By Edita Birnkrant and Dustin Garrett Rhodes


Friends of Animals, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, Heart for Animals and New York City activists are holding a demonstration and outreach effort to implore the public to boycott the abusive, dangerous and decidedly unromantic horse-drawn carriage industry on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, at 5:30pm. (Central Park South & Fifth Avenue, at the northwest corner of 59th Street.)

We’ll be carrying Valentine-themed posters with messages like: “Don’t Break Cupid’s Heart: Say NO to Carriage Rides” and “Give a Carriage Horse a Valentine: Freedom.” We’ll also be distributing hundreds of educational flyers.

The horse-drawn carriage trade exploits horses by forcing them to pull carriages in the chaotic, dangerous environment of New York City’s midtown streets- where they continually inhale car and bus exhaust. Horses are shackled between the shafts of their carriage, their vision restricted by blinders-often working in extreme weather conditions with inadequate access to water or rest, day after day. Complaints to the City and ASPCA about these conditions go unheeded, despite the ASPCA’s police powers.

Eventually, horses are either too ill, injured, or worn out from such a punishing existence that they can no longer turn a profit for their owners-and are promptly shipped to “killer buyer” auctions in Pennsylvania, whereby due to a loophole in the current existing NYC law, they can legally be sold to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico with no record or fanfare.

Friends of Animals, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates intervened in June of 2010 to rescue Bobby, a former carriage horse whose owners had sent him to a killer buyer auction-the last stop before the slaughterhouse. Bobby is now residing at the Equine Advocates Sanctuary; Bobby’s happy ending is the exception, not the rule.

Friends of Animals urges the public to support Intro 86A, Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito’s bill to replace horse-drawn carriages with eco-friendly antique touring cars-so that every horse is placed in a safe sanctuary once the industry is shut down. New Yorkers should contact their City Council member and kindly ask them to co-sponsor Intro 86A, and non-New Yorkers can write Mayor Bloomberg to voice your support for replacing carriage horses with antique cars.

What better way to express your affection for more than 200 horses exploited daily in New York City’s carriage trade than by speaking out on their behalf and pressing for their release? Please join us on Monday.

Posters and flyers will be provided.

Please write Mayor Bloomberg & Christine Quinn:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
Fax (212) 312-0700

Speaker Christine C. Quinn
250 Broadway
Suite 1856
New York, New York 10007