourages horse purchasing, most of these horses WILL end up in kill auctions. I have been up close and personal with a lot of these carriage-horse owners(being that I take old or injured horses from their carriage businesses and give them an alternative life)-and to say that they ALL are mistreating their animals is to say that ALL dog owners force their dogs to participate in dog fights. Some of these horses are all these people have and they treat them like gold because an unhealthy horse will not perform properly and business becomes unhealthy as well. They keep up on their farrier, veterinary, and general health bills, and then when the horse is deemed too old, or unfit to drive anymore they turn to me for a humane retirement. Is that the common case? No, not necessarily. However, we must not stereotype this industry because outlawing it altogether will end up in far more horse deaths, and more horses being sold cheap and ending up in far more in-humane circumstances than before. So as much as I disagree with the industry, and am thankful every day that I could grab the horses that I have before it was too late for them...until we can regulate the auctions AND the horse carriage industries, there will be no perfect solution to this problem. FoA comments: Do the math. If you perpetuate an industry that exploits horses and then sends them to slaughter when done with them, far more horses will end up suffering and dying than if you abolish that industry today. And finding sanctuaries for the horses will reduce that number even further with a goal of zero.

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