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Save the Carriage Horses in New York City!

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Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Don't let the destructive carriage horse industry harm any more innocent horses! Take action now!

It was February in New York City when a 12-year-old carriage horse named Aisha collapsed in Central Park. Aisha was struggling to stand for minutes before crumpling on the side of the road1.

As a trailer arrived to haul her away, carriage drivers pushed Aisha inside. She was euthanized later that day.

Aisha was one of about 220 horses registered to pull carriages in New York, but her death immediately sparked a firestorm, even raising the interests of New York's Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad.

Aisha's death was followed by two more in 2020, both horses euthanized after contracting colic2.

The harsh reality of the life of a carriage horse working in New York City is that horses simply are not meant to work in dangerous midtown traffic.

Carriage horses are live a miserable nose-to-tailpipe existence. They routinely work at least nine hours a day, seven days a week, pulling a vehicle that weighs hundreds of pounds, on hard pavement, while breathing exhaust from cars, buses and taxis. Unaccustomed to the urban environment, horses can be "spooked" easily and cause accidents that inflict great damage on vehicles, drivers and most often, the horses themselves3.

The average working life of a New York City carriage horse is four years, as compared to 15 years for horses in the New York City Police Department's mounted patrol. ASPCA inspections since the 1980s have indicated that hoof and joint injuries, resulting from long hours walking on hard concrete, are pervasive, and that colic and other illnesses, brought about by bad or insufficient food, also are common.

In 1989, a veterinary consultant for the ASPCA inspected the city's six carriage-horse stables and examined horses in the field. She found, among other things, that the majority of horses were housed in unsafe and unhealthy conditions, that most stables were firetraps, that horses were confined to narrow stalls and had no opportunity to exercise, that the stalls were not ventilated or even cleaned, that horses in the field rarely had access to water, that many horses were filthy and underfed, that many suffered injuries created or exacerbated by long hours of walking on hard concrete (some horses worked 70 hours per week), and that carriage drivers were typically ignorant of basic facts about equine health and even harnessing.

Something is wrong with this picture. Horses don't belong in cities acting as taxi cabs and entertainment for humans. They are large, movement-oriented animals who need the freedom of fields and pastures to graze, run, and play.

The carriage industry is outdated and causing unnecessary harm to these beautiful creatures. Sign the petition asking New York City's mayor to stand up for the safety and health of horses and outlaw the horse carriage industry.

More on this issue:

  1. Natasha Daly, National Geographic (26 March 2020), "The bitter controversy surrounding NYC's carriage horse industry."
  2. Michael Gold, The New York Times (2 March 2020), "An N.Y.C. Carriage Horse Died. Video of Its Collapse Stirred Outrage."
  3. NYCLASS, "Cruel and Inhumane Horse Drawn Carriages."
  4. Brian Duignan, Encyclopædia Britannica. (2021), "The Carriage Horses of New York City."
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The Petition:

To the Mayor of New York City,

That the horse carriage industry has been allowed to continue as long as it has, is frankly appalling.

With all of the evidence that shows the physical damage horses sustain during careers as carriage horses, it's clear this practice must be outlawed now.

Forcing a horse to haul heavy carriages for hours upon hours, seven days a week, is not healthy. Preventing the horses from grazing free in pastures with other horses damages their well being. Further, putting horses in an environment where they must inhale toxic fumes from standing among vehicles all day is extremely harmful to their health.

If you're aware of these implications, why do you continue to allow these horses to be treated like slaves?

Please see to it that the horses of New York City are rescued and cared for in the ways they are meant to be treated. Do your part for the horses and outlaw the carriage industry once and for all.


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