Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No life for a horse

A New York City carriage horse's long days and nights are likely to be miserable, from the commute in heavy traffic to food that leaves something to be desired. And then, it's back to the multistory stables.
Video courtesy of YouTube member "DriversRunninScared."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Recent perspectives on ancient history

Horses deserve better; public safety is at risk
Thoughtful letter-writers have elucidated the rationale for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City. J. Hoffner (Grasmere) wrote in the Staten Island Advance that she has counted at least 22 serious carriage accidents between 1998 and 2008, including 5 horse deaths and 19 human injuries, and asks: "How many are required to count as enough?" Read her letter and others, in response to the Nov. 30 opinion piece "Setting the Record Straight on Horse-Drawn Carriages" by "Blinders" filmmaker Donny Moss.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the night before Christmas

no break for the horses
Another busy week for carriage horses, who in New York City were getting a lot of attention after a video from filmmaker Donny Moss showed them trotting on icy streets during a snowstorm, getting soaked by sleet, and eating wet food, while the ASPCA did little but wring its hands. If you haven't already done so, watch the video--it's a real eye-opener.

Also causing a stir are two videos from "HorsesinNYC": one showing a driver gone wild and the other documenting tourists being overcharged. All of these were much talked about. The kind souls on Care2 circulated the storm story widely, the Central Park Blogger commented on the cruelty of this outdated industry, and described the ASPCA as "woefully out of touch." Gothamist weighed in on the story and so did the Pony Tales blog. Meanwhile, two carriage crashes in South Carolina have sparked outrage (people were injured, but the cub reporter didn't see fit to tell us the fate of the horses). In Michigan, a 15-year-old boy was at the reins of a carriage that was struck by a car, a crash that injured the horse so badly it had to be euthanized.
Photo credit: Donny Moss

Support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City

Monday, December 22, 2008

Let the tourists beware

Holiday cheer? What a ripoff!
Tourists in New York City are always at the mercy of the con artists. Take a look at some bad business practices on the part of carriage horse drivers, brought to us by YouTube user "HorsesinNYC." This shows disgraceful and disrespectful behavior. And at least one driver has anger management issues.

Also view "Driver Gone Wild," from YouTube member "HorsesinNYC" and "On the ASPCA's watch," from "Blinders" filmmaker Donny Moss

Support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Learn more

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Driver gone wild

Thinking of taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park? Get a reality check before you hop in a carriage with this maniac. Pity the poor horses.

Video by YouTube member "HorsesinNYC"

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the ASPCA's watch...

The horses were working today during a snowstorm, illegally. This despite the ASPCA's early assurances that the horses had been sent back to the stables. Filmmaker Donny Moss ("Blinders") braved the storm to document the horrific conditions in which the horses were working. At his own risk, as you will see.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicago is failing its horses

New York City isn't the only large U.S. city that is miserable for horses. NBC 5 Chicago sheds some light on J.C. Cutters, a carriage company that since 2006 has received more than 20 citations by Chicago Animal Care & Control. To date, few if any improvements are apparent, and a recent visit by NBC 5 revealed horses eating hay next to manure. A former driver is seen saying in this video clip that the drivers referred to the stable as "the horse dungeon." See why.
Activists in Chicago took part in last weekend's "Horses Without Carriages International" day of action, braving bitter cold to tell people not to take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. This tradition is outdated, irrelevant, and inhumane.
Update: The city has said this week that it won't renew the license for J.C. Cutters in 2009.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Horses Without Carriages International

A global initiative helping horses
From Ireland to Israel, Chicago (right) to Boston, activists came out for an international day of action last weekend. Dublin (below) was all about educational outreach, and well-received! Chicago activists were not stopped by the freezing cold--they spoke with many passersby about the conditions under which those poor horses toil. More reports to follow from these groups that are being voices for the horses, who can't speak for themselves. A great day of activism!
Dublin, Ireland

Friday, December 12, 2008

From near and far, people are talking

About horses, that is
A peaceful vigil at Central Park on December 6 (photo) makes people stop and think about the plight of the horses...
and activists brave the cold to speak up for the horses in Boston...Ingrid Newkirk has a heart for New York's carriage horses...and Ecorazzi blogs up the spicy ad campaign that asks tourists to just say no. Legal troubles for a horse-drawn carriage operator in Galveston, Texas, following an accident last summer. The lives of New York City's carriage horses strike a chord with an equine rescue group in northern's a blogger that aims to set the record straight about the deadly tradition of NYC's horse-drawn carriages. Still a few more days to see "Fox Trot," the Kevin Hellmuth photo exhibition that celebrates horses (exhibit runs through December 17th). Finally, check out screenings of "Blinders," or pick up a DVD for the horse person in your life (or to hold your own neighborhood screening!)

"Foxtrot" is being exhibited at the Church of Saint Paul the Apostle (corner of 59th street and Columbus Avenue), 1 block west of Columbus Circle.

Monday, December 8, 2008

And a great demo in Boston

How many horses have to die?
Activists have united worldwide in a global coalition to ban horse-drawn carriages. A good crowd braved the cold in Boston on Saturday, December 6, during a peaceful demonstration to publicize the plight of the horses. We're told that during the 90-minute demonstration, people were not taking carriage rides! Read more in The Boston Globe, online edition.
Comment moderation got to be too much for, apparently. Seems this was a great demo! One of many that commemorated "Horses Without Carriages International."
Photo credit: Essdras M. Suarez/Globe staff

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No walk in the park

No walk in the park
Originally uploaded by mac6036
Images from Manhattan on a day of global action: "Horses Without Carriages International." The initiative brought people out in various cities to publicize the plight of the carriage horses, advocate for bans, and engage in educational outreach. A very successful and invigorating event at Central Park! Council Member and mayoral candidate Tony Avella, who introduced a bill that would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, spoke briefly and passionately about this blight on the city. Many people shared their support for a ban and wanted to get involved with ongoing work to get the word out. A high-impact message for people to "Pity the Poor Horses" and work for a ban.
Click on the photo to see more images

Monday, December 1, 2008

And another tragic death

Tourists watched in horror as Birillo suffered
A beautiful horse named Birillo died recently in Rome, after spooking and losing his footing when a truck sped close to him near the Colosseum, perhaps even grazing him. A crowd of tourists watched in horror as Birillo suffered and had to be put down. Those sad images brought to mind the painful memory of Smoothie,the New York City carriage horse who died in September 2007 after spooking.
Larger photo: Birillo, 2008, Rome. Inset: Smoothie, 2007, NYC.

Even as Birillo lay dying a few days ago, a global movement was gaining strength--an international coalition that seeks to ban horse-drawn carriages. On Saturday, December 6, activists in cities around will world will mark "Horses Without Carriages International" day, a united effort to bring this issue to the forefront in cities around the world. Anti-carriage activists in Rome, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., Annapolis, Md., Dublin, Florence, Tel Aviv, and Victoria, Canada are planning peaceful demonstrations to make it known that putting horse-drawn carriages in the midst of city traffic is irrelevant, cruel, unnecessary, and simply wrong.
Take action wherever you are on December 6, 2008, and all throughout the coming year, to unite with others who want to put an end to horse-drawn carriages in cities. Learn more about Horses Without Carriages International and the NYC day of action, sponsored by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.
More information to come...

Another unnecessary accident

This one in Argenta, Ark., where a transit bus rear-ended a horse-drawn carriage, injuring 6 people. Four children and two adults, including the carriage driver, were taken to hospitals after Friday's collision. The carriage driver and a 7-year-old girl were still hospitalized on Saturday, though none of the injuries was believed to be life-threatening. The horse, a 1,900-pound gentle giant named Ben, was said to be OK. More on the accident
Horses and traffic--a ridiculous and often deadly mix that puts horses directly in harm's way and threatens the public safety. Peruse some carriage horse accidents in NYC, and it becomes very clear that a spooked horse is dangerous to himself, to pedestrians, to bikers, and to motorists.