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NYC’s Snowy Streets: No Cars, Just Horses

Written by PETA | January 28, 2011

Why were horses still pulling carriages through dangerously icy and snowy New York City streets after Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a weather emergency? The city was buried in more than a foot and a half of snow, prompting the mayor to plead with motorists to stay off the streets so that plows could get through, yet carriage operators were out soliciting customers. Even without the severe conditions, New York’s streets are dangerous for horses: NYC has the highest carriage accident rate in the country.

Donny Moss, who documented the cruel conditions that horses endure in NYC’s carriage industry in Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition, took these photos of horses who were on the streets during the emergency. Even the horses’ water trough was buried under snow.

The ASPCA—the agency that monitors the carriages and enforces anti-cruelty laws—told callers that the rides were suspended, yet horses were still working the streets. Please ask the ASPCA under what conditions the horses are protected.

Please, never, ever take a carriage ride in New York City or anywhere else that these cruel operations still exist.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • When you forget about logic... says:

    An argument that “horses have lived in these conditions for thousands of years” – you couldn’t be more wrong.  Horses did not exert themselves in extreme climates.  Nor did they stand around breathing in pollution from the tailpipes of modern vehicles.  Any argument that horses have evolved to “adapt” to this… is wrong because our technologies have progressed far faster than evolution has, and NO human, or beast, should be subjected to awful pollution of city traffic, being hit by cars, scared from car horns… it is disgusting.  Do not use the “history of the horse” to validate the metropolis carriage industry.

  • tami says:

    Sorry folk, PLEASE read about what the  Bureau of Land Management is doing to the wild horses of the west before you mention moving  domesticated horses out there.   That is an ignorant belief that there are miles of free roaming land for ANY horse.

    These are domesticated working horses who work for a living like you.   And they have more regulations then most day-cares. Please research the facts.

  • frankie1159 says:

    Hey Amber- who will pay for these horses expensive medical care and retirement? The riders? the taxpayers? no one. that’s who.

    EXACTLY!  When the horses don’t have a job no one will be paying for them.  Take the job away from the horse & no one will be able to afford them.  PETA and the ASPCA will be nowhere to help them after the ban.  And then horse racing will be banned, after that it will be cutting horses, then barrel racers.  Bye horses!  You don’t fit into our modern society.  THAT is what you people are cheering for.

  • Tomas says:

    The only real issue here is that some carriage owners didn’t obbey the law…on the subject of the horses, i don’t think they are being treated with cruelty…we’ve been using them as transportation for thousands of years…as long as they have food and are treted for deseases and injuries, there shouldn’t be a problem…slavery and using horses as a mean of transport are not the same thing

  • Donny says:

    If the ASPCA supports a ban on NYC’s horse-drawn carriage industry due to animal cruelty, then why did they allow NYC Mayor Bloomberg to say, “The ASPCA has convinced me that these horses are treated humanely” when he signed their rate hike bill into law last year?

  • Morgan Horse says:

    Horses standing on pavement or worked on pavement is cruel and damages their legs. I find this to be the greatest barbarism. The breeds used for these carriages are the most docile, loving horses that are the epitome of willing servents. The workers can find some other form of cruelty. Maybe feeding off peoples misery will be their next gig.

  • Betty Almand says:

    These animals should not have to endure the exploytation of man by being forced to entertain people in such a manner.

  • Alexa Noel says:

    @Andrew: No, horses did NOT live in similar conditions. they made sure that they were comfterable for theirselves and for their families.

  • Rosie says:

    Oh my goodness! How can you force those poor horses to work for us under such harsh weather?! This is absolute animal cruelty! Please pledge to NEVER ride on a horse carriage!

  • Seamus McCartney says:

    Alice, that depends on your personal definition of cruelty. In my opinion it is cruel because these poor animals should not have to be forced to pull carriages their entire lives, especially if they are ploughing through harsh conditions like these and probably not receiving adequate care. It is not unlike slavery, slave labour to which only the human prospers and all he/she has to do is sit comfortable on the ‘driving seat’ and whip the horse.

  • Rita says:

    Andrew, workers made a living before they got into the horse carriage industry, they’ll be fine now.

  • noelle says:

    ok. i understand you all think this is animal cruelty, but its not… unless the horses are lame or not properly shod there is no reason they cannot walk on pavement. i have horses, trust me, i know. the horse pictured looks in good health to me, he doesnt look unhappy or abused. trust me, im all for humane treatment of animals, but this is not animal cruelty.

  • noelle says:

    ok. i understand you all think this is animal cruelty… but unless the horses are lame or not properly shod, there is no reason they cannot walk on pavement. trust me, i have horses, i know. there is nothing wrong with a horse pulling a carriage. it doesnt hurt them, its not too heavy for them and its not abuse. the horse in the picture looks like its in good health… im totally against animal cruelty, but in this case you are wrong.

  • Toby says:

    That American flag could be being used as an unjust racial-icon; it’s very tongue-in-cheek… the abuser there could easily cry foul, “what, US flags are bad?” like a fool.

  • Paula says:

    This is nothing but animal cruelty and the owners need to be charged.

  • Andrew says:

    whos going to pay the workers bills and put food on the table if there aren’t any horses. Horses lived in these similar conditions before humans, they’ll be fine now.

  • Linda Joyce says:

    One of the most modern cities of the world….why don’t they step up and do the right thing by these poor animals. Is it the almight buck? What is the reason to allow such awful treatement? What is wrong with the governent that they don’t outlaw the inhumane treatment?

  • girlofthecityyy says:

    All I have to say is.. this saddens me. Deeply. I’m 18 and clearly understand this is wrong. Why are the older people making these horses do this and do that not see it?

  • Beth says:

    This cruelty needs to end NOW. The horses should all live out the rest of their lives at horse sanctuaries. No animal should be abused for human pleasure.

  • melissa norden says:

    Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) agents of the ASPCA suspended New York City carriage horses on January 23, 24 and 26, as well as Thursday morning, January 27, after snow had accumulated. Approximately 10 carriages traveled to the park Thursday morning, either ignoring or defying the morning suspension and notification by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which also has authority to enforce laws.

    The other 50-plus carriage owners kept their horses and carriages inside the stables for their safety. Just 10 carriages ignored the mayor’s announcement of a city weather emergency. At 12:30 pm, these carriages were suspended by ASPCA agents, who have said authority when conditions are dangerous to the horses and/or the public. Later that afternoon a complainant called the ASPCA’s HLE hotline to report a horse seen in the park, and ASPCA agents located the horse and suspended this individual carriage.

    The law states that horse owners shall not allow the horses to be working during adverse weather or other dangerous conditions which are a threat to the health or safety of the horse. The law also states that if a horse is being worked when such conditions develop they must immediately be returned to the stable by the most direct route.

    A team of equine experts within the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department monitor the care and working conditions of New York City’s carriage and riding horses. ASPCA agents appreciate concerned citizens’ reports, as the carriage horse industry does not police itself.

    The following tips will help in reporting suspected carriage horse problems:

    – The two most important pieces of information to provide are the time of the incident and the carriage license plate, a 4-digit number located on the back of the carriage. With the time and number, ASPCA can track down the horse and driver involved.

    – Other helpful information can include: color of horse, color of carriage, location of incident and hoof brand number of horse.

    – To report carriage horse cruelty or neglect, contact us at [email protected] or (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450. After business hours, you will be transferred to a voice messaging system and your call will be returned by an on-duty agent.

  • alice says:

    horse drawn carriages are not cruel; in natural conditions that is. nyc takes things too far, making the animals pull no matter what. it disgusts me how people can see the animals struggling and still want to go for a ride.

  • tom moore says:

    This makes absolutely no sense at all.

  • Gala says:

    I think that the main reason these things still draw attention is because people think that they’re romantic and can wisk them away somewhere. There is also the fact that people didn’t want to drive, but come on. Making animals do things for you because of your stupidity is just dumb.

  • Amber says:

    who will pay for these horses expensive medical care and retirement? The riders? the taxpayers? no one. that’s who. It is slavery.

  • Carla* says:

    Forcing them to pull carriages through snow, hot sun, rain, a “normal day” is extremely cruel!! They need pasture not concrete!! Look at that poor horses face, so sad. Never go on one!!