Carriage Horse Protection in New York City
When you think about horses, where do you imagine them? Nature has shown us that they need space, room to move, pasture in which to graze. Horses are social animals and spend much of their time grazing together. New York City carriage horses live and work under conditions far removed from what nature intended and humanity dictates. Big-boned, well-muscled and often docile in nature, the carriage horse is an anachronism whose life of hard work is hidden beneath the facade of romance.
Our Position The ASPCA believes that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in todays urban setting. In addition to the dangers inherent in working in congested areas, these horses spend their days directly behind cars, trucks and buses, inhaling their fumes. To ensure that carriage horses enjoy a better quality of life, the ASPCAs Government Affairs department works on legislation that seeks to improve the health, safety and well-being of all New York City carriage horses. In the meantime, the ASPCA will continue to enforce the existing carriage horse regulations to the full extent of the law.
The Carriage Horse Industry in New York City
- There are now 204 carriage horses in the city and approximately 300 licensed operators.
- These horses are permitted to work nine hours a day, seven days a week.
- There are no pastures for grazing, no opportunities to roll in the dirt, lie in the sun, run or socialize with an equine companion.
- When not working, the law requires that these animals only be kept in four-foot wide straight stalls. This does not provide enough room for the horses to lie down or turn around.
- Carriage horses are disposable commodities. Typically, they are purchased from farms in Pennsylvania for $600 to $1,200. At the end of their careers, they are often sold by the pound to slaughter- house buyers for approximately the same amount of cash. There is little financial motivation to tend to ill or lame horses or provide necessary veterinary care.
- It is illegal for a driver to operate a carriage when the temperature is 90 degrees F or above, or 18 degrees F or below. No adjustment is made to account for wind chill or the humidity index.
- After three carriage horses died during a heat wave in the summer of 1988, New York City Council members approved a law that greatly restricted when and where these horses were worked. But in 1994, the law was weakened by lengthening the hours that the horses are allowed to work and enlarging the areas in which the horses are permitted to travel to include more of traffic-congested midtown Manhattan.
Taking a More Humane Ride
- If you decide to take a carriage ride, please ask your driver to restrict the ride to Central Park. This will lessen the amount of time the horse spends in traffic and you will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the best-known urban parks in the world.
- If its a hot or humid summer day, wait until dusk or evening. A horse can get overheated quickly. If its 90 degrees or higher, please dont take a rideits against the law.
- If you witness any abuse to a carriage horse, write down the license plate number found on the back of the carriage, the time and location, along with the color of the horse or any distinguishing markings, and, if possible, the horses hoof number, which is branded on the front left hoof. Then call (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450 to report it. The ASPCA will promptly alert a Humane Law Enforcement officer to go to the scene.
How You Can Help
- If you are a resident of New York City, show your support for greater protection of carriage horses by writing to your councilperson, the NYC Council Speaker or the mayor at City Hall, New York, NY 10007.
- If you dont know your councilpersons name, call The ASPCA Government Affairs & Public Policy department or The League of Women Voters at (212) 674-8484.
- If you are from out of town, please write to the mayor to voice your concern and keep updated by visiting our website at http://www.aspca.org.
- For more information, contact ASPCA Government Affairs & Public Policy, 424 East 92nd Street New York, NY 10128 (212) 876-7700, ext. 4550.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals National Headquarters 424 E. 92nd St., New York, NY 10128-6804 (212) 876-7700 http://www.aspca.org Midwest Regional Office 1717 South Philo Rd., Suite 36 Urbana, IL 61802 (217) 337-5030 http://www.napcc.aspca.org Federal Government Affairs & Public Policy Office 1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 418 Washington, DC 20036 (202) 232-5020 http://www.aspca.org
Courtesy of ASPCA 424 East 92nd St. New York, NY 10128-6804 (212) 876-7700 www.aspca.org
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Posted on May 7, 2012, in Speak Up For Those Who Can't and tagged carriage rides, carrieage horses, Central Park, horse, New York City, New York City Council members, Pennsylvania, romance, The League of Women Voters. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.