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BOTH SIDES: Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides Tours Safe, Humane Or Mistreatment?

August 25, 2007 | Horses / Animal Rights / Horse Carriages

Excerpted from:

The Hartford Courant

By DANIEL P. JONES
Courant Staff Writer

...."Recently, the state Office of Policy and Management gave Wethersfield a $25,000 grant to provide horse-drawn carriages in the town's historic district, slated to begin this fall. The project has been billed as a way to accentuate the rich heritage of Connecticut's "most ancient town." A more progressive perspective, however, would suggest that buggy rides are an exploitative and dangerous tradition that should be left in the history books.

...To expect horses to serve as vehicles in any traffic is unreasonable. The health and safety dangers inherent in the animal-drawn vehicle business have sparked a growing momentum for bans in many cities across the world, including Key West and Palm Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Camden, N.J.; Toronto; Beijing; Paris; and London. Even when confined to light or pedestrian traffic, as in the Wethersfield plan, horses and traffic can be a deadly mix.

...There are more enlightened ways to herald and preserve Wethersfield's heritage than returning to the days when horses were forced to pull people through the streets."

Priscilla Feral, president of Darien-based Friends of Animals

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Comments

I think this is very outragous horse are horses I believe in protecting animals, but that is what horses enjoy doing. We all work and that is part of a horses life. I love to ride horses and it is for years been something that has been done saying that carriage rides are mistreatment is just plan STRANGE.

A more progressive perspective, however, would suggest that buggy rides are an exploitative and dangerous tradition that should be left in the history books. …To expect horses to serve as vehicles in any traffic is unreasonable. The health and safety dangers inherent in the animal-drawn vehicle business have sparked a growing momentum for bans in many cities across the world, including Key West and Palm Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Camden, N.J.; Toronto; Beijing; Paris; and London. Even when confined to light or pedestrian traffic, as in the Wethersfield plan, horses and traffic can be a deadly mix. …There are more enlightened ways to herald and preserve Wethersfield’s heritage than returning to the days when horses were forced to pull people through the streets.

Jan, your post reminds me of mushers who think dogs enjoy running themselves to death in the Iditarod. I think it's a mistake to think horses enjoy pulling carriages because we enjoy the ride.

I agree with Priscilla. And horses shouldn't be used for racing either!

I feel there is a good and evil to most everything. Is it better to have a horse who is mistreated and starved, living on a beautiful farm or a working horse being well taken care of, because possibly it is someone's livelihood? ANY animal which is mistreated is WRONG. and EVERYTHING in our power should be done to prevent and prosecute the offender. Cattle spend their days leisurely eating grass, day after day, and yet they are then BUTCHERED so we can eat meat. ( no I am not a veg. I am just trying to make a point.) It would be nice if we could have every animal just be loved and adored until death...it would be nice if we could have every person be loved and adored until death..but that is a wayyyyyyyyy bigger issue. Maybe time, effort and money would be better spent making sure the places who did have carriage rides are well supervised and the fair and decent treatment of their animals are a top priority. Huge, heavy fines, lose of their business liscence, their animal etc. Many people will not support you on the abolishing of this business, or tourist attraction, but I do believe you will get 99.9% support if you approach it from a humane view point. [Blog editors' note: Yes, we would get wider support if we approached it from a regulatory viewpoint. This is because most people do not wish to challenge the idea they were brought up with: the notion that it's acceptable to dominate other animals for any financial reason at all, no matter how frivolous. Indeed, according to the pattern we invariably experience, wealthy national groups will almost certainly try to get involved and make the intervention into a regulatory agreement and claim to have brokered a win-win situation. We ask that people join us and support us, and make their voices heard, so that a clear message of respect prevails. This form of entertainment is on the way out in many places and we do not accept the view that it should be on its way in to Wethersfield.]

Allowing horse carraiges in traffic is inhumane and danerous to the customers if the horse bolts.. Besides, do you or the horse want to inhale all the fumes-- the horse will do it ALL DAY. It is a stupid idea of the mayor.

I believe this is a cruel form of entertainment. I have seen how the horses are over worked and tired but still have to perform. This is unacceptable and should be stopped just as dog racing, dog fighting and any other form of animal abuse should cease. It's our fault for allowing animals to be abused and it will have to take thousands maybe millions of people to take notice and stop supporting animal abuse by engaging in or financial supporting the abusers.

No horse is well taken care of if he/she is exposed to traffic all day, every day, or even once for that matter. Even elephants have been hit by cars in traffic and they are much larger targets. When the horses aren't taking tourists for rides, they are standing stock still for hours on hot or freezing concrete, not made for a horse's feet, in the hot sun, rain, snow and cold with blinders on, which in itself is cruel as it deprives the horse of most of its sight! Can you imagine spending your days with your sight deliberately and severely restricted? Blinders were designed to keep horses from panicking in traffic, a normal reaction that they are denied but we are not. Horses wearing blinders can't see traffic because their eyes are placed to the side, not like ours which face forward. They can't get out of the way of danger because they can't see it. So to add to the daily exposure to injury and death, the carriage horse is deprived of movement, shelter during the day and perhaps at night and most of his/her sight, and when he is moving, he's pulling a heavy load. Those horses that have their tails bobbed, "for fashion" can't even swat the biting flies off their bodies. There is also no way to prove a horse owner isn't providing enough water and food or abusing his horse at night. Forget affection, a place with green grass to run and frolic and the companionship of others of their own kind. Carriage horses have nothing left but the loneliness and misery of slavery to their owners for life, before finally going to slaughter when they are old and too tired to pull carriages anymore. These beautiful, sensitive, sentient beings have been turned into living machines. Anyone who thinks horses enjoy this, knows nothing about either horses or respect and kindness towards other beings. Horses are horses for their own sake. They owe us nothing. In fact, it's the other way around.

all i gotta say is i think you people have read Black Beauty way too much. I own, train and care for horses and i know people that use their animals for carriage work. pay BIG bucks to take care of the animals and to make sure they are well looked after. let me let you in on a little secret folks, these are living, breathing, 1500lb creatures that have a free will. if the horse did not trust the caregiver to hitch em up and to ASK them to preform a certain job, you better be sure as the sun that animal WILL NOT DO IT. they will rear, buck kick and paw anyone they see as a threat. give a little credit to the carrage drivers as well. if they know the animal and have spent the time creating that special bond with the horse, dont you think they would take care of their babies? yes they would. If there wasnt trust in the driver, that horse would never take a step forward. special shoes for the concrete, top of the line fly spray, blankets for when it rains. i could go on and on...there WILL be some baddies, but for the most part if they didnt love the animal, they wouldnt shovel out the cash it costs to care for them. some horses like to work. i have a 4 yr old gelding that gets SO mad when i pull another horse out for a ride, he runs up pushes her out of the way and tries to shove his nose in the halter! i kid you not, if i didnt own the horse i would say there is no such thing, but yea its true. when im out there its like im his best friend. first to come when i call and last to leave the gate when i go in. let me also tell you, its WAY more cruel to have a horse penned up all day instead of letting it out to move, and i mean ALOT. you will see horses that people "pamper", have picked up habbits of stall weaving, cribbing and pacing in a circle. cause these creatures are nomatic. meaning that they like to move alot. they like to stay busy and on a set schule. that combined with good feed. a good scratch and a strong understanding of equine nature, the partnership between a horse and his driver is one of trust and friendship. for a horse that likes his job look for a glossy coat, nice trimmed feet and a spring in his step. All in all i agree with sandy brown. have the drivers follow certain guidelines and thus cutting down on the horse owners that dont deserve to have a carrage licence. Oh by the way, bobbing the tail was orgnialy done so the horse would not get it caught in the rigging, causing the horses tailbone to break. its decidedly looked down apoun in the horse world, so yea you will see some bobbed tails, but be assured that horse owners are moving steadly away from the practice. ty for your time to read this. ~ a horse lover ~ [Blog editors' note: You don't mention that horses are broken in order to stop them from doing what they naturally do: resist and buck. They must please the owner, or they'll usually be sold off for whatever purpose makes for the best return on the owner's investment. You do say "if they didn't love the animal, they wouldnt shovel out the cash it costs to care for them." You are aware, are you not, that there is money in the carriage industry? There's a $25,000 grant already approved for this in Wethersfield, and that doesn't get into the potential for regular paying customers and tips. And we are reading Black Beauty? ]

I guess I don't understand what your stand is on domestic animals at all. Sounds like we should feed them and care for them but not do anything to them but look at them..oh wait, how will we get the horse to stand still so we can trim his feet..they don't wear off enough in captivity ..and they don't always wear off correctly in the wild. How will we get them to allow us to deworm them or medicate them if we don't teach them anything? I think it a shame that you have not kept up with horse training techniques. Most horses are not "broken" these days just as human children no longer have their hands slapped with rulers, nor are they spanked with wodden paddles (board of education). They are handled much differently than in the days of "breaking" horses. They are imprinted on humans at a young age and handled with gentleness and shown things do not harm them and how to work with us. While I am pretty certain you folks seem to have made up your mind that that is impossible, I am with Al, that most horses (yeah, even dogs and cats) enjoy being with humans and doing things with them. If you call it subjigating them, please explain more. Am I subjigating other humans when I have them make me a dinner at a resteraunt? Am I subjigating all the factory workers who build cars, computers etc. Should we turn them all domestic animals loose and let them fend for themselves? Many domesticated horses would not do well on the open range. Where will they get their water in the winter?(certainly no heated water buckets in the wild in Minnesota or other northern states or Canada). What about food and medical care and shelter? Should we destroy them all, since we can't really take care of them withut "subjigating them" to our will. Priscilla Feral, FoA President, responds: Free-living horses do eke out a living on public lands and that's where they belong. Today in Alaska, I was told that a kid's camp gives the horses they no longer use to mushers -- meaning they're shot to death for dog food. Horses are not faring well when they end up in private hands, and leaving our hands off them is the ultimate challenge.

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