Carriage Horse Drops Dead in New York

As if we needed another reason to denounce and condemn the cruel practice of using horses to draw carriages in New York City, a horse named Charlie keeled over and died in Midtown Sunday morning, igniting further debate and rancor about the carriage horse issue.

As is always the case, those who stand to benefit financially from horse-drawn carriages insist that this instance was an aberration and that carriage horses in NYC are well cared for, healthy and happy.

A spokesperson for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York said “It’s not something that happens regularly…Our horses are taken care of.” Isn’t it interesting that this is always the boilerplate that we get from spokespeople when an animal dies tragically at the hands of people who work it to death for profit?

Charlie died on W. 54th near 8th Ave on his morning trip to Central Park to work.

The ASPCA stated unequivocally that horses have no business pulling carriages in New York City.

Groups have long advocated for an end to horse-drawn carriages in New York. Their list of grievances ranges from the respiratory problems that horses endure as a result of living “nose-to-tailpipe,” the fact that they work long hours seven days a week in temperatures up to 90 degrees with no regard for humidity. They also say that the ASPCA doesn’t have the resources to even enforce the few regulations that there are on the books to protect horses.

The horses are kept in tiny inadequate stalls, have no chance for social interaction, don’t get turned out to pasture, they obstruct traffic.

The list goes on and on and on.

But even though the carriage industry is relatively small, they are well-paid and well-connected, so it will take a huge reaction from citizens to finally bring about a ban on this cruel, cumbersome and anachronistic practice.

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages held a candle light vigil in memory of Charlie Friday night at Central Park. They are also asking for an investigation into what killed Charlie.

There are no results yet from a necropsy to determine Charlie’s cause of death, but you can bet that it wasn’t a fluke or an accident. These poor animals are worked endlessly under the worst conditions you could imagine. The surprise isn’t that Charlie dropped dead in the street; the surprise is that it doesn’t happen on a weekly or daily basis.

Horses do not exist to serve us, and they have no place in a modern city walking on hard concrete and breathing exhaust fumes for nine hours a day in freezing cold and sweltering heat.

Take action now! Sign the petition to end horse-drawn carriages in NYC.

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The Deadly “Sport” of Horse Racing

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The Abusive World of Rodeos

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W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thanks for caring.

William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

Justingaberial J.
Past Member 6 years ago

Great blog post! I don’t understand how long it will require me to obtain through all of them!

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Kat, it makes a lot of difference! Just HOW LONG are A/R activists going to be demanding "justice" for a situation that never "demanded justice" in the first place, happened almost 2 years ago and not everybody even thinks was anything BUT a death due to natural causes, as was determined by a vet?

The horse in question was not subjected to cruelty for a lifetime by the person in charge of him at the time he died.

NOW, struggling to continue justifying all this nonsense, you're bringing up the WEATHER? Do humans have different weather conditions in NYC? What does the weather have to do with this? Personally, I wouldn't want to live in NYC, but obviously, millions do. Weather didn't cause Charlie's death, nor did the weather cause his ulcers in the first place. Let's see, now let's drag in the street gangs or maybe the Irish had something to do with his death at the age of 23? I recently lost a mare to cancer at the age of 24, and she never worked a day in her life. It happens.

Kat K.
Kat K6 years ago

P.S. TO MY PREVIOUS COMMENT: The horse might have had a long life, but it was not a good life by any stretch of the imagination. Just think of the weather these poor creatures have to endure, especially in the summertime in NYC and elsewhere~~not at all what I would call a good life!!

Kat K.
Kat K6 years ago

What difference does it make how old the article is?? This is happening every day and it needs to be stopped. Horses cannot compete with traffic and they cannot compete with abusive owners. This is a horrible existence that these poor creatures have to endure for a lifetime.

Kathy P.
kathy P6 years ago

So very sad that Charlie had to die to get the freedom he so deserved. Run Free Charlie.

Nicolette Lyons
Nicolette Lyons6 years ago

This is truly heartbreaking. These poor horses deserve so much better. I hope things improved since this was written

Winn Adams
Winn Adams6 years ago

This is from 2011. I hope things have improved since this was published. What about an update?

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Marianne, this has ALL been stated in previous comments, and unfortunately, you're entering this at a very late place..........this is a 2-yr-old discussion. The horse in question was 23, not 20, and he'd been used as a work horse for his entire life by the Amish........not an easy life. 23 was very old for a horse that has had to work that hard for that long. You say your horse is 11 and very healthy. I'd hope so!