Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ice Doesn't Count as Drinking Water

No public water readily available, poor hoof care

The treatment of NYC carriage horses is disgraceful for many reasons, apart from the fundamental danger of putting them into traffic.

Holly Cheever, DVM and renowned equine expert, has inspected the horses at work and in their stables, after which she advised Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council on what she found: a comprehensive and alarming inventory of poor treatment. Notably, she found that the horses were deprived of adequate water and proper hoof care (although Carolyn Daly has made the smarmy quip about their "special" shoes.)

Here is a portion of Holly Cheever's letter about the care of NYC carriages horses:

"During the several years that I inspected New York's carriage horses on the street and in their stables at the request of the ASPCA and the Carriage Horse Action Committee, I noted repeated violations of basic humane equine husbandry and care principles, as follows:
  • The horses were not given adequate water during their work shifts since no public water is readily available to them, and most were denied the basic presence of water buckets in their stalls.
  • Many horses were afforded inadequate hoof care and shoeing, adding to their likelihood of developing or exacerbating lameness."
Even more recently, the New York City comptroller's audit in September 2007 found similarly distressing problems. The audit specifically noted a lack of drinking water for the horses and said they were forced to stand in their own waste because of inadequate drainage.

Time to ban horse-drawn carriages, as many major cities worldwide have done. Call-in days are coming up on February 19, 20, and 21. During these days, it is critical that you let your City Council representative hear from you. Ask them to support Intro. 658, the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages.

Find your New York City Council Member
Read Holly Cheever's letter to Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council (2006)
Read about the NYC Comptroller's audit of the carriage-horse industry (2007)
Photo used courtesy of The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

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