Every year, the list of accidents involving horse-drawn carriages grows, and horses continue to endure pain and suffering because of this outdated practice. The only way to end this cruelty is to ban it permanently and give these horses the freedom that they deserve.
Forcing horses to pull oversized loads isn't romantic—it's cruel. Horses are forced to toil in all weather extremes, dodge traffic, and pound the pavement all day long. These gentle animals suffer from respiratory ailments because they breathe in exhaust fumes, and they develop debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces. In some cases, horses have even dropped dead from heatstroke after working in scorching summer heat and humidity.
Horses are extremely sensitive to loud noises and unexpected sounds—and busy city streets have plenty of both. Horses and people have been seriously hurt—with some injuries resulting in fatalities—when horses have become spooked and run amok.
There have also been countless incidents in which carriages have been hit by impatient or careless drivers. Accidents have occurred in nearly every city where carriage rides are allowed.
There is no way that cities, with their exhaust fumes, hard road surfaces, and busy traffic patterns can provide a humane … environment for a carriage horse.
Horses are afforded no federal protection under the Animal Welfare Act, so the responsibility of looking out for horses' welfare falls to local animal control officials. But anti-cruelty laws provide few safeguards to horses, and many humane authorities just don't have the resources or the time to monitor horse-drawn carriages in order to ensure that horses are not being overworked and that operators are following regulations.
When horses grow too old, tired, or ill to continue pulling heavy loads, they aren't retired to green pastures and loving homes, as many people are led to believe. It's cost-prohibitive to maintain a permanent sanctuary for the countless numbers of horses who break down in this industry. Instead, many worn-out horses are slaughtered and turned into food for dogs or for carnivores in zoos, or else they're shipped overseas for human consumption.
If you live in a city where carriage rides are still allowed, contact your local legislators to ask if they will sponsor a ban. Many cities—including Biloxi, Mississippi; Camden, New Jersey; Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Key West, and Treasure Island, Florida; Paris, France; and London, England—have already banned horse-drawn carriages.
Take action now and sign the petition!
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