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A Life and Death Without Dignity-NYC Advocates Seek Ban on Horse Carriages

September 19, 2006 | Horses / Press Releases

A Coalition including Friends of Animals, and other groups whose goal is to enact a ban on horse-drawn carriages, once again urges Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Council to pass legislation to end the exploitative carriage horse industry.

We ask the public to boycott carriage horses until they are officially disallowed.

After a string of accidents this year, the latest tragedy occurred September 15th, when a horse named Juliet collapsed in Central Park at 9:30pm, while pulling a carriage. Onlookers were horrified as Mr. Provenzano, the driver of the carriage, began striking Juliet repeatedly in the flank with a whip in an effort to get her on her feet again. Claiming he was acting on advice from his veterinarian, the driver continued whipping the horse--as onlookers yelled at him to stop. A police officer also ordered Provenzano to stop the beating.

Yet officers from the mounted unit arrived at the scene and allowed Provenzano to continue whipping Juliet. Eventually a rug was brought over, which Juliet was placed upon, and she was then dragged into a police trailer and taken to the West Side Livery Stables at 38th St.-finally dying at 5am after several hours of treatment. The ASPCA is currently investigating to ascertain why and how Juliet died, and if this is a criminal case of cruelty. Results of the necropsy are expected within a few days.

Purchased by Provenzano last year for just $1700, Juliet, likely a former farm horse, had been pulling a carriage for at least 17 years. The stable in which she died was effectively her prison.

WHY BAN HORSE-DRAWN VEHICLES IN NEW YORK?

Many modern cities have ended the tradition of animal-drawn vehicles. Why? These animals do not belong in commercial activity that forces them to compete with heavy traffic or be exposed to harsh elements. This is as true in New York City as anywhere in the world.

WHY NOT JUST ALLOW ANIMAL-DRAWN CARRIAGES AT CENTRAL PARK?

Keeping commercial horse activity adjacent to Central Park, as Council Member Tony Avella has proposed, fails to acknowledge that horses would still travel a congested corridor en route to the Park -- also a route for emergency vehicles to and from St. Vincent's Midtown Hospital and Roosevelt Hospital, and a conduit to the Lincoln Tunnel and the West Side Highway.

Edita Birnkrant, a founding member of the Coalition, explains, "Accidents have occurred in Central Park as well as in the streets. Public safety is at risk in the park, which is filled with bicyclists, runners, children and pedestrians. Enough, enough, now! We can't wait for yet another tragedy to occur before the Mayor and City Council take this issue seriously."

Regulating the industry will not stop public safety problems. And regulations seek to sustain a disrespectful practice that needs to be ended in order for New York City to join Toronto, Paris and London as leaders in more enlightened attitudes about nonhuman animals.

The Coalition has drafted legislation which would effectively phase out this industry and seeks to have an adoption program for the horses so they do not go to kill auctions.

What to Do:

~Contact New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and tell him that you strongly support the effort to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry in NYC.

People from all over the country and the world are encouraged to contact Mayor Bloomberg, since horse carriages are considered a tourism draw. NYC officials need to hear from potential tourists who are outraged that this exploitative industry exists in NYC, and caters to tourists.

Send an E-Mail now.

Telephone: 311 or 212-NEW YORK- (outside NYC)

FAX: 212.788.2460

Mail

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

More info can be found at www.nyc.gov

~New Yorkers should also contact their City Council Member and ask them to support legislation that will ban the horse-drawn carriage industry.

Comments

Barbaric, mean, cruel and must be stopped.

My friend and I own 4 horses together, one being a Standardbred off the track which was later used as a carriage horse. This horse is approx. 17 yrs old and was purchased 2 months ago at a slaughter auction, 200-300lbs underweight, with his shoes inbedded in his hooves and scared to death of people, especially those with anything that possibly resembles a whip in their hands for $75. This horse is turning into a wonderful horse with alot of love and patience, a great vet, and the best farrier. Shame on those who previously owned him!!! Exploitation of these wonderful animals should be banned!!!!

Since so many of us agree that this horse maltreatment should be stopped for all horses that have been subjected to driving carriages in the city, and as we seem to be focusing on New York City-let us all come up with possible solution/s. We could all write the Mayor and government officials of New York City. My feeling is the support would be stronger from the people. The aerial wolf killings in Alaska protesters have found a way to protest from wherever they live. Their ideas and posters are on the wolf portion of this website. Would anyone want to make a printable flier for this website that anyone could print out and post, and could include the website? A place on this website that included the names, positions, and adresses of NYC government officials would make it easy for people to send their letters of support for these carriage drawing horses that have suffered. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Where can I go to help? Or what is being done? Any lobbyists doing anything?

that is like the worse thing you could do to a horse they belong on a farm not in the city those crazy drivers cant even drive thats very stressfull for horses to deal with that everyday and that is animal abuse whether they know it or not

I have owned and expertly cared for dozens of wonderful horses over the past 40 years. I love them dearly and in no way intend to defend abusive behavior, however, there may be an element of truth to what this man said regarding his vet's advice. As awful as it may sound, it is true that when a horse "goes down" in pain from a colic episode for example, that veterinarians do recommend whipping it to get it back up on it's feet.This is to try to avoid the violent rolling a horse naturally will do to try to relieve the pain but that can actually cause more internal damage.This is difficult advice that I have sadly had to follow on one occasion myself. Since none of us actually witnessed what was going on, it's hard to say exactly what the circumstances were regarding Juliet. Obviously if the mare was colicky, her owner should NOT have been working her that day! [Blog editors' note: A horse with colic is usually walked to help relieve anxiety and to prevent rolling, which indeed can lead to intestinal tortion. As the writer notes at the end of the comment, if this horse showed signs of sickness, then the use of this horse in the streets was inappropriate, under any standard, and so, then, was everything else that occurred, including the whipping of the horse -- who did get up, yet couldn't remain standing, who was then literally dragged away, and who, hours later, died. It's worth observing that horses with worms or with compromised food and water supplies (such as unclean water, inadequate long stem roughage, or insufficient or spoilt food) are particularly likely to suffer from colic. It is largely a disease of domestication, manipulated breeding, and captivity. Friends of Animals' position is that if a horse is put into a position where such a stress-provoking action is recommended for the very purpose of alleviating stress, something is wrong with this picture. Thus, we believe the outraged onlookers were right.]

There is no reason that these horses should be on the congested, polluted, dangerous streets of nyc. in case some of you haven't noticed we are not living in the 1800's, though sometimes i wish we were.

If I had to pick one thing to ban from the streets of NYC, I'd pick the cars. Perhaps getting them off the the streets would make the roads safer for humans and other animals.

Mr.Provanzano,just bought a new horse,and has plenty of donations flooding thru the stable doors daily.He hasn't made this easy cash flow in many yrs.Goes to show there is a very strong backing to support the Horse & Carriage services.Dr.'s,lawyers,and celebrities are waiting to help the stables and owners.Twice the NY Times published this owners plight,and in turn plenty of good people were more than willing to help.This yr,i heard 50 more carriages are being brought in to ease the high demand for rides this holiday season,as too many customers complained the lines were too long to get on.Another stable is being opened and more drivers are waiting to be licensed.

Have you ever worked with a horse? It sounds to me like a bunch of people who have no idea what they are talking about. [Blog editors' note: Several writers and activists at Friends of Animals have owned horses in the past; at least one of us formerly trained and showed horses. Yes, we have an idea.]

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