A Response to Spokesperson Hansen of The NYC Carriage Horse Industry

horse17n-3-webNow that the new mayor has pledged to end the carriage horse industry, the drivers are fighting back. Most recently, carriage horse spokersperson Christina Hansen published a piece in Thursday’s New York Post titled, “Eight Lies ‘Advocates’ Told About Carriage Horses.” The drivers have gone so far as to hire The Cavalry Group, whose mission is to “advance the constitutional rights of law-abiding animal owners, animal-related businesses, and agricultural concerns… by shaping the debate in the media.” The drivers aren’t going down without a fight. I don’t blame them.

Yet their efforts to demonize the opposition are distracting us from the question at the heart of the issue: is the impact of the industry on the horses cruel, or is it not?

The conditions under which these iconic horses live and work are widely known, having been reported for years not only by organizations like Friends of Animals, the ASPCAThe Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, and NYCLASS, but by the media as well. I offer them here because the industry’s public relations efforts are deflecting our attention away from them.

1. The work is dangerous and relentless, and there’s no reward for a hard day’s work.
New York City has the highest horse-drawn carriage accident rate in the entire country. The horses work as much as 63 hours a week in extremes of weather and challenging traffic conditions. After their shifts, they are taken not to a pasture to graze and relax, but to a tiny stall, where they remain until they are removed to begin this cycle again. While they theoretically receive “5 weeks’ vacation” per year, many return underweight, according to Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. “No one knows where the horses go during these “vacations,” she explains, “and many return thin and exhausted.”

Friends: please read more of my response and join the conversation about New York City carriage horses at The Huffington Post !



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