Horse drawn carriages, don’t sign up for this ride

Image: Elvert Barnes via Flickr CC license.Hundreds of horse-drawn carriages are lugged out each day in cities across America in preparation of booking tourists, wedding parties and others for memorable outings about town.

Whether offering purportedly idyllic rides through parks, or traversing city grids for up-close views of local landmarks, preserving this mode of transport subjects horses to inhumane conditions. Day after day, the horses are forced to work for long stretches of time while meandering through hazardous traffic, withstanding extreme temperatures, trotting across unforgiving pavement and constantly inhaling harmful fumes – only to retire each evening to with little or no pasture time.  

Although the recent focus by the media and animal protection groups has largely been on the iconic horse-drawn carriages of New York, the cruelty of the industry was again thrust to the forefront when just last week, a horse in Salt Lake City collapsed near the end of its carriage ride, when hit with a bout of colic.

The horse died a few days later.

Predictably, horse-drawn carriages sharing the road with cars, taxis and buses can lead to collisions, especially after a horse has been spooked by the erratic flow and sounds of traffic – a dangerous situation for the horses, the passengers and other drivers on the road.

This perilous practice has been banned in many cities including, Key West, Palm Beach and Las Vegas. And, with reportedly the highest horse-drawn carriage accident rate in the country, it is time for New York (and other cities across the country), to put a stop to this impractical activity.

--JF

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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