Letters & Editorials 

NY SUN  (not published)  

Dear Editor: The ASPCA┬« (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals┬«) is shocked at the New York Sun's endorsement today of the carriage horse industry, as well as the story that appeared last week announcing a vet's findings that the carriage horses are in "excellent" health. We believe nothing could be further from the truth. Neither the New York City environment nor the current law provides horses with the fundamental necessities to ensure their safety and well being. For years, the carriage horses have been subject to working in bad conditions-some even dying in traffic accidents-and the laws protecting them are not always enforced. Our position was underscored by an Audit Report on the "Licensing and Oversight of the Carriage Horse Industry" by the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and Consumer Affairs (DCA) released last September by the New York City Comptroller. The report pointed out the lack of required number of inspections of horse-drawn carriages, an absence of veterinary examinations in the field, the presence of too many passengers in carriages, and the lack of designated formal hack stands that result in horses often standing in their own waste without shade or water. It's no surprise that Dr. John Lowe's findings praised the horses' conditions, since he was commissioned by the Horse and Carriage Horse Association to complete his report. Further, your story says that horses were observed in stables, and not when they were working, which the audit report clearly states is needed. Your readers have no way of knowing how much time Dr. Lowe spent with each horse, what criteria he used to determine if they were healthy, or how many horses he actually examined. The carriage horse industry is an archaic one that has no place in the 21st century, let alone the financial capital of our country. Let's bring New York into the present and protect these noble animals at the same time. 

Sincerely, Ed Sayres, President & CEO, ASPCA