A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

NYC Carriage Horses – from the Frying Pan into the Fire?


Good news: The carriage horses of New York City may soon all be retired. New York’s top two mayoral candidates, Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota, are both supporting a bill to ban horse-drawn rides.

Bad news: No one is sure what would happen to the horses after that.

Public opinion is firmly against the inhumane practice of horses taking witless tourists on rides through the crowded streets of Midtown Manhattan. So, will the 200 horses soon find themselves on nice pastures upstate?

In fact, they could end up being slaughtered.

Up to 100,000 homeless horses from all over the country are already being sent to Canada and Mexico each year to be slaughtered. (Slaughtering them in the U.S. is currently banned, but there’s pressure from various lobbies to change that.)

In other words, the horses have to pay their way and work till they drop.

So the argument we’re hearing is that adding another 200 to the waiting list for good homes is not a good idea. Not surprisingly, the carriage horse owners are the strongest proponents of that view.

“Horses that have jobs are the last horses that get neglected,” carriage driver Christina Hansen told the New York Daily News. “It’s the horses that don’t have jobs that we’re seeing shipped to slaughter.”

In other words, the horses have to pay their way and work till they drop.

horse-collapses-103013It costs at least $200 a month to care for one retired horse – close to $500,000 a year for all of them. Plus maybe $1,000 for each horse to be purchased from their slave-owners.

Animal protection groups are trying to raise the funds.

“We’ll raise whatever’s needed to take care of every single horse,” insists Allie Feldman of NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets). But the group apparently isn’t yet within sight of its goal.

But what’s wrong with this picture? Why does it fall on a small charity (or even a big one) to provide for these horses?

Is New York City truly telling us that the horses who have spent their lives – generations of them – as slaves to the city’s massive tourist industry, can just be tossed aside and sent to Canada or Mexico to be killed?

What does it mean when a single Wall Street bank (JP Morgan, whose chairman went home with $18.7 million last year) can afford to pay a $13-billion settlement (out of a profit of approx. $22 billion last year) without turning a hair, while horses who have labored their whole lives up and down those city streets are killed for lack of what is not even pocket change to one of those businesses – and infinitesimal to the city overall?

What’s wrong with this picture? What does it say that killing these horses can even be considered as an option?