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Let’s End Carriage Horse Rides in New York City

Thursday, January 2, 2014 - 1:30pm
NYC Carriage Horse

By ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker

On December 30, then-Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio unequivocally reaffirmed his stance against the use of carriage horses in New York City.

“We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape,” he said. “They are not humane, they are not appropriate for the year 2014. It's over. So, just watch us do it.”

As an organization that’s fought for humane treatment of horses since our founding in 1866, we share the mayor’s philosophy that no economic counter-argument stands up to the sheer ridiculousness of this antiquated tradition. New York simply has a higher standard.

So we’re doing our part by joining the mayor’s call, standing with partners like NYCLASS, and counteracting deep troughs of misinformation with expert veterinary and animal relocation expertise. We stand ready to tap into our network of rescue partners to secure potential homes for the horses— facilities and people willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these animals.

Are there legitimate concerns about lost jobs? Absolutely. We share those concerns and encourage new ideas to address them. But using fear over facts to sway this debate is as irresponsible as suggesting strained carriage horses can be compensated with “vacation time.”

This is a conversation the city needs to have. But it needs to be placed in a context of hard truth, not hyperbolic bias. New Yorkers deserve that. And so do the animals with whom we share the city.

We applaud efforts clearly in motion to take these horses off city streets, pushing both them and New York itself into a more civilized future that need not be feared.

Comments

Comments

Shannon

Who gave us this purpose? God (if, indeed, there is one)? Would this be a Christian god? Old or New Testament? How primitive of you. I didn't know God said, "Let there be horse carriages in Central Park." Which version of the Bible do you read? As a member of NYClass for many years, I know that there are many wealthy and loving families who are lined up to adopt these horses as soon as they are freed from modern day slavery. If indeed there is a higher power, this power doesn't decide that an animal's purpose is to suffer and service a bunch of ignorant tourists. Did God also say that an animal's purpose is to wind up on our plates? I'd love to hear your thoughts about slaughter houses. Actually, I wouldn't at all.

Esther

God specified which animals could be eaten, horses were not one of them.

fran c

Mary C? They were "given to us"? What? THIS is the kind of comment that really scares me...

Wendy M

Mary, Check the statistics on how many horses have been injured/killed due to auto accidents, heat exhaustion... Have you worked with horses? I have - the last thing I would want would be riding in a carriage and have a horse spook. The abuse they suffer isn't only from unfeeling owners (I believe some might care for their horses) but from the environment - traffic including emergency vehicles, some living in old tenement buildings including upper floors! Never having time outside unless working..

wendy

You're generalizing. I've driven carriage horses. The spent most of the time in a corral. If they'd just been washed and the boss didn't want them getting dirty, or it was exceptionally cold, they were put inside. Far as I know, the building ALWAYS had stalls on the lower level; it dated back to pre-automobile days when cities were just as crowded as they are now, but had piles of horse apples all over the place, too.

jean

they shoudl work but the workingi conditions in nyc are abysmal for anything living. breathing in the car pollution, almost being run over by the cars, what a horrible place to be on the roads for so many hours a day. the drivers will kill you as well as look at you. this is no place for a horse. its a mechanized city.

Phyllis P.

Yes, Mary c. Some animals were meant to work. But as with any work, there needs to be a limit to how much should be expected of any animal, just as is the case with people. We don't expect humans to do heavy labor without putting limits on time and weight. The same must be considered when it comes to animals. Unfortunately, too may people feel the way you do. That's why it needs to be completely stopped.

DENISE K

HORSES ARE BEING ABUSED HERE MARY, DON'T YOU GET THAT? THEY ARE DYING IN THE STREETS, FREEZING IN THE STREETS, BEING POISONED IN THE STREETS, ABUSED!!!!! DON'T KNOW THE MEANING OF ABUSED MARY? LOOK IT UP

Edith

With no disrespect but who elected you as Judge and Jury to determine how Horses should live their lives when you can't control your Dogs diet

Robert

I agree with Mary. I read through the article and haven't seen the "abuse" explained. Is abuse puling a wagon that even a human can pull. Get real I love to see horses and other animals in NY. Good lord are we to condemn recreational riding in NY? Central park without animals is no park. Of course we should not feed them sugared drinks or make them inhale second hand smoke.......let's do that instead. Horses are wonderful animals so let's keep them.

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