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PATCH ASKS: Ban Horse Carriages?

Bayside lawmaker Sen. Tony Avella says horse drawn coaches are cruel, and should be banned. Do you agree?

Some think them romantic. Some view them as fun and kitsch. State Sen. Tony Avella and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals believe that the horse drawn carriage businesses operating in Midtown are cruel.

The Bayside Times reported this week that there have been seven incidences with these horses in 2011 that were investigated by the ASPCA. A horse recently fell while pulling four passengers.

“This issue is clearly coming to a head just because of a number of accidents reported lately,” the senator told Bayside Times. “The industry is trying to be on its best behavior and it’s still happening.”

The report also revealed that Avella may be coming to a head with one of his own consituents, in putting forth legislation to ban the carriage rides. The Vice President of the Horse and Carriage Association of NY, Eva Hughes, lives in Bayside, and says half a dozen drivers and owners live in Bayside too.

“Sen. Avella has been made aware of our stellar safety record. He can say it’s dangerous all he wants all day long. The fact is, statistically, our industry is the safest equine pursuit,” she told the paper. “With only three deaths in 30 years, it’s not a good record; it’s an extraordinary record.”

“It is being proven over and over, year after year that mixing these horses with busy city traffic is a recipe for disaster," Avella has said. "The only humane thing to do for sake of these animals is to shut down the industry and retire the horses.”

Would you like to see an end to the horsedrawn carriage industry in New York?

Hamilton Barrow Willis December 21, 2011 at 08:36 AM
Forel- if you REALLY are SO concerned that "there are TOO MANY horses now, and not ENOUGH homes"-- Then WHY are you working so hard to ban the NYC carriage horses, and take away their owners' livelihoods and possibably jeopardize THEIR homes. Why do you want to make more horses homeless? And don't start that crap about the "pie in the sky" sanctuaries waiting to take all the homeless and jobless NYC carriage horses WITHOUT giving specifics. Where are the sanctuaries? How many acres do they have. Will the horses be stalled part of the time or on permanent turn-out 24/ 7? What kind of protection from the weather will they have? What level of care?--- are the horses going to be groomed daily or just thrown out in some pasture and their manes allowed to become matted, knotted and mud encrusted? Will the horses receive semi annual vet and dental work along with exams and vaccinations? What about hoof care and how often? What about worming rotation, which wormers and how often? Will these be permanent lifetime homes? How is this going to be financed? Where is the money coming from? Do you have enough raised to provide all necessary care and feed for each of the 212 horses for 10 to 20 years? How much have you raised already? And Forel, there are too many people like you who think you have the right to tell everyone else what they must do or must not do. People like you are the problem, not people like me. I have nothing to be ashamed of, how dare YOU try to judge me.
Hamilton Barrow Willis December 21, 2011 at 08:46 AM
Well for one thing, working in harness keeps a horse fit, and helps digestion. Horses evolved as grazing animals who were on the move off and on all the time. When a horse is working and moving, this helps its gut function better according to vet research. Also, this keeps its muscles strong and toned. Horses who lose muscle tone from lack of use often develop sway backs or become lame and are prone to arthritis or stiffening of the tendons and joints. And more obviously, a working horse has a purpose and is provided a home, feed and care- all of which a horse benefits more from having and suffers from not having.
Karen Keirstead December 21, 2011 at 09:54 PM
I've driven horses, and I've also visited the NYC barns. Believe me when I say that in my next life I want to come back as a carriage horse that is cared for by a one of the NYC barns. The showers in their barns are better than schools have, the stables are clean and roomy. They get far more vacation time than I do in a year, as well as more doctor visits in a year than I get in 4 years.
Karen Keirstead December 21, 2011 at 09:55 PM
Elizabeth you have no idea what you're talking about. People reading these post should first goole your name to find out exactly what kind creature you really are.
Karen Keirstead December 21, 2011 at 09:55 PM
They in NYC allow stables to be built in Central Park. That way the horses won't be on the streets. What's your agrument now?
Karen Keirstead December 21, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Rowan Morrison: did you know you can be sued for slander? First here is the definition of Sanctuary as it pertains to animals: A reserved area in which birds and other animals, especially wild animals, are protected from hunting or molestation. So please tell me (a Blue Star Equiculture volunteer) how Blue Star Equiculture is not a sanctuary. Please provide facts to backup what you say. When and where were horses rented out as entertainment attractions? I work there as a volunteer and have never seen that happen. The horses are happy, they are loved beyond any anti-animal person on this page could even image, and their care is above reproach. Blue Star Equiculture teaches about draft horses and farming at the UMass. What do you for horses or any animal?
Hamilton Barrow Willis December 22, 2011 at 02:56 AM
I am not a "stable owner." I do not live anywhere near NYC. I don't "work for the carriage industry." I am a carriage horse owner and driver who uses the proceeds earned from my special events livery to help care for and provide a lifetime home for up to eight older, previously unwanted hroses at a time, who were either bought right BEFORE auction, AT auction or donated here INSTEAD of going to auction. Because they wre older, they had an increased chance of being bought by a Kill buyer or slaughterhouse agent than younger horses. But thruthfully, it cannot be said they WOULD have been bought at the auction by a kill buyer. They might have been bought by someone else like me, or bought by a hobby farmer, or bought by someone older looking for a calm older horse to ride. As someone who works with horses, drives horses and has a livery, I am not going to stand by dumbly while people like you, and Forel, Alice Ruth etc. force your world view on me, and try to outlaw the use of carriage horses or horses in general. THIS is what your ultimate goal is, because Forel has posted as much herself.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Under no reasonable definition of the word "sanctuary" is Blue Star Equiculture, or any place that rents out animals for entertainment, a "sanctuary." Yes, Karen Keirstead, I am well aware of the laws for libel (written word) and that is why I am very careful to be able to support my allegations with facts. Here's just one of many examples of Blue Star Equiculture horses rented out for entertainment - http://www.equiculture.org/valentine-carriage-ride-2011.aspx
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:44 AM
The carriage horse industry is very similar to the circus animal industry - in so many ways.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:47 AM
1. Look at them. 2. How many times was MIchael Vick cited and/or convicted of cruelty to his dogs? 3. Sanctuaries (true sanctuaries, not the fake ones like Blue Star Equiculture) 4. Horse lovers. And people like Bob Barker might step up too, he just volunteered to pay for all of the transportation costs for flying three elephants from Toronto to California (hundreds of thousands of dollars) Glad to help!
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:49 AM
Karen Keirstead - hopefully by the time you die, there will be no more horses on the congested streets of New York forced to drag tourists around all day. Maybe you can come back as a race horse.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:49 AM
Hamilton's answer says it all.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 06:43 AM
@Laura Mcfarland Taylor - what is "not quite true" about the completely factual statement that "Horses are afforded no federal protection under the Animal Welfare Act"??? I can't help but shake my head at your expertise in twisting the truth to make it seem otherwise. Do you really believe the stuff you post? And although there is a federal law involving horses, it is for banning the sale, exhibition etc. of sored horses. Sored horses have an unnatural gait and constitute unfair competition with unsored horses. It does not ban the soring itself, so affords little protection.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 07:34 AM
Blue Star Equiculture is NOT a sanctuary - the horses are rented out as entertainment attractions - see, e.g. http://www.equiculture.org/valentine-carriage-ride-2011.aspx
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 07:36 AM
I do know horses and my family has worked with them. Horses are pack animals and want to be with other horses. It's very sad that humans are so selfish that they project feelings onto horses where horses "need" humans. Horses born in the wild do just fine without humans. Horses born in captivity don't have the skills to live on their own so should be allowed to live out their lives in peace on true sanctuaries, not pseudo-ones like Blue Star Equiculture, where the horses are still rented out as entertainment attractions.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 07:40 AM
Wow! Karen's comment below is one of the most untruthful comments yet. Horses in Nevada, etc. do just fine without human intervention - that is, until the BLM rounds the up and corrals them to make room for cattle to graze on government-owned land. Karen, you should be ashamed of yourself!
Karen Keirstead December 22, 2011 at 01:07 PM
I find it amazing those who know so little are the ones being so hateful.
Karen Keirstead December 22, 2011 at 01:09 PM
Rowan you are so clueless. You have no idea what a santuary is even when provide the defintion is provided to. You don't know the difference between work and renting, or education and entertainment. It would be in your best interest to visit Blue Star Equiculture instead of showing your vast ignorance.
Karen Keirstead December 22, 2011 at 01:09 PM
The comments made are talking about well cared for animals, and not abused animals you are referring to.
Karen Keirstead December 22, 2011 at 01:13 PM
As I said before your inability to understand the definition of Sanctuary, or to know the difference between working and rented is beyond belief. Your misinformation about domestic animals being able to survive without humans caring for them is astoundingly ignorant. The horses born into the wild are not domestic animals. I really believe you should invest in a dictionary, I think it would aid you in seeing the truth vs. fantasy.
Laura Mcfarland-Taylor December 22, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Rowan, this is a direct quote from the Animal Welfare Act: Sec. 2132. Definitions … (g) The term "animal" means any live or dead dog, cat, monkey (nonhuman primate mammal), guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or such other warm-blooded animal, as the Secretary may determine is being used, or is intended for use, for research, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet; but such term excludes … (2) horses not used for research purposes… Here’s the link to the act if you don’t believe me: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/awa/awa.pdf
Laura Mcfarland-Taylor December 22, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Rowan, horses are HERD animals, not pack animals, though they can be used as pack animals. There is a difference and if you actually knew anything about horses, you would know that.
Laura Mcfarland-Taylor December 22, 2011 at 02:57 PM
1. When I look at them I see healthy well-cared for horses. Where is your evidence to the contrary? 2. Michael Vick was under active investigation for several years before the search of his property in April 2007. 3. Which ones? 4. Who, exactly?
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:46 PM
@Laura McFarland Taylor - thanks for the correction, I agree there is a difference and writing "pack" was a careless mistake on my part. My point is that horses are social beings who want to be with other horses, whether you call them pack animals (technically incorrect) or herd animals (correct). They do not "want to be with people." I would suggest that THAT statement is much more of a misrepresentation than my error.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Agree - thanks for posting. I hope you're vegan, because cows, pigs, goats, and other animals are just as wonderful as our horses.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:51 PM
@karen - the horses born in the western U.S. are feral - they came from domesticated horses. Check out your facts before spewing nonsense next time and save us all some time. And so you don't get the chance to twist my words - no one is advocating that the horses currently living domesticated lives be sent to the west to live. There are true sanctuaries (not ones that still work the horses for $$$) that will take them.
Rowan Morrison December 22, 2011 at 03:56 PM
@Laura - I answered your questions. I can't help it if you don't like the answers. @Karen - no reasonable person would consider a place that still "works" horses by RENTING THEM OUT FOR ENTERTAINMENT (have to shout because you're ignoring that part - I showed you the link where the horses were rented out for "romantic" carriage rides on Valentine's Day, nothing "educational" about that, just pure $$$ for entertainment) as a sanctuary. However, I agree with you that animal abusers like the Kenneth Feld from Ringling Bros and the carriage horse abusers have their own definition of "sanctuary." Since the public supports sending animals to sanctuaries, everyone is taking over the word to the point where it really means nothing.
Karen Keirstead December 22, 2011 at 04:07 PM
@Rowan your remarks themselves show how clueless you really are. Renting Out implies that the use of the horses was turned over to someone else to use because they paid for them. Not true! These horses were working, do you understand what that word means? It means earning a living; paying your own way. Do you understand what that means? Draft horse MUST WORK to stay healthy. If they don't work they get lame; develop bone diseases; and get depressed. GET A CLUE as what a horse is. Have you ever in your entire life been near a horse or worked with one? Do you even know what a horse looks like? I know there is a part of the horses anatomy you certainly are acting like. How can you call yourself an animal lover when you stated that horses in the wild do fine without human intervention. THEY ARE STARVING TO DEATH in the wild; and you say that's a good thing. There are no words to describe just what an awful hateful and cruel person you are. You are an animal abuser of the worst kind, and the morse you write here just proves my point.
Laura Mcfarland-Taylor December 22, 2011 at 04:26 PM
I am also well aware of what the Horse Protection Act says – what I was talking about was the proposed amendment to that act. Here is the exact quote of what I said in an earlier post: “If you REALLY care about keeping horses out of the slaughter pipeline, you will ask your representatives to pass H.R. 503/S. 311, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would "amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes."”
Karen Keirstead December 22, 2011 at 10:24 PM
Here is the definition of Feral: 1. existing in a natural state, as animals or plants; not domesticated or cultivated; wild. 2. having reverted to the wild state, as from domestication: a pack of feral dogs roaming the woods. 3. of or characteristic of wild animals; ferocious; brutal. Once again Blue Star Equiculture by definition (your fantasy doesn’t count). The people of Blue Star Equiculture get NONE OF THE MONEY THE HORSES EARN! The horses earn their own keep. I realize this is a concept that is lost on many people. Draft horses need to work in order to stay healthy. Rowan you are the most uninformed person I have communicated with on this page. You have no idea about Draft Horses, and if it’s true (I and I have my doubts) that you have worked with horses in the past you should try it again because you’ve forgotten everything. You not only need to get a clue, you need to invest in a dictionary. You don’t seem to understand the words you use.

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