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An Animal Rights-Protection-Abolitionist Organization

I've always thought of horse-drawn carriages the way I think about greyhound racing or fur: Most people are against them, so why are they still around? Greyhound racing is dying, for sure, but not because people are necessarily against it. It's dying because of low attendance at a venue that's relatively expensive to maintain. Massachusetts is probably an exception, as voters banned racing while tracks were still in operation, so that's a message about how they feel about dog racing that turned into a ban.

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages calls itself "an animal rights-protection-abolitionist organization," which I find interesting. I'm sure a lot went into that and I wonder why it is defined that way. Perhaps because it might appeal to almost everyone? What do you think about the description? Regardless, they are joining Friends of Animals and Hearts for Animals on

Saturday December 5

at Central Park South (N/W corner) @5th Avenue, to

"observe the international day of recognition for carriage and cart horses by bringing attention to the conditions under which the NYC carriage horses live and work."

(Horses Without Carriages International does a great job of explaining and showing the injustices of the horse-drawn carriage industry around the world.)

The Coalition seeks a ban–not a phase out–and not the regulation of horse-drawn carriages in NYC (the proposed phase out would be over a three-year period during which "'green' replica classic cars" would be introduced). It wants a complete ban prior to the introduction of any other replacement business. An outright ban better for the horses because it wouldn't be at all influenced by or contingent upon the success of a new business.

"The well being of the horses should be the ideal of every organization whose mandate is to put animal protection ideals first – especially when they ask for donations based on that mandate. It is a conflict of interest for animal protection organizations to advocate for the drivers' jobs at the expense of the horses and they lose their moral authority by confusing those priorities.

. . .

We call upon the organizations that developed this proposal to go back to the drawing board and separate the two concepts – carriage horse ban — and — vintage cars. Figure out a way to provide assistance to the drivers in the way of jobs or money if that is your calling, while all of us work to see that Intro 658A – a true animal protection bill – gets passed. But do not allow the ban of the carriage horses to be dependent on a new business that may or may not be successful. It is too risky to sacrifice the horses this way and would be doing them a grave injustice."

Intro 658A will be reintroduced next year. Let's make 2010 the year carriage horses are emancipated in NYC!

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. You are clueless.

    Most normal, right-minded people are NOT against horse-drawn carriages. Our customer base is constant and unwavering, despite the attempts by humaniacs to dissuade them.

    The welfare of the horses is what the decent-minded, casual observer is truly interested in, and for good reason. The horse-drawn carriages are a New York City icon; they are ambassadors to our visitors, and the horses themselves are working animals that are entitled to proper care and good handling.

    Fortunately, our record reflects exactly that. Our horses lead exceedingly reasonable and content lives. They each receive a superior, formulated diet, occupy roomy box stalls, receive vet & farrier care, and are groomed and bathed regularly. This amounts to food, shelter, and medical care – which many CHILDREN in this city do not have.
    Beyond these basics, they are loved by their owners/drivers; they receive affection, treats, and human interaction everyday.
    Every stable has a sprinkler system in case of fire, and every stable has 24/7 stablemen. We are overseen by 5 city agencies, and not one WEEK goes by (and sometimes, day) that our horses are not checked by the ASPCA or the Dept of Health. (Let’s see Child Protective Services match that record)
    The horses receive rotation turnout several times a year on farms in both Upstate NY and PA.

    When the time comes, we retire them to loving, forever homes; some of the owners retire them themselves on privately owned land. I personally have retired 3 horses, one of which is still living the life of Riley after being retired 6 years ago in South Jersey at a bank president’s home.
    Unfortunately for us and our horses here in NYC, we are one of the humaniacs’ primo targets, as we fit the bill perfectly: a small, high-profile industry with very limited resources. You can see what an excellent opportunity our industry not only for misguided people, but for targeted fundraising by large AR groups like PETA.

    Many of the AR people would rather see a horse dead than have a job. To them, a carriage horse doing what it was bred to do, and living a comfortable, content existence alongside his driver, is no different from Michael Vick and a pile of mutilated fighting dogs or undercover horror videos revealing grotesque cruelties at factory farms.

    Indeed, humaniacs have made public statements comparing the carriage horse trade to the enslavement of people of African descent, and the Holocaust of the Jewish people during WWII.

    Can any of you imagine what it is like for someone like me – a lifelong horse person, dedicated to my horses in every way – to be maligned and vilified like this? Even if you are only a pet owner – imagine someone constantly lying and distorting how you treat your pet, and then going public with it.

    There are no horse-torturing monsters in our business, no matter what any of them say.

    And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not entitled to their own facts.

    Our safety record is STELLAR – 68 carriages operating approx 300 days a year /25 years = over 2 MILLION trips in traffic back and forth to the stables. (this does not even include all of the actual rides done!)

    We have had THREE equine fatalities due to traffic accidents in those 25 years.

    NO equine pursuit can claim a similar ratio (500 horses died onracetracks just since the Kentucky Derby last year – hell, 100 HUMANS were hit by cars and killed in 2008 in NYC alone)

    While each of the three horse deaths was a tragedy (I knew each one – Chester ‘85, Tony ‘90, and Spotty ‘07), there is nothing in life with no risk, & certainly not in human/horse activities. Many, many more horses are injured or killed in eventing, jumping, racing, polo, etc. The humaniacs would eradicate all horses in order to eradicate all risk – something I do believe they could live with, & indeed, it’s something that many of them actively seek. They drag out the same ghoulish pics from these accidents on every website & at every demonstration, sometimes even using pictures of dead or injured horses from other parts of the country and saying they were in NYC!

    Anybody hell-bent on putting carriages out of business should hop on down to the auction & buy a slaughter-bound horse and care for it for the rest of its natural life. That would actually be doing something to help the horses, not hurt them.

    The epidemic of abandoned horses across the country is due to what is being called a “perfect storm” of a slow economy, highfeed prices, &recent national outlawing of slaughterhouses. This is a mammoth crisis – 1000s of horses being left to waste away in fields &paddocks, or surrendered to over-crowded rescues. Closing down a business where horses lead content & exceedingly reasonable existences will only ADD to this problem.

    A well-loved, cared-for horse with a job is a lucky horse.

    Get off your imperious, self-satisfied, smug and ill-informed high horse.

    December 1, 2009
  2. Mary #


    May I make a suggestion?
    When you troll around and reach your intended target and begin your comment with calling me clueless, not normal and not right-minded, I don't take you seriously and I have a difficult time respecting whatever you have to say. And I don't know what a "humaniac" is but I'm pretty sure it's another insult. Again, not making me want to take you or your ideas seriously. And the final sentence of course isn't kind or well-informed and it also makes you look bad.

    Please note that I have the same problem with animal rights activists–not just with people who don't know me, yet don't like me because they disagree with me.

    Here's the issue for someone who is interested in animal rights: We don't have the right to force any sentient nonhuman to work for us (or for their room and board or however you want to describe it). Obviously, carriage horse accidents are horrible. But they are not the point. The point is that we need to stop enslaving and profiting off of other animals.

    December 1, 2009
  3. John #


    Horse with a job?? So if they're not "working" for you can they apply for unemployment?

    So I guess you yourself were bred to work in the horse drawn carriages occupation? Suggesting a sentient being was bred to do a particular activity is nonsense. It's what you WANT them to do!

    And who gives a damn how long it's been going on. That's why we have something called evolution. To bring about change for the betterment of society and all living beings.

    We will never stop until this animal exploitation business is shut down. Time for you to find something else that your parents bred you for.

    By the way…are you one of those "normal people" (speciesist) who care so much for one animal as you're carving into a different one for dinner?

    December 2, 2009
  4. Horses with "jobs" is similar to the idea of cattle "performing" well. They are just terms used to validate their enslavement. It's stealing their purpose, for our benefit.

    If we can't yet have it a crime to butcher animals… can we at least have it a crime to butcher the English language?

    December 5, 2009

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