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Carriage Horse Dies in New York City

Written by PETA | February 8, 2008

There was yet another carriage-horse fatality in New York today. How many more horses have to die before New York realizes that this industry has no place in a civilized city? The following is PETA’s official statement on the incident.

PETA has just learned that a horse used to pull carriages in New York City died this afternoon at the Clinton Park Stables. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the horse died of colic, which causes severe abdominal pain. PETA is investigating the circumstances of the horse’s death and reminds New Yorkers as well as tourists that these horses should be in pastures, not locked in dark, damp stalls in warehouse buildings. We renew our call to New Yorkers to help put an end to this inhumane and unsafe industry and to support City Council Member Tony Avella’s proposal to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city.

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  • annie says:

    Colic can happen at any time. As an owner of 9 horses (most of them are rescues)it is most probable that this horse died from colic brought on by STRESS. My bet is it had stomach ulcers. Pulling carriages around a city is an un-natural environment for horses. It is dangerous (breathing fumes & being hit by cars) and the pavemant is hard on their hooves and bones. We need to see how many of these poor horses have developed SWEENY from pulling these carriages over terrible hard terrain. There are so many reasons to put an end to this backward practice…lets do it for the horses!

  • babykate says:

    Death of an Old Carriage Horse

      I was a harness horse,

    Constrained to travel weak or strong,

    With orders from oppressing force,

    Push along, push along.

    I had no space of rest,

    And took at forks the roughest prong,

    Still by the cruel driver pressed,

    Push along, push along.

    Vain strove the idle bird,

    To charm me with her artless song,

    But pleasure lingered from the word,

    Push along, push along.

    The order of the day

    Was push, the peal of every tongue,

    The only word was all the way,

    Push along, push along.

    Thus to my journey’s end,

    Had I to travel right or wrong,

    ‘Till death my sweet and favored friend,

    Bade me from life to push along.

    George Moses Horton


    I worked at EQUINE HOSPITAL for Quarterhorses racing at track and saw horses abused daily with drugs they did not need that caused them to break bones and die. I HATE what man can do to destroy this animal without ANY consciousness. CARRIAGE HORSES IS A CRUEL MONEY MOTIVATED SERVICE THAT IS NOT NEEDED AND HORSES HAVE BEEN HIT BY TAXIS ALOT AND ALSO OUT AT 4am…I SAW IT WITH MY OWN EYES…There is NO REASON FOR THIS ….We can have the bike carriages..we do not need to “entice” tourists…by killing horses.

  • entreat says:

    My horse lived in a large paddock with other horses. He died of colic regardless of the expert medical attention he received. Some times they just die regardless of worklocation.

  • Sharon Lawler says:

    I am distressed that carriage horses are still used in NYC. This isn’t a good place for them to work among the traffic and the humanity on foot. It is not like someone who owns horses and gives carriage rides once in awhile. These poor horses are used in all types of weather and human greed keeps them out there for long hours. I will support PETA anyway possible to shut these carriage houses down. These horses should be allowed to run on grassy pastures and be a free spirit not stuck in standing stalls on the second floor of a hot stuffy building at night and then stuck between two shafts pulling a wagon during the day. When they are too old or sick to work they are not retired to a nice farm to finish out their lives they are sent to slaughter were a nail gun is used to kill them. The gun is not human and many times the horse suffers multiple shots terror and injuries before he is killed. These are GODs creatures and they deserve more than what they are getting. Tourists will come to NYC whether the horses are there or not. It isn’t the carriage horses that draw tourists to NYC and the city isn’t going to shut down and go bankrupt if the horses and carriages leave. Get real people take the “blinders” off and do the right thing and retire all of these horses permanetly. Sharon

  • t says:

    this is terrible disneyland does the horse carriage cruelty too peta should protest against them

  • Hattie Hartschuh says:

    Being an animal lover horse owner and welfare activist myself I cannot help but add as Susanna S. did on Feb 9th that horses can get colic and die from it regardless of thier careor lack there of… free range horses such as the wild mustangs here in the US are even found dead upon occasion from colic related issues… it is something that frustrates many veterinarians and horse owners in many cases it happens without warning and without a way to stop it. Furthermore many horses ENJOY having something to do. While we humans view this as “work” you will notice that several of the horses used for carriage services reach for thier bridles eager to be hitched up. A little research into campaign topics goes a LONG way… you can’t hear one thing from only one source and automatically decide that it is the gospel truth.

  • Bird319 says:

    I am a film student living in Chicago and am so happy with Petas involvement in banning horse drawn carriages in NY but I belive that the horses drawn carriages in Chicago are the next place to begin banning this cruel act. I truly believe that many people are simply uneducated about the mistreatment of the horses and feel that this same banning process needs to begin to take place in Chicago. I have a documentary assignment for one of my film classes and am interested in following a person who is trying to learn more about how the horses are treated in Chicago and see how this person finds ways to begin educating the citizen of Chicago. Does anyone know anyone living in chicago or coming to protest in chicago who would be interested in having a short documentary about their efforts to bring the awareness to Chicago?

  • selina says:

    It is so bad for those horses to be walking on concrete and inhaling fumes. They are made to do it all day! How would you like to be wipped to do that! Something need to be done to ban horse drawn carriages!

  • Cherish Ireland says:

    I don’t live in NY but I was there visiting a while ago. I’m so happy to see that finally someone is trying to save these horses. I’ve been riding for years and it kills me to see that the issue is just being addressed now. I want to know what I can do to make sure that the torture of these horses ends finally.

  • Ashley Moorhouse says:

    Ok…. so I will admit I haven’t read all of the comments on this thread but the few I read…. I am disgusted! I was interested in learning about PETA and what it was all about and I have to tell you…. TUNNEL VISION 101! I am a horse trainer and riding instructor. I also live near St. Louis where we have a few carriage companies. The horses are treated very well and are loved very much by their handlers. When it gets too hot or the weather is bad the horses are put away. My farm owns a carriage horse and we use her for driving lessons. She LOVES driving. SHe would pull that cart all day if you let her! My horses all love their jobs and I even have a couple horses who prefer there stall over the pasture…. I am sorry but I disagree with most of you and I thiknk you should research things yourself beore you let PETA pound in your head that everything is bad. Driving your car is worse for our world than taking a spin around the park in a carrige.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    Nolan So this is what happens to the elderly just send them to the slaughterhouse because they are no longer useful. Because they are no longer good in the ring. If thats the case why not bring a vet over and at very little cost put him or her down. Nolan It’s time for people to become responsible for the earthlings. Your ethics are much different than mine are. Nolan please change your mindI beg you for the horses sake. Peace! Judith If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be a vegetarian. Linda Mc Cartney

  • nolan says:

    Do you know how much a horse is worth as a killer horse? Not near as much as it is as a mount. Before the market got so screwed up most horses that are capable of bein a good hobbytrail horse were sold and bought for that purpose. I bought my first walkin horse for $1000. As a killer horse he’d brought maybe 23 hundred dollars. Most killer horses are old sick or problem horses. Granted there are acceptions and also this was the way it was before the market got so screwed up by the halt of slaughter. Now horses that would’ve made good mounts are shipped to mexico for dog meat. Because they’re no longer worth any amount of money. People aren’t gonna buy em if they can’t sell em. So now we get to see the shit hit the fan as people horses off and abandon them. I’d rather see one slaughtered than abandoned. And where’s PETA they helpin or involved now? Not that I can see. They’re gonna go make headlines somewhere else I guess.

  • Alexandra says:

    Libby my point was that they are not treated well they suffer a lot!!!!! they work 247 and it was really sad to see them!!! it broke my heart! of course they might think that they don’t feel pain or suffer it’s all about educating people about animals and how to treat them…and yes I hope that one they these animals have a break…and I totally get the part that you said about making a leaving…but it was just so sad to see them..

  • Ana says:

    Libby I believe Alexandra was indicating the abuse these poor donkeys endure. Irregardless of these people’s dependency on these donkeys there is no excuse for blatant cruelty. These donkeys are abused daily and are forced to carry heavy weights of objects beyond their capacity. If they falter they are whipped kicked beaten or left to die. They are not even fed properly. Being poor is not synonymous with being cruel. I agree with Alexandra. I support the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK with donations which helps these poor creatures who do not deserve the extreme abuse they suffer daily with no respite. They supply the donkeys with medical care food supplies and also try to educate these ignorant masses. Sometimes ignorance contributes to the donkeys abuses but primarily it is from people who don’t treat them like sentients but as machines. Even as the donkeys cry out in pain they continue to beat whip kick and abandon these forgotten sweet creatures. Alexandra How nice that you have compassion for these poor donkeys. Not enough people do.

  • Cyndi says:

    It is truly ridiculous when you think of all nonanimal tourism possibilities and NY has been doing this far too long. They need to get with the program people will enjoy NYC better when they see animal compassion rather than animal cruelty.

  • Roxanne Delgado says:

    Tourists should stop riding these carriages. NYC politicans are not acting in the best interest of the City and its residents. Speaker Quinn and Lappin should not be reelected.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    Nolan If you can’t afford a horse you shouldn’t have one in the first place. I do believe that you must be a mouth piece fo AQHA the group that spews more untruths than ever before. This is how the AQHA people feel. EXAMPLE daddy daddy my horse is not doing what I want him to do I don’t want him anymore he’s too slow. Ok sweetheart we will find a better one for you. Thanks dad. And off he or she goes to the highest bidder that just happens to be a kill buyer. I have seen some of these horses and they are as fit as can be but off they go. Our group rescues as many as we can care for. The AQHA feel no responsibility what so ever for their horses just like so many useless americans. They are as bad as the Race tracts. If the horses don’t win they are taken to the auction. Just ask the Jockeys who some of them have also started sanctuaries for them. Nolan When you speak about the mustangs dying at 15 years of age you are right on because Bush Cheney and Burns have there lackeys load those horses up and send them to slaughter. Read the article Bush’s wild mustang slaughter. And they continue to break the law after the passage of HR.249. So lackey go home!!!

  • lynda downie says:

    Exactly PeaceSurge. What a dismal life these magnificent intelligent animals have blindered trotting through noisy traffic and choking car exhaust.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    When our Frec became ill my husband and I tore the hay apart and found mold. We could have beat ourselves to death. We always checked his food he was our baby a big baby 16 hands. We had him for 18 more years. He never became ill again. We adopted Frec at a horse auction the only one we had ever been to. He was a very sad horse. That did not last for long. He became family. And he was a happy boy. He live to be 32. He now lays at rest at “San Diego Pet Memorial Park” and has many of his family around him including his goat companion friend and a bird and 2 rats and 4 cats8 dogs all with headstones. These poor beloved horses will never see this. And it breaks our hearts. Remember to call weekly to your Senators and reps and ask them to please push S.311 and HR.503 to the floor for a vote. Our horses must stay in America and it is time for us to become responsible for our horses. There are thousands of vets that will put your horse down with great compassion and at a very low cost. To get a good idea to what they do to our darlings and what they go through please go here. Find a group of people to join that calls Sen’s and Reps everyday. I belong to team Barbaro we are given a call list everyday. And it works. We just keep pounding on them. AQHA wants so much to see these bills fail. They are spewing untruths to anyone that will listen. Lets keep our horses home. They don’t deserve this torture its worst that anyone could imagine Just like the beloved farm animals it must stop. And they will be our next plan its already started. People are starting to change their way of thinking. It’s slow but I hear it everywhere. The activists are gaining speed. And we won’t stop. Stay healthy Ingrid we have a real fight ahead of us and we know it. Sorry to ramble but this horse that died should not have died. Someone should be checking on these horses all the time. Peace!!!

  • pamandersonlover says:

    i’ve lived in nj my whole life so the nyc carriage rides are an everyday thing. while in nyc in december i happened to pass by this one horse who was standing on 3 legs while he held his other back leg up in pain from a bleeding horshoe. he was tied up but the waterway he was to drink from was too far for him to reach. he was very disgruntled and overly alert. i stood there for about 15min when the owner of the carriage finally asked me why i was staring at the horse. i asked him why he was standing like that the man didnt realize that i noticed blood on the horses black coat and on the pavement the man replied that horses love to stand on 3 feet. i knew that he was lying and now a small crowd was building up. i asked him how the horse was supposed to drink when he couldnt even reach the waterway he said that the horse wasnt thirsty. i got really nasty with him and flipped out. i handed the horse my banana that i was eating and he couldnt get it down fast enough. we need to end this madness. enough is enough. horses belong to the fields not the streets.

  • Nolan says:

    Colic is a result of care and diet. As long as the horses are properly cared for there is no reason to ban the carriages. Pulling the carriage won’t kill a horse if it’s done properly and cared for. Work is good for animals just like it’s good for people. A horse that is cared for and worked properly will live longer than one left to its own in pasture and alot longer than in the wild. A wild horse is lucky to make 15.Many aged horses can be sold for starter horses for children if their demeanor is right for the job. I’d like to know where PETA is now that the effects of their actions are coming to pass. I looked on the website thought maybe I’d find a fundraiser to help people that can’t afford to get rid of horses they can no longer afford to feed. I thought since PETA helped stop the slaughter industry that they’d surely be promoting alternatives. Maybe help for people who want to do the right thing but financial difficulties are making it very hard to provide proper care. The gas hike coupled with drought has caused the price of hay to double.WHERE DID THE CRUSADERS GO? WHY AREN’T THEY FINISHING WHAT THEY STARTED?

  • Libby says:

    Alexandra A donkey in Africa is a far cry from a carriage horse in the US in terms of what is needed. In some places people still actually use animals for transportation and don’t have other options despite what you say. In NYC it’s a tourist thing and clearly no one needs a carriage as their only means of transportation or for farming taking goods to market etc. The operators of the carriages make their livings from it but no one else is depending upon this means of transport to survive. If you took away donkeys horses etc. in some poorer countries as you seem to want to do it would be a different story.

  • Kim says:

    colic is usually caused as direct result of care. A majority of colic is caused by the horse working hard becoming very thirsty and then drinking water while they are hot and this causes a twisting of the intestines. It can be caused by long term care issues as well. Bottom line this horse was probably worked hard led back the barn where it drank and was put back into its stall hot and that is why it died. Also people need to worry about the “lucky” ones who do not die on the job but make the simple mistake of growing older. They are then sent auction and 9 times out of 10 are sent to slaughter. There is no greener pasture for them. It is time for this to end!

  • Alexandra says:

    This is just so sad…we dont need horsesdonkeys or any animals for transportation. I recently went to Marrakesh and it was so sad to see the donkeys working 247 you could see how hard it was for them to pull the cart that were loaded w bags of sand wood etc…there is so much to do all over the world…

  • Ashes says:

    Is there a way to know if the colic was related to living conditions? Also did this horse get any treatment? If the colic wasn’t related to living conditions and the horse had vet care then the two things carriage horse and death aren’t related. But if the horse would not have gotten sick but for the work it did or if he didn’t get proper vet care when better care could have saved his life then there is a link.

  • PeaceSurge says:

    The horse and buggy age has been over for a long time now. Manhattan is not a quaint quiet town. Those horses are suffering a brutal life being shuffled around the streets of Manhattan and stuck in dingy warehouses at night. NYC should put an end to these stupid outdated by about 100 years horsedrawn carriage rides.

  • Amber Hamilton says:

    I cant beileve the way people treat animals it makes me sick horses expecually i love them and to hear that i just discusting!!

  • isaac lalani says:

    i was wondering how bad it really is? im not big on horsesbut i guess i just know know all the facts. how did it dieby natural causes or was it put down? How many horses are there in this business how often does it happenand what evidence is there is suggest it was due to neglect or abuse?

  • caitlin says:

    yeah i think carriage riding is dumb. I mean what’s the point exactly? oh and daz? I would soo do that too!

  • Estefani Paco says:

    es una lastima que la gente se preocupe mas del lo economico si darse cuenta de que en un ecto de interes esta lastimando traumando y maltratando la vida de un ser que tamvien tiene derecho ala vida en todo sentido. Aqui en BOLIVIA ocurre algo similar ya que cada ao para el cornaval de ORURO centenares de quirquinchos mueren para la fabriacion de matracas . es una lastima y una gran pena de que este clase de problemas no solo ocurre en NUEVA YORK y BOLIVIA sino es un problema mundial yo pienso de que esta clase de problemas no se arregla de un dia para otro el primer paso es informar a toda la gente del peligro que nosotros mismos ocacionamos tratando de conserbar cada uno de los vitads en los que cada espesie havitaasi no soloestaremos ayudandolos a eyos sino anosotros tavien ojala la gente recapasite

  • Corndog says:

    I believe that horses are less likely to colic when they are wellcared for although this tragedy can and does occur under the best of conditions. Here are some precautions to help prevent colic Allow the horse to move around at will for at least several hours a day. Provide plenty of good quality grass hay. Provide constant access to fresh water. Feed smaller meals of grain if fed more frequently. Worm horses on a regular basis rotating properly. Provide access to fresh air. Here are the conditions that carriage horses are kept in that contribute to colic Horses move around when working only and have little or no turnout. Horses do not have access to good grass hay at least not while working. Horses drink not whenever thirsty but at scheduled times even in heat on hot pavement. Many carriages horses are not fed in the morning to reduce the need to eliminate while working meaning one large meal at night after a long day without hay or free access to water. This is colic looking for a place to happen. No idea of worming programs. Fresh air? Well…all day working in city traffic and night spent in stuffy stable. If a horse does colic it is more likely to survive if Someone checks on the horse frequently enough to catch it early. The horse gets medical attention quickly anor a person can administer care such as banamine immediately. The horse receives expensive surgery if needed. Someone watches the horse carefully while recovering and treats secondary conditions such as laminitis quickly. The conditions in which carriage horses are kept are certainly not conducive to the health and happiness of the horse. The time of the horse and buggy SHOULD be well behind us.

  • Alena says:

    this is nothing compared to the carriage horses in MallorcaSpain they pull a cart in over 30 C and are to thin you can see evry bone some of them even have bad legs and hink but the tourists here dont care..i lived in spain for 12 years and i saw horses braking together on roadsso please help the poor horses in mallorca

  • Amber Falobas says:

    aww poor horsey! STUPID NEW YORK. I HOPE THE EARTH SWALLOWS YOUR CITY. except for timesqaure cuz i like the NYC countdown…but the rest of the city sure!

  • Daz says:

    Horses can be soooo much fun to be around but when you see the horrific conditions that these beautiful creatures of God have to live in Go look at the internet photos I would like to strap a huge wagon on every owner of those horses and whip their asses around Central Park for days on end with no medical attention and no down time for pulled muscles!

  • Dawn says:

    Thank you so much PETA for all you have done to try and put a stop to the horse carriage business. These horses in New York are not properly cared for. The owners run them to the ground….they are not properly cared for.

  • Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals says:

    My God how did these idiot’s not know this horse had colic? When my horse had colic years ago he went down so fast that you knew right away how ill he was. We had our vet out within an hour he put oil down Frec and did a hell of alot of work on him. I slept with him for 3 nights. These bastards don’t give a shit about these darlings. They should all be in a pasture enjoying the years they have left. This just makes me so angry and sick.

  • Valentino says:

    Another innocent life terminated because of the greedy incomprehensive lifestyle of the human being! Stop this insane carriage ride business horses are abused for this since centuries it’s enough now!

  • lauren says:

    this is horrible my best freinds are writing a report on the horse and buggy rides. i dont supportit at all and they dont care. thats the point though me need to make them see why we need to stop this cruelty!

  • Susannah S says:

    Horses die of colic whether they’re well cared for or not but I think this story points out that the life of a carriage horse in New York is ten times more likely to end from either problems associated with neglect or overwork or getting into accidents with vehicles. In an environment of stress colic is much more likely to afflict a horse than in an environment where the horse is safe and cared for in a loving way by a lifelong friend. I hope to see a ban on carriage horses in NYC very soon. No animal should have to live that way.

  • Christine says:

    As an animal lover and a horse lover in particular I have a few thoughts. The lives these animals lead are less than good. They are exploited and uncared for. I personaly can say they have feelings and remember the actions of others. Would any human being want to cart a horse around all day? I think not.

  • Maya, C.V.T. says:

    I’m sorry but I can’t possibly believe that Rudy is such a great guy if his city is allowing this to happen on his watch. I hope the celebs can keep helping out!