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Let’s Not Get Taken for a Ride

Written by PETA | December 12, 2008
fund4horses / CC
Carriage horse in NYC

Every visit to New York City causes me to reflect upon the misery that befalls those poor old racetrack castoffs, Amish cart-pullers, and other worn-down horses who end up between the shafts of a heavy carriage, pulling loads of tourists—and some uncaring driver—through the dirty, noisy streets of New York City in all weather. Seeing them out there in the winter is particularly upsetting: A few weeks back, I saw one horse still lumbering along in traffic, head down, at 9:30 p.m.

Even when they aren’t working, horses need lots of water, yet the “carriage” horses’ water troughs are often bone dry. People report seeing the horses standing there, unbending in their traces and unseeing in their blinders, unable to take a drop of water. And, when, late at night, they finally end up at their “stables”—which are actually decrepit fire-trap walk-ups—they cannot even take their weight off their aching feet: The “stalls” are boxes or bars that fit just around their bodies, like sow stalls on factory farms.

Oh, there’s so much more that stinks for these poor horses, including the traffic accidents that spook, hurt, and kill them. (I’ve seen a driver, obviously anxious to go home to his comfortable house, whip and race his horse, chariot-style, pounding along the road; this must have added to the horse’s pain.) PETA and local concerned citizens are working hard to make this business go away. We want to see it switch to something humane—perhaps to a new, environmentally friendly tourist vehicle that doesn’t bleed, ache, and die. It may take another year of hard work, but what can we do in the meantime, other than tell people never to ride in the carriages?

Perhaps you’d like to contact the ASPCA—which is charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty code and regulations on horse-drawn carriages—with your thoughts and questions. Please share with us the answers you receive. The horses can’t ask why someone doesn’t order their owners to allow them to lie down at night, for example, but we can. And, in my opinion, local law enforcement can compel the owners to let them.

Written by Ingrid Newkirk

Commenting is closed.
  • roxanne says: Please see these videos on the lack of oversight and how these drivers Lie

  • valerie says:

    I had the pleasure of picketing with a group of dedicated activists a few weeks ago near Central Park. As a certified equine cruelty investigator for another state I can tell you that these horses are abused on a daily basis and are so despondent it makes me angry. Visit and join this dedicated team of activits. They are responsible for getting a bill before the NYC Council to ban this abusive practice. The hearing is in January. Member of the council need to hear from New Yorkers as well as tourists so they understand that animal abuse DOES NOT draw people to NYC.

  • Jay says:

    “Walk ups” refers to the fact that the warehouses that the horses are stored in within Manhattan are two and three stories high. The horses have to walk up steep ramps. The places are firetraps.

  • cilantro says:

    horses in “walk ups”? what? anyway it seems there are no standards or requirements for the handlerdrivers or that guy would not be allowed to force a horse to run on the paved street. we dont need this “quaint” activity in nyc.

  • Amber says:

    . the poor thing noone human or animal should have to work like that!!!!

  • SASHA says:

    HOW SAD! I can’t believe this is STILL going on!

  • liz says:

    poor horses.. it must be awful to have those AWFUL ‘blinders’ or blinkers strapped on all the time as well .. so these horses see only a fraction of what they would normally see ahead andor around them as everything else is ‘blanketed’ out.. not to mention the constant relentless traffic fumes.. NY needs to get rid of this antiquated form of transport.. or ‘entertainment’ for their tourists.. it’s a nice nor pretty sight.. not for the horses anyway ploughing away pulling their loads….

  • Sarah says:

    The biggest reason why I would not want to visit a place like NYC is because I know that upon seeing a horsedrawn carriage I would be overcome with a feeling of overwhelming sadness and despair and could not enjoy anything else. How can it be that a place that offers so much culture also offers so much cruelty?

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I wish PETA would send circus and horse drawn carriage videos to the Tom Cruise family and the David Beckham family since they all spent Thanksgiving together riding in horse drawn carriages and going to the circus with their kids! Come on PETA! Do something!

  • Carla says:

    I shouldn’t be so surprized that they would allow those horses to be on their hooves feet 247!! I find it very inconceivable that this is still happening in today’s world!! New York of all places should be ashamed of yourselfs!! Get with it!! Do the compassionate thing AND END horse drawn carriages FOR GOOD!!!