By Lisa Spector, Juilliard Graduate, Canine Music Expert, and co-creator of Through a Dog’s Ear.
It should be of no surprise that three carriage horses collapsed on the streets of New York City in the last month. Two are dead, one survived. Bringing horses into a populated, noisy, high-trafficked city is an unnatural environment for them. Forcing them to work 10 hours a day in all weather climates in our urban, human environment is completely inhumane.
On October 28, a horse got spooked and ran right into traffic. If his carriage hadn’t been empty, it’s possible that people would have been killed. A more recent incident involved a horse that just collapsed while working. Another horse named Smoothie became startled when she heard loud drumming. She immediately ran off. But when her carriage got stuck between two poles, she kept running and collapsed and died.
Mayor Bloomberg has been a long time supporter of the tourist driven carriage rides. In his words, “they probably wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t have a job”. In all due respect Mr. Mayor, we aren’t talking about guide dogs who are treated as family members. We are talking about overworked, horses that we treat as slaves.
I create sound therapy for dogs that includes a prevention and treatment program for noise phobias. While I haven’t yet created one for horses, even if I did, I still wouldn’t want them to live in the conditions that they are subjected to on city streets. I know that I go into sensory overload when I’m in a city environment for many hours, and I am able to orient sounds and know whether they are safe or not. A horse doesn’t have that capability. The screeching sound of traffic or a sudden loud noise can be terrifying for them.
How many more horses need to collapse before the carriage horse rides are banned? Will a person need to be killed first? Please sign the petition to Mayor Bloomberg to help end this inhumane treatment of horses in New York City. And thank you for expressing your opinion in a comment and by voting in the poll below.
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