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Horse-and-Carriage Cruelty

April 11, 2008 | Horses / Animal Rights / Horse Carriages

The New York Times
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

In "Battling to Retain a Touch of the 19th Century" (Public Lives, April 4), you write of "healthy, happy, citified carriage horses," yet the A.S.P.C.A., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which you call "the agency that polices the horse-and-carriage industry," now seeks to ban the industry from New York City.

Why? Because oversight is obstructed by the industry itself. In December, a stable owner was arrested for attempting to bribe an undercover investigator to ignore violations on licenses and how they were displayed.

Are the horses happy? Consider the audit released in September and covered in The Times. It found horses lacking water, forced to stand in their own waste or endure hot asphalt. And according to Newsweek, New York City has the highest carriage-horse accident rate in the country.

Second, a stable owner, Ian McKeever, claims, "We hold New York City's most important commodity in the palm of our hands: the tourist industry." But horse-drawn vehicles are outlawed in London, Paris, Toronto and Beijing, and those cities draw visitors aplenty.

The coalition seeking a ban, which includes Friends of Animals, wants New York listed among cities that keep only the humane and respectful aspects of centuries past.

Priscilla Feral
President, Friends of Animals
Darien, Conn., April 7, 2008


My husband and I went to Bermuda for our honeymoon. Right when we docked, and as we stepped foot onto Bermuda there was a couple of horse and carriages waiting for the tourists. I have never felt so bad! These horses had open sores all around their faces and they were bleeding in the mouth and drooling blood because of the bite. They were worked over and over all day on a hot and humid day, and it seemed they were even dehydrated. I don't think they got to rest a bit. They would no sooner drop off after an hour tour and the men were looking for more tourists. Of course it's no skin off the fat men that drive the horses, they had food and water! I think it should banned from everywhere!!!

take the horses off the streets, be kind and let them live the life that was intended.

There isn't room for the people or cars and trucks on New York city streets. How can anyone think it would be safe or doable for the horses? I am ashamed to say, I had taken a carriage ride before I was aware of the stress placed upon the horses and cruel conditions of the horses working the streets. Hopefully, people will think twice if they become aware. New York has so many other cruelty-free activities for tourists.

Let's get these horses where they really belong---out of the city and into the country. The noise and traffic alone is so cruel to them--not to mention the lack of grass under their hooves and clean fresh air to breathe. Maybe a horse rescue association can be set up for them once the law is passed to free them. Im all for it--and Im a New Yorker!!!

The claim by the carriage business that they hold the tourist industry in their hands is outlandish. Visitors to NYC come for the theatre, museums and night life to mention but three of the attractions. The carriage industry's statement must therefore be construed to be a simple attempt to hold onto the profits they earn by exploiting horses.

I grew up in NYC, these horses don't get to run in pastures, they don't get to even touch grass. I'm all for working horses, but the responsibility to care for the animals isn't there. It isn't. FoA comments: Horses deserve to be free, but the price of that freedom must not be exploitation by humans -- whether as carriage-horses, racehorses or riding-horses.

Very nicely worded yet strong and to the point. Thanks!

Please think of the horses; it's cruel and inhumane.

I have never taken a ride in a carriage before, but can totally see the stress put on these poor animals. It is soo wrong and something needs to be done about them doing this, its time for them to stop this! Unfortunatly they do it here in Philadelphia also. And I was just done in Nashville, and saw 2 of them down in the city. What can be done about this,..there has got to be someone out there to stop this across the nation.

People need to really do more research before they attack all carriage companies. There are some bad ones out there. There is no doubt about that what so ever, but not all are bad. First of all carriage horses on the east coast should be draft and standard breed horses. They are perfect for pulling a carriage. Also It is important to be informed about the current horse situation in america. There is NO room for these animals. PEOPLE are pushing them off their land. Its gotten to the point where people are being asked to adopt wild horses. There just isn't enough space. Horses are also worth more by the pound then they are for pulling. Now take a carriage company that uses all draft horses like 76 carriage in Philadelphia. They are sitting on a gold mine if they were to sell all of their horses. But they Don't. I've seen pictures of Retired horses out at turnout for this company five years after the horse has been retired. So No not all companies horses are sent off to factories. Also Draft horses were BREED by MEN and WOMAN sooo PEOPLE to pull, thats why they are here on this earth. So the options are let them pull or dwindle away and die off. Yet everyday people want to save a species... Companies like 76 carriage do save horses, there horses have room to run in a yard, are well fed, well groomed, have 24 care, and many of them look forward to their drivers coming to get them in the mornings. Also these horses can pull up to 5 times there body weight, the average draft weighs about 1500-2000 pounds. You do the math. The average Carriage weighs about 900 lbs and can be pulled by a person. Also heres a tid bit, draft horses that were in the wild after escaping from farmers lived to be an average of 9. In captivity working on a farm they can live to be about 25-30. And with proper care pulling a carriage in a city they can live to be 40. LEARN about these creatures and why they pull before you judge everyone who works with them. Thanks


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