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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

Hi Brittany, The horses in NYC pulling those carriages right now are the ones in the extreme situation. As for your concern to focusing on "preventing possible abuse," instead of banning the practice, FoA's opinion is that the very existence of horse-drawn carriages is abuse-for each and every horse, and banning the practice, and allowing the horses to live out the rest of their lives with dignity is the answer.

The events leading to Juliet's death are indeed terrible, but it should not be reason to condemn carriage horses. From what I have witnessed the life most of these horse lead is a good one. Any discipline, whether it be showing jumping, racing, rodeo, etc., has its share of tragedy that can be blamed on the actions of a cruel and/or ignorant few, but that is no reason to condemn the institution as a whole. I pay careful attention to carriage horses whenever I see them and have NEVER seen a horse in poor condition or badly treated, whether it be in New York or Boston or Austin Texas. I have seen plenty of horses in bad shape in other places, most notably in private facilities. My opinion has merit because of my extensive experience with horses; I own several retired racehorses, I have competed in show-jumping and eventing, I have family in the horse racing industry, and I currently live in a community (Austin Texas) where horses play a major role in everyday life. We, horse lovers everywhere, need to concentrate all of our efforts on ending horse slaughter. You can fuss about every discipline and find some merit in doing so, but that distracts from the problem that should concern us all. Please look at the big picture! [Blog editors' note: And you are suggesting that no carriage horses wind up at slaughter plants? In all seriousness, can you direct us to a cemetery for such beings?]

As usual those of you that are crying foul are so ignorant. You know nothing about horses or what to do when they are ill. If a horse is dehydrated, or colicing (both life threatening emergencies) the first thig a horse Vet will tell you is not to let him lie down, for that could be a quick death. If there is a chance to save the animal at all, then the horse MUST be kept on it's feet and walking if possible. Sometimes a horse must be hit, kicked, yelled at and pulled by the halter in oreder to get him/her to their feet, in order to SAVE their life. So get your heads out of your arses and learn about the subject before you open up your big mouths.

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