Ban Horse Drawn Carriages. ~ via Rebecca Grazulis

Via on Nov 9, 2009

There are few things that make me more sad than horse drawn carriages.

Horse Drawn Carriage

Unlike so many of the other cruelties that animals suffer on a daily basis in this country, this particular cruelty happens out in the open. Romanticized by Hollywood and those exploiting tourists, this is an industry that needs to be shut down. For good.

There are many reasons to ban horse drawn carriages. They are a danger to people – in cars, on bicycles, and on foot, as horses spook easily. Accidents have happened in nearly every city that uses horse drawn carriages. However, what stops my heart are the unspeakable realities that these beautiful animals face on a daily basis:

1. Horses work nose to tailpipe, and subsequently often contract respiratory illnesses.

2. Horses are especially sensitive to loud noises and unexpected sounds. City streets are scary places for them to work.

3. In New York City, the daily life of a carriage horse is so harsh that its working life is only four years, compared to a police department horse whose average working life is about 14 years.

4. Horses work in extremely hot and extremely cold weather. In New York City, they work nine hours a day, seven days a week.

5. Walking on pavement is difficult for horses, and lameness often results.

6. Many horses come into the industry with pre-existing injuries after working on Amish farms or at racetracks. Then they are forced to pull carriages weighing up to 800 pounds.

7. In New York City, the horses’ stables are in buildings, usually on upper floors, and the horses are never given the chance to be in a natural environment.

8. Most retired carriage horses will be sent to slaughterhouses, used for dog food or food for animals in zoos. Horsemeat, a delicacy in some countries, is often shipped overseas.

    Many cities, including Palm Beach, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, London, Paris, and Beijing, have banned horse drawn carriages. I’m ashamed to say that my hometown of Chicago still uses them. It’s heartbreaking, and terribly wrong.

    For more information on the horse drawn carriage industry, check out the documentary Blinders.

    Rebecca Grazulis is a Chicagoan, a vegetarian (yes, you can be both), a wanna-be yogi and a former high school English teacher in a period of career exploration. For more information, you can e-mail her at  or visit her website.

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    17 Responses to “Ban Horse Drawn Carriages. ~ via Rebecca Grazulis”

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Megan Perez, John in Boulder. John in Boulder said: Ban Horse Drawn Carriages. ~ via Rebecca Grazulis: There are few things that make me more sad than horse drawn carriages http://url4.eu/iv9Y [...]

    2. michaleen says:

      Part 2
      In this post you parrot the talking points of the lunatics that would like to put our horses out of work – and join the thousands of unwanted horses across this country. You obviously have done no independent thinking of your own, just repeat what has been fed to you. You don't know anything about us or our horses.

      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.

    3. michaleen says:

      Part 3
      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.

    4. michaleen says:

      Part 4__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!____

    5. michaleen says:

      part 5
      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.

    6. michaleen says:

      Part 6
      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.

    7. michaleen says:

      Part 7
      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.

      PS – London, Paris, and Beijing ALL have horse drawn carriages. Your sources are liars – it's easily checked, Google is your friend.

    8. Social comments and analytics for this post…

      This post was mentioned on Twitter by johninboulder: Ban Horse Drawn Carriages. ~ via Rebecca Grazulis: There are few things that make me more sad than horse drawn carriages http://url4.eu/iv9Y

    9. bandolera says:

      Carriage horses in the city are very well taken care of. Michaeleen described it above to satisfaction and it's easily verifiable. The original post is completely misleading. The bond between the driver and his horses is beyond the sight of a passer-by. In doubt, empty your cup, please make a pause and observe, horse and man, man and horse. Look until you see, and then your cup will have fresh "tea." One grain of sand does not make a dessert.
      The sight of a horse in a city, well cared for and loved, respected partner as these horses are should be refreshing and pause-makers.
      Who wrote the original article should take a look at the statistics of sport horses, THAT will give you something to write about if the theme of dead horses is her liking. And then, please take a look at the horse insurance statistics in Europe: the life span of a sport horse is 11 years.
      The latter piece of information in comparison with the long lived carriage horses in big cities in this country is a long stretch to fill.
      Carriage horses get rotation time in which they are turned in pastures to rest. Carriage horses are usually good tempered animals that enjoy what they are doing and the attention they get. They are difficult to replace, therefore all the efforts are made so they have a healthy and long life. Another point in consideration and diametrically different for most of his equine friends in the "sport". Carriage horses in big cities like NY stay with the same person for many years and retired to good homes in the country, likewise police horses. It is an HONOR to house one of these horses in their retirement.
      Do you really think just for a split of a second, if that long, that an ill-kept horse is going to be pulling a wagon in NYC for the tourists from all over the world?
      Being witness of a death is a dramatic experience for most, for others is food for news, as they know death is a seller.

    10. Where was this photo taken,and what year was it taken? I 'm curious to hear what actual investigating was conducted before this story was written.

    11. [...] Despite the falsity of the rumor, it nonetheless got me all keyed up about greyhound racing, a “sport” that exists for the entertainment and profit of humans at the cost of the well being of some very beautiful animals. [...]

    12. Brittany says:

      Yes, there are animal atrocities everywhere. But your comment here doesn't really make sense. So since there are other awful things happening to horses, we should let what you consider "lighter" offenses go? Because worse things are happening in your opinion? I'm not under the impression that we have to pick and choose cruel acts and only focus on the most heinous.

    13. Brittany says:

      "The horse-drawn carriages are a New York City icon."

      Slavery was an icon of the South for many years. Does that make it commendable? A great tradition?

    14. disco dave says:

      you need to find something better to do with your life than worry about horse drawn carriges You wont change anything and will die unhappy

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