Unfortunately like many people, we’ve seen the heart-wrenching video of a NYC carriage horse—12-year-old chestnut mare named Aisha— suffering over a 15-minute period before she had to be euthanized last Saturday.
This latest incident underscores what Friends of Animals has been saying for decades. You cannot regulate atrocities as some other horse advocates would like you to believe. The only equitable, sensible and humane solution is to shut down the industry; save the horses and take them to sanctuaries; and for the city and carriage drivers to come to an agreement about the creation of new jobs.
In 2018, Mayor de Blasio’s administration restricted the carriages from picking up passengers outside of the park. Last year, the City Council passed a bill to prevent carriage horses from working on hot days or humid days when the air temperature is 90 or above or the equine heat index is 150 or above.
Those regulations meant nothing to Aisha. Including Aisha, three carriage horses have died so far this year, according the New York Times, two of them euthanized after contracting colic, a gastrointestinal condition which can range from an impaction to a twist in the colon or small intestine.
We are disgusted by disingenuous ploys to let people think that regulations are making a big difference to the horses. They are not.
The horses still travel to and from their stables on the busy streets of New York City where most of the accidents occur. The drivers still make illegal U-turns to access the hack lines and still ignore existing regulations such as leaving their horses unattended because humane law enforcement is nonexistent.
Horses are still robbed of daily turnout, which is necessary for their health and happiness. Various studies link pasture time to stronger bones, better respiratory health, reduced colic risk and lower stress levels. Turnout gives horses a chance to fill their need for social contact with other horses—such as mutually grooming each other’s backs.
Horses exploited by the NYC carriage horse industry— who typically work for nine hours straight daily and are unable to flourish in their own way—will never triumph until the industry is banned and they are released to a sanctuary.