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Queens Chronicle

The Cruelty of carriages

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

I am writing to point out that the Queens Chronicle grossly misrepresented the view of most New Yorkers when you published a slanted opinion piece that claims the carriage horse industry in Central Park is somehow “humane.” (“Meet the Central Park carriage drivers,” June 19, multiple editions). Nothing could be further from the truth, as this industry is cruel to both horses and potentially humans.

While the writer mentioned that draft horses are in fact capable of pulling large loads of cargo for a great distance, the writer failed to mention that these carriage horses are asked to do this in unbearable conditions here in New York. Cars, buses, taxis, trucks, pedestrians, emergency vehicles and many other obstacles face them every day and at every step of their journey. A potential accident awaits the horses and the citizens at any given moment.

Some call this “romantic.” Is seeing a beautiful horse lying on the street dead after a collision with a vehicle romantic? I don’t think so, and I believe any person with half a heart agrees. God forbid that one of these horses should ever collide with a human head-on; the human will most likely lose the battle versus a 1,100-pound creature. Is that romantic?

These carriage horses are surrounded by a city so feisty and chaotic that many, many people I know can’t stand being here, and they can choose to go elsewhere if the city overwhelms them. These horses have no say in what they get to do. Almost every single New Yorker I know agrees that this archaic practice must end, full stop.

Your piece that attempted to put a positive spin on this brutal industry will only serve to energize the opponents of this abuse and end something that should have ended decades ago. Maybe I should be thanking you for your short-sightedness in this biased article.

Michael A. Riley
Manhattan
The writer is a former resident of Briarwood and Elmhurst.
Editor’s note: The prior week’s paper had an article on activists’ efforts to end the carriage rides, “NYCLASS wants city to pasture horses.” It can be found at qchron.com.

Welcome to the discussion.

15 comments:

  • gypsyrose posted at 10:34 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    gypsyrose Posts: 5

    Attheprecipice: It's easy to see you hate humanity. You believe all animal interaction is intrinsically wrong. The problem is yours, not ours. You spew off a list of atrocities, then equate that to being a carriage horse. Apples and oranges.

    You're wrong about not knowing what nature intended. It is glaringly obvious that prey animals reproduce at a higher rate than predators. It has to be that way in order for both species to survive. Are you one of those people that tries to make a vegetarian out of a cat? That's a good way to kill the cat. And, has it occurred to you that as a vegan/vegetarian, you are using land that could be growing animal food instead? If we all did it your way, there would be no other animals, because we would be directly competing for the same food sources.

    You seem to ignore that humans are also part of the natural world. Precisely because we lack great strength and speed, we evolved to survive by other means. We didn't just pop in from another planet.
    Is it demeaning to humans to water, feed and administer veterinary care to animals that would otherwise die a slow painful death? You must stop looking at only one part of humanity and ascribing what they do to everyone.

    I repeat that your goal is unrealistic. I see nothing from you explaining how to achieve this paradise on Earth.

    You also have an unreasonable expectation that money should never be involved with animals. Would a barter system suit you better? Somehow, feed and shelter must be obtained. Why shouldn't a horse work to earn its keep? It's a mutually beneficial arrangement.

    I wouldn't call myself a speciesist. I like my horses much better than I like you, and if I had to choose to save only one of you - it would be my horse.

     
  • attheprecipice posted at 5:45 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    attheprecipice Posts: 3

    “I see you believe yourself to be more evolved than the average human” YOU ARE INCORRECT. I DO NOT THINK IN THOSE TERMS. AND THAT IS A PRESUMPTUOUS,TIRED, UNIMAGINATIVE, AND TYPICAL REACTION BY SOMEONE WHO IS DEFENSIVE AT BEING CHALLENGED TO QUESTION HUMAN CONTROL ISSUES, THE STATUS QUO AND MAKING MONEY OFF PIMPING ANIMALS. HAVE YOU SEEN THE PICTURES OF THE RHINOCEROS WITH ITS FACE MUTILATED WHILE ALIVE FOR HIS HORNS? DO YOU KNOW THERE ARE ANIMAL BROTHELS FOR SEXUAL DEVIANTS? HAVE YOU SEEN THE PICTURE OF THE DOG WITH HER LEGS BOUND AND ABOUT TO BE RAPED? THE ORANGUTANG TOO? DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE TEENAGER THAT MICROWAVED A KITTEN? I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO SEE A HORSE BEING KICKED INTO SUBMISSION BY A TRAINER, BUT I SAW IT. ARE YOU FULLY COGNIZANT OF WHAT GOES ON FROM HUMAN TO ANIMAL? IF SO I CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW ANYONE CAN POSSIBLY TAKE THE POSITION THAT YOU DO. NAIIVE AND MYOPIC. OPEN YOUR EYES. HAVE YOU SEEN “EARTHLINGS”? DO YOU THINK “HUMANE FARMS” ARE ANY DIFFERENT? AND IF ONE IS MORE EVOLVED BECAUSE ONE SEES ALL THE CONNECTIONS AND CARES SO MUCH AND IS ANGRY ABOUT IT AND IS SHOUTING FROM THE MOUNTAINTOPS FOR HUMANS TO STOP THEIR HEARTLESS, MEDDLING BEHAVIOR FOR THE SAKE OF THE ANIMALS AND BEFORE WE IMPLODE ON OURSELVES, THEN SO BE IT.

    “but there is a flaw in your thinking. Animals used as food reproduce at a much higher rate than predators. Nature intended it this way.” THERE YA GO PRESUMING TO KNOW WHAT NATURE INTENDED AND CONCOCTING THAT ANIMALS EVOLVED HERE FOR US TO HAVE OUR WAY WITH THEM. ANIMALS DON’T SEE THEMSELVES AS FOOD, ANY MORE THAN IF ALIENS LANDED ON EARTH AND SAW HUMANS AS FOOD. THEY VALUE THEIR LIVES AS WE DO OUR OWN. THEY ARE NOT INTRINSICALLY “FOOD” ANY MORE THAN A HORSE WANTS A BLINDER, A STRADDLE AND CARRIAGE HITCHED TO HIM/HER. WE ARE ALSO NOT ANATOMICALLY CARNIVORES OR HAVE THE SPEED OR STRENGTH TO BE PREDATORS WITHOUT THE INVENTION OF WEAPONS.

    “Even if there were no humans, all those lovely animals would still face the risk of being eaten, or starving, or dying of thirst, or suffering a fatal accident.” BUT BY INTERFERING IN THEIR WORLD AND PLAYING GOD THE WAY THAT WE DO WE DEMEAN OURSELVES.

    “By domesticating amenable species, we have ensured they will survive as a species, and that the individuals have a much lower risk of a painful death.” SO YOU’RE SAYING IT’S REASONABLE THAT WE CREATE LIFE AND THEN DESTROY IT – AND AT THE SAME TIME WE’RE NOBLY PRESERVING THESE SPECIES?

    “You talk about sending all animals to sanctuaries where they can be their true selves. That is an unrealistic goal - please come back to the real world.” IT’S NOT AN UNREALISTIC GOAL, IF ONLY HUMANS WOULD FACE THE GHASTLY TRUTH OF WHAT ANIMAL USE ENTAILS AND THE SLIPPERY SLOPE THAT IT IS, BECAUSE HUMANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED!

    “You also think that humans look at animals as lesser beings that we can "use". Maybe some do, but most horsemen and ranchers look at their animals as partners and/or with respect.” AND MAKING MONEY OFF OF THESE ANIMALS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING, RIGHT?

    “You want to end carriage rides before another horse, or human, gets hurt. Statistically speaking, that is a minuscule problem compared to all the other ways horses and people can get hurt. Why do you focus on this instead of larger problems?” BUT I AM FOCUSING ON THE LARGER PROBLEM, OF WHICH HORSE USE IS JUST BUT ONE EXAMPLE IN A SPECTRUM WHICH LEADS TO UNSPEAKABLE SUFFERING THAT NOT EVEN A DEATH IN THE WILD CAN MATCH.

    “Why do you want more people out of work and more horses at risk of slaughter just to satisfy your sensibilities? THE HUMAN SLAVE TRADE WAS AND STILL IS JUSTIFIED FOR SIMILAR REASONS. THE DRIVERS ARE BEING OFFERED ALTERNATE EMPLOYMENT WHICH DOES NOT INVOLVE THE INSIPID PROSTITUTING OUT OF ANIMALS. WHAT'S THE REAL PROBLEM HERE? THE END TO UNREPORTED INCOME AND OVERCHARGING? AND FURTHERMORE STOP SPEWING THE LIE THAT THE HORSES WILL GO TO SLAUGHTER. THAT WILL HAPPEN ONLY IF THE OWNERS SEND THEM … TELL ME, SINCE YOU KNOW SO MUCH, WOULD THEY REALLY? AND IT IS DESPICABLE THAT THE PUBLIC IS BEING SCARED WITH THIS THREAT. THERE ARE SANCTUARIES WAITING WITH OPEN ARMS FOR THESE HORSES AND THAT IS THE TRUTH.

    “Please take your holier than thou attitude” I’M NOT THE ONE WHO DOESN’T SEE EXPLOITATION AND MURDER FOR WHAT IT IS and put it to good use working at or donating to a local animal rescue. I ACTUALLY DO AND MOST OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE JUST LIKE YOU … CORPSE-MUNCHING, DENSE, PART OF THE PROBLEM, -- NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION. TOTALLY SPECIESIST, MORALLY SCHIZOPHRENIC AND ENGAGED IN INSTITUTIONAL INSANITY.

    “Stay away from PETA, HSUS, and NYCLASS who have an agenda that doesn't really help the animals they claim to love. For them, it is about using pitiful pictures to separate you from your money.” USING!!!!! GIVING ME A BREAK. NO THANK YOU, I’M ON THE SIDE OF A GROWING REVOLUTIONARY PARADIGM SHIFT FOR PEACE, LOVE AND NON-VIOLENCE. NOT JUST LIP-SERVICE ON YOUR RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS OR TEE-SHIRTS. I PRAY THAT YOU ARE THE OLD ORDER, AND ON ITS WAY OUT.

     
  • Nick Bacon posted at 4:22 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    Nick Bacon Posts: 2

    Mr Riley - I have been involved with horses for almost as long as you. Unlike you, it seems, I remember much of what I have learned from these noble creatures over the years.

    From that which you say, I can only assume that you, like the Mayor, several councilors and the paid rent-a-mob protestors recently seen dragging their children and pets onto Grand Army Plaza long after the carriage drivers had voluntarily taken their horses home yesterday have been bought off by the property developer funded NYCLASS.

    I note with interest that you don't mention the casualty rate at Belmont race track, nor do you mention the horses and dogs involved in law enforcement, who were on the streets - again - long after the carriages went home; no order was issued ny NYPD, the teamsters who know their animals and know the rules voluntarily went home without having to be told to.. Of course, those other animals aren't sitting on real estate coveted by the developers behind NYCLASS.

    Allow me to expand on your argument. Dogs are, by nature, hunting pack animals. Are you saying that it is, therefore, abuse to keep them on their own in small apartments?

    Horses are as adaptable to their environment as we humans. They belong in Central Park just as much as you, me and every pet dog there.

    Pocket your 30 pieces of NYCLASS silver, sir, and begone. Those elected representatives who also accepted NYCLASS electoral bribes can also expect to soon be debarred from the debate, as it is obvious that their votes have been bought.

    The wraith of Boss Tweed once again haunts City Hall.

     
  • gypsyrose posted at 3:51 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    gypsyrose Posts: 5

    Attheprecipice: If the carriage industry is phased out, there is a support staff that takes care of the horses that also lose their jobs. In any case, deliberately destroying jobs because you don't like them is reprehensible.
    I've seen video of how people like you harass the drivers. If you did that to me, I'd have a few choice words for you also.
    If the real estate theory is false, then why not go after the police horses also? They work in tougher conditions than the carriage horses. Don't give me the nonsense about police horses are necessary. Either working in NYC is inhumane or it isn't.

    Blondie had a condition known as thrush. It is most common in inactive horses, so one wouldn't expect to find it in a working horse. It is the equine equivalent of athlete's foot.
    http://www.thehorse.com/articles/19499/thrush-diagnosis-and-treatment

    Spartacus' carriage wheel got tangled which caused him to trip and fall. The carriage drivers acted knowledgeably to assist him and he wasn't hurt. Even the Budweiser Clydesdales can have an accident.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApbrF7JnAYc

    Whatever the truth about Caesar happens to be, this is a case that shows the current regulations are effective. If the driver is found to have violated the regulations, he will be punished.

    So, because of two drivers who haven't been convicted of anything yet, you want to put all those other people and horses out of work.
    BTW, carriage horses don't "carry" passengers. They pull them. Big difference. If you can't even use correct terminology, what makes you authority enough to decide what's in their best interest?

     
  • gypsyrose posted at 3:13 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    gypsyrose Posts: 5

    Michael Riley: If you know as much about horses as you claim to, then why would you support a ban that will inevitably lead to more horses going to slaughter? You should know how expensive draft horses are compared to a saddle horse. What are the odds that their owners will be able to afford them if they can't earn their own keep? And, how do you know the horses don't want to be there, when equine veterinarians and other knowledgeable horsemen, all testify that the horses appear well adjusted and content?
    Maybe you've forgotten too much.

     
  • gypsyrose posted at 3:07 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    gypsyrose Posts: 5

    Attheprecipice: I see you believe yourself to be more evolved than the average human, but there is a flaw in your thinking. Animals used as food reproduce at a much higher rate than predators. Nature intended it this way. Even if there were no humans, all those lovely animals would still face the risk of being eaten, or starving, or dying of thirst, or suffering a fatal accident. By domesticating amenable species, we have ensured they will survive as a species, and that the individuals have a much lower risk of a painful death. You talk about sending all animals to sanctuaries where they can be their true selves. That is an unrealistic goal - please come back to the real world. You also think that humans look at animals as lesser beings that we can "use". Maybe some do, but most horsemen and ranchers look at their animals as partners and/or with respect.
    You want to end carriage rides before another horse, or human, gets hurt. Statistically speaking, that is a minuscule problem compared to all the other ways horses and people can get hurt. Why do you focus on this instead of larger problems? Why do you want more people out of work and more horses at risk of slaughter just to satisfy your sensibilities? Please take your holier than thou attitude and put it to good use working at or donating to a local animal rescue. Stay away from PETA, HSUS, and NYCLASS who have an agenda that doesn't really help the animals they claim to love. For them, it is about using pitiful pictures to separate you from your money.

     
  • attheprecipice posted at 1:45 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    attheprecipice Posts: 3

    There are a few inaccuracies in the original article here that need to be pointed out.

    The reporter states "thousands are going to lose their jobs" if the horse carriage industry is phased out. If she is referring to the number of drivers, it’s 160.

    They also interview Paul McDaid and paint him as a friendly guy, while in reality he is a terrible example of our city's tourism industry. In 2012 he was caught on tape at Central Park South calling people "dyke" and "n-word" during pride week http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1680520/. There are also several other disturbing examples of vile mentality and conduct on the part of drivers on youtube such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cY0m9g_3ImU.and this one:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHF-ntP1bM8.

    The real estate conspiracy theory is a flat out lie. The mayor has been supportive of banning horse carriages and replacing with Horseless Carriages for over 5 years since 2009 and should be applauded for his compassion. Here is a link to an op-ed he wrote in 2009 as public advocate urging the retirement of the horses:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-de-blasio/humane-alternatives-for-h_b_821291.html

    The reporter also fails to mention the recent accident and abuse charges involving horses names Blondie, Spartacus and Ceasar.

    I have personally witnessed a limping carriage horse carrying passengers in Central Park.

     
  • attheprecipice posted at 12:53 pm on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    attheprecipice Posts: 3

    I so wish my species would get the big picture. I have previously written a letter to the editor here on this topic: http://www.qchron.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/save-horses-go-vegan/article_29601a13-e2aa-5749-9c2a-3b7eae54642f.html.

    How about these ideas from some of the great writers/thinkers of our time: "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men"; “In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought” and "We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves, and therein we err, and greatly err, for the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time.”

    As I observe those who seek to preserve the current paradigm of animal use being natural, normal, and necessary, these are my thoughts -- At best you have been acculturated to think fascistically about animals and have not been progressively educated to think or care very deeply about their sentience, their emotional complexities, or to honor their genuine nature as beings in their own right apart from human interference . Sadly and at worst, I think it is just plain human nature to be anthropocentric and controlling. Arrogant. Mercenary -- money seems to drive ethics in just about everything most people do. It seems to me a very self-serving and conveniently selfish belief that non-human animals are inferior to humans and were put here for us to commodify and use. Tradition, and attachment to the idea of tradition -- tradition is fine and I have no problem with anyone believing whatever you want to believe -- as long as no person -- human or non-human is compromised. Horses and all animals are elegant divine beings who once lived free on their own terms but are now at the mercy, or more often than not, mercilessness of humans.

    I say Let The Horses Go to loving sanctuaries where they are free to be their true selves. Teach your children that loving and respecting animals does not mean manipulating and controlling them. Let all the animals be free to the best extent possible in this mess we have created with domestication and use.

    I also think "myopic" and "stupid". Those of you who favor keeping the carriage horse industry obviously do not really really care about the broken, injured, disappearing or dead horses, but surely since you are so humanocentric can’t you see that it’s only a matter of time before a human gets really hurt? And what will you say then? Why not be proactive and put an end to this thing before a human gets hurt (since you are all so focused on humans)?

    And watch for the coming mayhem -- global warming, water shortages and water poisoning are going to take us all down. Animal use as in meat dairy and egg agriculture is vastly responsible for that. So it's not just about the horses. It's about a paradigm that is now antiquated and maladaptive. It has to change. We can’t keep doing things the same way. Open your eyes and your hearts people, please. Raise the bar up high high high for what it means to be human. Evolve. We can do this. Barring dire circumstances of survival, we do not need to use animals anymore. It is a sin what we do to animals -- of karmic proportion.

    Please. Stop breeding, eating, wearing, experimenting on, imprisoning, killing the spirits and bodies of animals. Otherwise, you're going to take yourselves, your children, and me and my children down with you. And I resent that.

     
  • Topher65 posted at 1:45 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    Topher65 Posts: 1

    Funny. Based upon just five paragraphs, I'm willing to bet that Michael Riley has forgotten more about horses, and certainly the humane and respectable treatment of animals and humans alike, than most who have thus far commented will ever know. He acknowledges that draft horses are workers, does not refute that they love to work, but raises the salient point that these horses are forced to work in the surreal, unnatural and inappropriate environment of one of the largest and, arguably, most modern and mechanized of "first world" cities. His concern is based upon what HAS happened, repeatedly, but also on what will surely continue to happen, on an ever-escalating basis, as the city's population grows and it's streets become more congested with automobile, pedestrian and equine traffic. Google it. These horses are killed/injured/traumatized on a regular basis (based upon what's reported). Never does Mr. Riley make any claim that carriage drivers mistreat these animals, or that driver/horse "connections" don't exist, or even that conditions at stables are unacceptable. He is simply saying that it is inhumane to subject them to the unnecessary hazards they face daily in this nation's largest city, so that PEOPLE can continue to line their pockets. It is ludicrous, inane and ignorant to claim that horses "certainly do 'choose' to live in the city". Further, this isn't about the ability to choose to live and work in NY, it is about the absolute inability to choose not to. Humans can make that choice, horses cannot - to make a counter claim is stupid. This quaint cottage industry's run has lasted long enough. It's time for human beings to be real, caring human beings, quit with the redundant and completely transparent rationalizations, and put something bigger than their own self-interest on the line for a change.

     
  • Michael A Riley posted at 1:33 am on Wed, Jul 9, 2014.

    Michael A Riley Posts: 1

    Actually gypsyrose, I have spent much of my life around horses. That would be 47 years, if you are counting. I know these noble animals love to work hard, run fast and make us all happy. I also know that Manhattan is an overwhelming place to work. Trust me gypsyrose, the horses don't want to be here. P.S. I will take that bet as I have forgotten more about horses than you will ever know.

     
  • gypsyrose posted at 11:12 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    gypsyrose Posts: 5

    Michael Riley is a resident of Manhattan. I'm willing to bet his horse knowledge is infinitesimal.
    His concern seems to be based on what could happen. If we all led our lives based on that, none of us would never set foot outdoors (or in our bathroom). No doubt about it - life is risky, but no matter how careful you are, we all die anyway. Might as well go outside and enjoy it while minimizing foreseeable risks. The risk of a serious traffic accident with a carriage horse is minimal when you look at their track record. Certainly less risky than being a pedestrian or cyclist in NYC.
    The horses certainly do "choose" to live in the city. If they couldn't abide the noise and traffic, they wouldn't be able to do their jobs at all. They have non-verbal methods of communication that true horsemen can understand.
    Mr Riley also seems concerned about the "brutality" and "cruelty" of the carriage industry. As a horsewoman for 38 yrs, I can tell him that he has no idea what real cruelty is, and I resent his abuse of the word. If Mr Riley truly wanted to help horses, he would put his money where his mouth is and make a nice donation to a horse rescue that saves truly needy horses. There are a lot of them out there that need help with their feed bills.

     
  • theenglishrider posted at 4:50 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    theenglishrider Posts: 1

    The basis of this opinion against the carriage horses is that there might be an accident sometimes. Well, yes, that is true just as it is true for any given activity, right down to walking down the street or stepping into the shower. The fact is that the NYC carriage trade has an exemplary safety record and should be applauded.

    Remember reading about the country mouse and the city mouse when you were a child? Some people thrive on the excitement of the city and find country life boring, while others are the complete opposite. Horses are no different. One would be greatly underestimating horses in painting them with one broad brush. Some love to swim while others don't even want to walk through a puddle. Some are easily startled while others are dead calm. There are all sorts of personalities among horses. If a horse were not suited to city life, he wouldn't do a.very good job as a carriage horse. It is obvious that these horses love their lives and are pampered.

    I am a lifelong horsewoman who rescued my first horse over 40 years ago and have not stopped since. I have former PMU mares from Canada. I have horses that were abandoned in boarding barns. I have a horse I bought at a kill auction. If there were any hint of abuse I would be all over it. But I have research the issue thoroughly and those horses are well fed, healthy, happy, and pampered.

     
  • heymarsh posted at 4:42 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    heymarsh Posts: 1

    my goodness, all the drama......the horses seem just fine - well-trained, calm, and selected for their suitability for the job they are doing. Have you visited the stables - I have, it felt great. Have you visited with the horses - I have. The driver-horse connections are a delight to witness. There really isn't anything to worry about here.

     
  • MinisMom posted at 1:44 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    MinisMom Posts: 1

    When deciding whether an equine activity is "cruel" you have to look at whether the writer is accurately portraying the horses' conditions and whether the horses would be better off somewhere else. There are those who see a horse in a city and automatically assume it must be abusive, but this is an opinion only, and doesn't consider whether a horse is healthy, fit, and comfortable in its surroundings. First, the horses are not constantly in traffic. 90% of their rides are within the park where there is no traffic. They are in traffic on the short commute to and from the park and at the hack stand. Second, there has been a very low incidence of horse mortality, three horses in the past 30 years. If you had a population of the same number of wild horses, or even horses doing other equine activities, I am very willing to bet the mortality rate would be much higher!! And the deaths are primarily due to automobile error, not the horses themselves. Should we ban pedestrians from the streets because cars hit them? Horses are very well used to the city cacophony, so incidents of spooking are very low, so low, in fact, that carriage rides are one of the safest outdoor activities you can do in New York.

    The horses have 144 pages of regulations to ensure their safety and well being, they are overseen by five agencies, they are constantly in the public eye, the stables are open to the public, plus, their footsteps are followed by a hoard of activists. If there were systemic abuse, it would have been uncovered by now. Yet virtually every equine professional and vet who has examined the horses has pronounced them healthy, fit and content, and there has only been one arrest for abuse in the entire history of the industry for the equine equivalent of athlete's foot!

    Many of the carriage horses are rescues, pulled out of auctions or kill pens. Consider where they would be if they were not doing the job they have now, many of them would be dead. Animal rights groups insist they should be given to homes, yet fail to identify where these homes are. (Not that they would have any say since the horses are private property.) The equine rescue network is overburdened and underfunded, and do not have not legal mandates or oversight for care. There is nowhere that these horse can go where they will be GUARANTEED the care they are currently receiving.

    Horses have been in cities since cities were invented. They are adaptable creatures and can well adjust to city living. The worst abuse these horses are subject to are the screaming, sign waving activists who harass and torment horses, drivers, and customers. Perhaps we could ban them?

     
  • Nick Bacon posted at 12:11 pm on Sun, Jul 6, 2014.

    Nick Bacon Posts: 2

    Full disclosure out of the way first.

    I am not a carriage driver and have absolutely no commercial interest in the carriage industry.

    I am, however, someone who has been around horses for over 30 years, and like any concerned person I was disturbed to hear rumors of abuse.

    Unlike the Mayor and every other protester that I have come across, I actually took the trouble to visit the stables and walk the hack line to establish the facts for myself.

    I can say quite categorically that I found absolutely no evidence of any ill-treatment. The carriage horses are amongst the most stringently regulated of any horses in the country. They live in clean, roomy, climate controlled stalls and their working hours and conditions are overseen by several city agencies, which can and do make spot inspections.

    Horses are domesticated animals, and have been purpose bred for thousands of years to do the job that they do. They spend a small proportion of their work day actually in traffic - unlike the NYPD horses who spend all their time among vehicles - and all these horses breathe exactly the same air that I do.

    The horses are thoroughly acclimatised being in the city environment. They don't experience emotions such as happiness and sadness as humans do, but it is obvious to anyone who has the slightest knowledge of equine body language that the horses on the hack line are relaxed and unstressed. They react well to interaction with humans and show no sign of distress.

    So, we must ask the question why is the Mayor so keen to confiscate the horses (the draft legislation that I have seen would prevent the owners from selling their property at market value) that pull carriages, but not the horses used by NYPD and the Parks Department nor the horses at the race track in Queens? (30 horses lost their lives at the racetrack last year) ?

    The answer is simple. Follow the money trail. NYCLASS, which is heavily funded by a property developer slavering over the prospect of acquiring the stable blocks, poured millions of dollars into the campaigns of the Mayor and several members. The FBI and other federal agencies are now investigating that.

    Central Park was designed around and built with the help of horses. They belong there which motor vehicles do not.

    Long may these magnificent creatures continue to fulfil their destiny in some of the finest urban parklands in the world. I am delighted to see that we are soon to have riding horses back in Central Park - something that has been sadly lacking since Claremont Stables was sold to developers.