Friday, June 5, 2009

It happened in New York City

The New York City carriage industry doesn't want tourists to know the truth about the way the horses live and die. One driver in particular is very vocal in shouting down activists, who sometimes show photographic evidence of some of the horses who have died on the job in New York City. Don't be surprised if you see a driver denying the number of horse fatalities, saying they didn't happen in New York, or otherwise decrying as propaganda the facts that are well-documented. These drivers are banking on the ignorance of tourists, most of whom know nothing of the sad history of this industry.

For the sake of balance, this photo by Vito Torelli reminds of a terrible day--and a terrible summer--in New York City history. The August 26, 1991, headline in Newsday read: "Death of Carriage Horse Probed, Same Owner Had One Die 2 Weeks Ago," and the newspaper reported that colic was the presumptive cause in both cases. The New York Times reported the story of the horse who collapsed in Central Park under the headline: "Carriage Horse Treated, Killed, Left for Sanitation Men."

Colic is a leading cause of death for all horses, and particularly for overworked and underwatered carriage horses. They face great danger every day on busy streets, and their health suffers greatly in a number of ways. The very few fortunate horses who are rescued at auction after they can no longer turn a profit are generally in very poor condition, but surely grateful to escape the end-of-the-line auctions where the killer buyers are standing by.