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.