When I was 11, my family visited New York City and I really wanted to ride in one of the horse-drawn carriages circling Central Park. I loved horses at the time (still do) and would do anything to get close to one, even if it meant the horse would just pull me around the park.
Young me (along with many other tourists and even New Yorkers) could never have imagined the cruelty behind such a wholesome-seeming activity. But behind the old-timey carriages with the red velvet seats and the charming flower-adorned top hats of the carriage drivers, there lurks an industry that’s just plain cruel to the horses.
Join us in the fight to end the abuse of New York City carriage horses.
Momentum is growing behind a movement to end to these outdated, inhumane carriage rides and stop the abuse of New York City horses. Lea Michele, from the TV series Glee, joined this effort and stars in a short video about the reality of the horse carriage industry:
As Lea explains, these horses are out pulling carriages even if it’s sweltering hot or freezing cold. They breath exhaust fumes all day, and at night are taken to midtown buildings never meant to house horses. The horses perform backbreaking labor all day only to climb steep stairs to an often feces-filled “stall.” where they’re regularly tied to their trough and can’t lie down comfortably to get the rest they need.
What Lea doesn’t mention is the desperate attempt of the carriage drivers to keep the reality of their industry under wraps. On a more recent trip to New York, my friends and I were walking past the carriages and, after a driver called to us in attempts to take us for a ride, my friend shouted back to him that we wouldn’t because the the horses [in the New York City horse-drawn carriage industry] were treated cruelly. That charming driver turned into a snarling, cursing maniac faster than you could say “two-faced.” I’m not saying that every carriage driver is a jerk, but this driver’s reaction to my friend’s words tells me the horse carriage industry has something to hide, and they’ll try desperately to keep the public — potential customers — from getting wind of the abuse the cute horsies face.
New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) is a group spear-heading the movement against New York City horse-drawn carriages, and they have an idea for a carriage alternative that would keep with the romantic, nostalgic feeling of the carriage rides: 100% electric, 1920s-era replica classic cars. Not only would these cars be environmentally-friendly, they’d allow a similar feeling of “yesteryear” and fun that people get from the carriage rides — and most importantly, they’d end the abuse of horses in New York City.
NYCLASS wants to get 30,000 New Yorkers supporting the end of New York City carriage horse abuse by St. Patrick’s Day. Together, we can make a difference and end this cruelty!
Join the movement: sign this petition telling the New York City Council to replace the horse carriages with eco-friendly classic cars and spread the word about the cruelty behind the carriage horse industry.
Photo via NYCLASS