Mayor Bill De Blasio has pledged to ban the dangerous, cruel horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City. Friends of Animals is pressing New York City Council members to support and pass a bill that would get the long-suffering horses off the streets and into waiting sanctuaries. Why?
1. It Is an Exploitative Industry
In order to generate a profit and provide short-term entertainment for tourists, the horses are forced to work on hard pavement in dangerous, unhealthful and unnatural conditions, in all manner of extreme weather, confined between carriage shafts and then inadequate warehouse stalls. This is an inherent injustice to horses, who evolved as social (herd) animals, and who are naturally meant to socialize with other animals and run free. An existence as a carriage horse necessarily means one that is psychologically and physically unhealthy for a horse.
Horses are sometimes sent to the "killer buyer" auctions when they can no longer make a profit for their owners. Horse meat is consumed in other countries, and used-up horses are at risk of being trucked from the United States to Canada and Mexico to slaughterhouses when they are no longer deemed valuable to their owners.
2. It is a Public Safety Issue
Blinders cannot erase the relentless stimuli that horses endure on city streets. Horses instinctively bolt when frightened. Horses in chaotic urban environments alongside swerving vehicles, blaring horns, constant noises, and crowds of people is a recipe for disaster and a public safety hazard to people in vehicles, pedestrians and bike-riders. In the past several years, New York City has seen many horrific accidents resulting from horses “spooking” on the street, running out of control in heavy traffic and crashing into cars, taxis, motorcycles and buses.
In the past few years, several horses have died as a result of accidents, and there have been people injured as well, some seriously. More accidents are inevitable, so getting horses off the streets as soon as possible means a safer city for all.
3. Current or Modified Regulations Will Not Solve the Problem.
For decades, horse advocates have fought to improve conditions for the horses, but little has changed, and the regulations that already do exist are inadequately enforced. The time has come to put an end this degrading practice. No amount of regulations or rules can change the fact that the life of a carriage horse entails a lifetime of drudgery.
4. Aren't Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides A Romantic Tradition?
Horse-drawn carriages are a dangerous, unethical tradition that relies on exploitation and one that is completely unnecessary in the 21st century. This is the antithesis of romance.
5. What Will Happen to the Horses When the Proposed Ban is Implemented?
As part of the proposed legislation, all of the horses will be placed in sanctuaries. This is urgent. The current New York City law has not prevented horses from being offered for sale to killer buyer auctions, through which horses are sold for their flesh in order to generate a profit once they are no longer able to pull carriages. In July 2010, Friends of Animals helped facilitate the rescue and transport of a NYC carriage horse named Bobby from one of these slaughter auctions in New Holland, Pennsylvania. Bobby now lives at an equine sanctuary in Chatham, New York. It is impossible to rescue every horse, and this vicious cycle of exploitation and death is happening right now and will continue as long as the horse-drawn carriage industry operates.
What YOU Can Do
1. Boycott the Horse-Drawn Carriage Industry. Support ethical entertainment that does not rely on animal exploitation. Pedicab rides are a wonderful alternative that already exist in NYC to give tours through Central Park.
2. Please let your family and friends know the reasons to avoid horse-drawn carriage rides. You can request copies of this flyer to spread the message.
3. New York City residents should contact their NYC Council Member and urge them to sign on in support and pass a bill that would make NYC more progressive by getting carriage horses off city streets and into sanctuaries where they can live free instead of as prisoners to the carriage horse industry. Remind them that you care about this issue and your vote—and you want this dangerous industry banned from New York City. You can obtain contact information on the City Council at www.council.nyc.gov or by calling 311.
4. Tourists and those that live outside of New York City can call 212-NEW-YORK to leave an official comment in support of banning the carriage horses for Mayor De Blasio and the City Council. Those that live outside of New York City can also help pass legislation in your own area by getting in contact with your local officials to propose legislation be introduced that would get carriage horses off the street.
5. Become a member with us or join our email newsletter to get more information, volunteer, find out about upcoming events, or help the horses by making a donation to Friends of Animals.