Weekly updates about issues and actions concerning New York City's Carriage Horses

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17 June 2007 - Vol. # 35

New Zealand reports * Volunteer * Horses Matter * New postcard campaign * Horse Slaughter * Florida accident

Carriage Horse hit by Truck in New York
June 2nd accidentHorsetalk Equine News and Views - A spooked carriage horse caused havoc in New York City last weekend, breaking away from his driver and galloping away before being hit by an SUV, on June 2. Passerby Steve McNally said the horse galloped south down the avenue with its driver chasing behind, yelling "Whoa! whoa!" but unable to catch his cab. The young black gelding, new to the streets, fell after being hit by the vehicle. The horse "went down hard and its cab was knocked loose, spinning up onto the curb where it barely missed several pedestrians," Mr McNally said.

"I was on 55th Street, heard him coming from the north down 7th (it was loud), saw him pass with the driver running with him, heard him still as he ran out of my line of sight, heard the crowd gasp, and I heard the hit. When I got to the corner several seconds later, the horse was already crowded around and then standing again," he said. "He didn't look good as he limped away. Though he did stand up and limp away of his own power, I'd guess adrenaline (the naturally-occurring kind) had a lot to do with that," he said.

A representative of the Department of Health said the horse was examined by an equine vet, and surprisingly, said that although he "had inflammation, he did not sustain injuries." The horse was back to work two days after the accident. Another accident with a carriage horse occurred on April 13 at Grand Army Plaza, involving a horse being hit by a taxi.

Tabling on Saturday, June 23rd
teresaThe Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages needs volunteers to help get signatures on petitions to the Mayor and City Council -- and to hold posters. We table every weekend and could use your help for an hour or more. This is not a demonstration but an educational event. It is an excellent opportunity to help the horses and to see how supportive both tourists and New Yorkers are. Please contact Teresa at if you can volunteer. Let her know when you are available so we can ensure coverage. We and the horses will be grateful.

WHEN: Saturday, June 23rd, 2007 WHERE: midtown - information will be given to volunteers. TIME: 1-5 PM

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This article was inspired by Rags to Riches' June 9th win at the Belmont Stakes. Racing is the sport of colts and was the first time since 1905 that a filly won the Belmont. Many articles hyped up the drama about the event - the girl vs the boys - even making it a feminist issue. But this excellent article had quite another thing to say. Read it at the American Chronicle - "Horse Matters: Rags to Riches, Ruffian, Phar Lap and Hidalago" by Suki Falconberg, Ph.D. And while you are on their web site, read the author's other articles. She is a find. Now why can't any of the NYC papers employ such a progressive writer!

Falconberg discusses the brutality of racing, -- how "we have built an industry around an illusion: we pretend that the horses like to exhaust themselves in these quick, unnatural spurts, calling it a tribute to their 'competitive spirit,' when it is really a construct of our own egos." She goes on to talk about the slaughterhouse and how since Barbaro's death, there has been some mention of the slaughterhouse issue "but it was quite underplayed-for the obvious reason that no one in power in racing wants to disturb the surface of such a lucrative industry in order to discover the ugly secrets underneath." And no one in City Government (whether NYC or elsewhere) wants to acknowledge this reality either for all the carriage horses who work on the streets of NYC -- their average working life only four years. When they are used up and cannot work fast enough or pull an over loaded carriage of tourists quickly enough, they disappear. Few go to good homes. The reality is that not many people have the space or resources to take in a horse. Most go to auction - where they can just as easily be bid on by a loving family or over extended rescue group as a kill buyer for one of the slaughter houses. Falconberg continues "The brutality of racing does not stop on the track. Visit the slaughterhouses where the 'discards' of the racing industry go-those who are not fast enough, those who have no worth since they have not fulfilled their role as 'racing machines.' There are plants in Illinois and Texas and when the kill line goes so fast that the stun guns can't do their job, the horses are sometimes dismembered while still alive. Their eyes roll back in their heads with terror and pain."

horse in truck"Live transport' is another ugly secret. Before the horror of the slaughterhouses, the ex-racing horses are packed into trucks with other rejects: old, worn-out carriage horses who can no longer weather the exhaust of cars and the concrete streets of big cities." Horse's are overloaded in trailers and hauled for days and nights without food and water. Many horses die on the way to the slaughter plants. The picture to the left shows a horse with his legs stuck in the truck.

"That legendary bond between man and horse is a relationship of dominance. There is nothing glorious about it." If you live in a community that exploits horses to pull carriages - send this article to your elected representative. The moral and ethical progress of our communities depends on how well we treat all living beings -- not just people.

campaign directed to the Mayor
horse sideOur new post card campaign has gotten off to an excellent start. Since last week, we have given out over 700 post cards -- and we would love to send some cards to you. Our campaign consists of a post card, which is addressed to Mayor Bloomberg. This is the text: "Dear Mayor Bloomberg: On June 2, 2007, a carriage horse was hit by an SUV near 7th avenue and 56th Street. Nineteenth century conveyances pulled by 2,000 pound animals do not belong on the congested streets of a 21st century city. As a matter of fact, this practice has been banned in other major world cities, including London, Paris, Toronto and Beijing."

"As you stated so eloquently on Earth Day, "New York is the most modern and technologically advanced city in the world. But in all the key elements of our city's life, we are using 20th century operating systems--and sometimes 19th century systems." This 19th century mode of transportation threatens public safety, affects air quality in one of the most pristine areas of New York and causes noticeable suffering for the animals. It is time to take our heads out of the sand and end this outmoded and inhumane practice. I urge you to call for a ban of horse-drawn carriages in New York City."

These post cards are available to you at no cost so you can give them to your friends, family and co-workers. We will pay postage to you. Please e-mail us at -- tell us how many you want and provide your address. We STRONGLY SUGGEST that you follow our lead at our table (where we ask the public to fill out the cards and return them to us) to ensure these cards get mailed to the Mayor -- buy a quantity of 26 cent stamps for the cards you will be asking people to complete and then take the responsibility of putting them in the mail.

It does not matter where you live -- in NYC, Ohio or England -- we will send them to you. This is not just a local issue since tourists make up a large part of the people who take these rides. Your voice of dissent is very important. We only ask that you take responsibility to see that the cards are completed and mailed to the Mayor with the proper postage. PS - We have printing and assembling to do so please be patient - we promise to mail out your order within a week.

Judge Grants 10 Day Extension to Illinois horse slaughter plant
horse pulledThe absurdity of a foreign owned company - Belgian-owned Cavel International - operating out of the US, slaughtering American horses for foreign consumption and probably hiring a sizeable number of illegal immigrants to do this dirty work is bizarre. In May, Illinois Governor Blagojevich signed a law banning the import, export, possession and slaughter of horses intended for human consumption. But a US District Court judge granted a temporary restraining order preventing the enforcement of the ban while he considered a lawsuit filed by the Belgian-owned company claiming the Illinois law is unconstitutional. And now, she has granted a 10 day extension.

Two other U.S. plants, both in Texas, closed earlier this year. A federal appeals court upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter for the sale of meat for food, and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up the case. Even with these plants closed and the pending closure of the Illinois plants, horses are still exported to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered. The only thing that will stop this is the passage of the American Slaughter Prevention Act. Read the full Associated Press June 14, 2007 article at The

The ruling in Illinois illustrates why passage of a permanent horse slaughter ban is crucial. A federal ban on horse slaughter will shut down the export of horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. From the HSUS web site: Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your two U.S. Senators' and U.S. Representative's offices. Urge your Senators to "support H.R. 249 to protect wild horses from slaughter and cosponsor S. 311 to stop the sale and transport of all horses to slaughter." Urge your Representative to "cosponsor H.R. 503 to stop the sale and transport of all horses to slaughter."

Augustine, FL -- two injured
horse pulling carriageThe St. Augustine Record - June 12, 2007 -- Horse runs loose on carriage ride: Five visitors from Jacksonville had a wild horse and carriage ride in St. Augustine, leaving one person scraped up and another was taken to Flagler Hospital, according to St. Augustine Police Department. On Saturday at about 9:30 p.m., the driver stopped at Sevilla and Valencia streets to check on the carriage lights. Once he got out, the horse began running with the passengers still in the carriage, police said. The horse ran down several streets and finally slowed at the corner of Granada and Cedar streets, where the passengers jumped out. Three people weren't hurt. But one had an abrasion and another suffered multiple injuries and was taken to Flagler Hospital. The police department did not release the passengers' names on Monday. The horse was not injured in the incident.

"It Is Difficult To Get A Man To Understand Something When His Salary Depends Upon His Not Understanding it."
-Upton Sinclair

Thank you for caring about the horses, Elizabeth Forel - Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc. for the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages