I had occasion to ride my bike into downtown Houston one evening last week. While it was great to see a lot of nightlife happening in this once-dead part of our fair city, there was one sight that wasn’t so welcome: carriages drawn by sad, exhausted horses.
Frequent PETA Files visitors know about our work to help horses in New York City, but the problem isn’t limited to the Big Apple. Case in point: According to news reports, Chicago authorities recently impounded six horses from carriage ride operator JC Cutters. The animal control manager reportedly said that the animals’ body weights and the condition of the outdoor tent in which the horses were living were factors in the decision.
Did you get that? The horses were reportedly living in a tent, which the Chicago Tribune described as a “tarp-covered plywood barn near the Chicago River.” In the Windy City. In winter. Nice, huh? Maybe Liam Neeson should set up some new digs there.
Now, it’s great that Chicago has addressed this immediate problem, but these situations will keep happening as long as we keep putting the horse before the cart, so to speak—and not just in New York and Chicago but everywhere this sad excuse for “entertainment” occurs.
Meanwhile, with Valentine’s day coming up, it’s worth remembering that horse-drawn carriage rides are anything but romantic (or, as Will said of them on Will & Grace, “It seems romantic at first, but eventually you realize you’re cold and you’re staring at an ass that craps right in front of you”).
Fortunately, New York City Council Member Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan has taken up our suggestion to replace horse-drawn carriages there with environmentally-friendly electric replicas of the classic Ford Model T and is running with it. The current carriage drivers might even be able to make the transition to driving the new cars—you gotta love a win-win situation like that.
Written by Jeff Mackey