Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Traffic and Other Risks to Carriage Horses

New York City carriage horses must travel up to 2 miles each way in heavy traffic to and from their cramped and dirty stables. And it certainly is true that this city never sleeps.

An equally serious health risk is colic--the #1 cause of death in horses. More than $115 million a year is spent on costs associated with loss of use, treatment, and death resulting from colic.

Unfortunately for New York's carriage horses, the risk of potentially deadly colic is higher for horses who do not have turnout and don't get adequate water--conditions that were observed among NYC carriage horses and described in the 2007 city comptroller's audit of the horse-drawn carriage industry.

Eating at irregular intervals or eating poorly (ie, grains) are known to contribute to equine colic, and stall confinement also contributes to a horse's risk of developing colic--the presumptive cause in the February 2008 death of Clancy, an 8-year-old New York City Carriage horse. The city health department refused to disclose the cause of Clancy's death, forcing the ASPCA to file a Freedom of Information Act to obtain the records.

Learn more about appropriate care of horses
Read about the inconsistencies that were revealed in the city audit of the industry (2007)
Agencies entrusted with oversight have "dropped the ball" (City Comptroller William C. Thompson as quoted by The New York Times, Sept. 6, 2007)
Humane Society of the United States: Latest death underscores importance of a ban (Feb. 14, 2008)
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) supports a ban
(December 2007)
Why a ban on horse-drawn carriages is needed: Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

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