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American Girl Place Responds to Friends of Animals' Campaign, Cancels New York City Horse Carriage Rides

July 26, 2011 | Horses / Horse Carriages
horse carriage

New York, NY - The popular American Girl Place retail chain has cancelled the horse-drawn carriage rides originally planned through summer after Friends of Animals worked with local activists and social media to halt the rides.

Last week, the store advertised package events for $75 that included a carriage ride from its Fifth Avenue entrance.

Edita Birnkrant, director of Friends of Animals' New York office, met with senior marketing manager Judy Herbst on July 21st, the first day the carriage rides were held "“ only to be told that American Girl Place "does not take a political stance" on the issue and that the rides would go on.

Friends of Animals members and supporters phoned the company, stating our intention to hold a protest. On Friday, July 22nd, a related petition on Change.org's website attracted hundreds of responses and pledges to boycott, which were sent to the company.

On Sunday, July 24th, Friends of Animals held an in-store demonstration to let customers know the wholesome image American Girl Place markets does not blend well with New York's exploitive and dangerous carriage horse trade. Holding a carriage ride event during a dangerous heat wave is especially outrageous.

By Monday morning, four days after our campaign had begun, American Girl Place released an official statement declaring the carriage rides cancelled:

Thank you for taking time to share your comments about the American Girl Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides. We value your feedback and appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. American Girl made the decision today to discontinue the rest of the carriage events and has no plans to offer this type of event in the future. We hope this information helps to alleviate your concerns.

"With that statement the store regained the good will of the many New Yorkers, politicians, veterinarians and animals organizations who are working to end horse-drawn carriage operations in New York City and throughout the state," said Edita Birnkrant.

Comments

What a great victory! People can...and do...make a difference! :-)

Great to stop the horsedrawn carriage on the Streets of NYC in the heat, but what fate will these horses face, once their owners can't make a buck off them? American Girl Place and its customers have the wherewithal to see that the horses get to retire to some decent place for their few remaining years!

it must have been in the late 80's early 90's i took it upon myself to visit the horse stable on 33rd st in manhatan. the person in charge at that time allowed me to go inside and see for myself the treatment given the horses upon their return from their long day of riding up,down and around the park. I was sort of impressed by what i saw but, wished i had the authority to stop the abuse of these animals. the horses were lying down and seems they had been washed down/cooled off. thanks for your concerns and stopage of this cruel doing.

it must have been in the late 80's early 90's i took it upon myself to visit the horse stable on 33rd st in manhatan. the person in charge at that time allowed me to go inside and see for myself the treatment given the horses upon their return from their long day of riding up,down and around the park. I was sort of impressed by what i saw but, wished i had the authority to stop the abuse of these animals. the horses were lying down and seems they had been washed down/cooled off. thanks for your concerns and stopage of this cruel doing.

THANK GOD! Maybe there is hope that all the NYC horses will be able to live in a sanctuary where they'll receive love, care, attention, affection and FRESH AIR! God bless ALL horses! xo xo xo xo

YEAH FOR THE HORSES! ISN'T AMAZING HOW LITTLE GIRLS CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT HEAT CAN DO TO A HORSE,AND THE B.L.M. DOESN'T MAYBE WE SHOULD LET THEM EDUCATE CONGRESS. FINALLY PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO LISTEN!

I am so happy to see they canceled the horse drawn rides, this heat is very hard on these horses, i feel we should do away with them all together. I wonder what kind of life these animals have and their treatment.

Oh thank the Lord! Next objective is to get the carriage rides stopped altogether.

Wow, i have been waiting for this. Every time people watch the horse racing on tv, i get so mad and get angry at them for cheering on, i think it's so cruel.I think it should be against the law, the poor horses. what they make them go thru. i think it's terrible and i always thought it should be outlawed. Many horses break their legs and have to be put down immediately, so sad. this is a sport for people's pleasure, come on i think we can find another sport that doesn't include harming animals. thank you for caring, i would love to help any way i can. thank you Susan

Wonderful. American Girl Place has taken a compassionate leap. Bound by servitude, carriage horses must endure the mean streets at their peril. They have no choice. Efforts to gloss over the realities of this industry must be seen for what they are, invalid arguments to support and perpetuate exploitation. Harvard University educated equine veterinarian Holly Cheever, D.V.M. has stated that horse-drawn carriages and motor vehicles should not share the same roadways. Haven't carriage horses suffered enough?

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