Protect New York City Carriage Horses

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Originally Posted: 9 Jan 2011

Protect New York City Carriage Horses

FROM Animals.Change.org, submitted by Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

ACTION

Tell New York City Councilmembers that Section 17-329 Disposition of Licensed Horse of the Administrative code should be amended and require that the owner sell or donate the horse to either private individuals or a duly incorporated animal sanctuary.

This will include a signed assurance that the horse will not be sold and shall be kept solely as a companion animal and not employed in another horse-drawn carriage business or as a work horse and that the horse would not be sold to auctions or slaughter.

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INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS

Even though the numbers are staggering, they mostly go unnoticed. The carriage horses continue to resemble a billboard - same colors, same carriages, same drivers. Time goes by. But the reality is that there is a huge turnover of horses in the horse-drawn carriage business in New York City. There are a little over 200 working horses at any given time and upwards to one-third drop off the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoH) rolls each year.

A recent analysis of the horse numbers over the last five years from 2005 through 2010 (acquired via the Freedom of Information Law) revealed that a whopping 315 horses were no longer on the rolls. The number is on the low end since the comparison represents a snap shot in time on any given date. There were many horses who came and went between the dates the information was received.

So where did all these horses go? Some of them – the favorites – may have found good retirement homes. But there are simply too many and most of them probably went on to auction where they were likely to be purchased by kill buyers who sent them on their way to the slaughter houses in Canada or Mexico to be shipped to Europe for many countries eat horse meat.

In June, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages found a carriage horse at one of the slaughter auctions in Pennsylvania. He had been thrown away like so much garbage. Working with Equine Advocates, we managed to rescue him and Bobby is now living the good life at Equine Advocates sanctuary. But how many other horses were not so lucky?

The problem is that the existing law allows the horses to fall through the cracks when they leave the system, with no accountability. Sale and transfer records are only required to be submitted to the DoH when the transaction is made within NYC, but no records are required if the sale is made outside of the city as most are.

We are proposing to the City Council that Section 17-329 Disposition of Licensed Horse of the Administrative code be amended and require that the owner sell or donate the horse to either private individuals or a duly incorporated animal sanctuary, with a signed assurance that the horse will not be sold and shall be kept solely as a companion animal and not employed in another horse-drawn carriage business or as a work horse and that the horse would not be sold to auctions or slaughter.

This is basically the same language as that from Intro 658 and Intro 86A, the bill that would phase out the carriage industry and replace it with vintage replica electric cars, which seems to have come to a stand still. So while we are waiting for the Council to act on this bill, which would end the industry, the least they could do is to save the horses and take action now.


Thank you for everything you do for animals!