Horse Drawn Carriages
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Horse Drawn Carriages

Letters to the Editor

These letters are in response to my article You Can Lead a Horse to Water, If There is Any, published in Metro on 2/21/08.

2/25/08 - NYC Horses Can't Just be Horses - The lack of water for the carriage horses cited in Elizabeth Forel's article is the tip of the iceberg. According to equine veterinarians I interviewed for a documentary film called "Blinders," many conditions in New York City cannot be corrected in a way that would make this industry humane. For starters, these horses have no pasture. They are either attached to a carriage or stored in a small cell in a midtown warehouse. How can we deny these horses the ability to graze, interact with other horses and do anything that comes naturally to them?

Donny Moss  
Donny Moss is the director of a new documentary called Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition. Because it currently is being considered for inclusion in certain film festivals, it has not been released yet. You can view the trailer here.

2/25/08 - Horse Misery Sign of Bigger Issues - God Bless Elizabeth Forel for putting the facts out there about the neglect, mistreatment and environmental abuse of New York City's carriage horses. It is long past time for a ban of the carriage horse trade! As a voting New Yorker, the carriage horse debacle will decide which way I vote for City Council members, mayors and public advocates. The reason I have made this a deciding factor of my votes is because the cruelty has long been ignored whether out of ignorance or caving to lobbyists. If an elected official can overlook the abuse that is out in the open for everyone to see, then I've absolutely no doubt they will do nothing about more hidden abuses and problems. Someone with the courage and tenacity of Councilman Tony Avella, who took the trouble to look into this weighty issue is exactly what we need in New York City. We don't need anymore officials who look the other way or who can be bought with a leprechaun tale.

Susan Davis

2/27/08 - Drivers need to respect horses Queens: As a horse lover and occasional rider, I thought I was going to see a tragic end to one of those beautiful carriage horses ("You can lead a horse to water if there is any," Feb. 21). On 57th Street and 9th Avenue, a driver tried to catch the light and has his horse bolt through traffic. The horse slipped across a steel plate covering a portion of the street while running. I believe that if the horse had skidded, it would have been quite traffic, as there is building construction at this section and a lot of steel posts and pedestrians. Aren't there any guidelines? Isn't this endangerment cruelty?

Susan Varo

2/26/08 - Vet: Carriage Horses Suffering - As an equine veterinarian who has inspected New York City's carriage horses since 1988 and has also advised 15 other municipalities and states on how to create humane carriage horse operations, I am ashamed to say that New York's version of its horse-drawn tourist attraction is by far the worst in terms of the number of unexplained deaths and the grim conditions under which the horses live and work. The current regulations fail to protect these horse in their stables and on the streets. They are dying in unacceptable numbers and at very young ages, though the public is never made aware of this fact. Currently, the best that can be said of New York's operating conditions is that they may be survivable--barely--but they are never humane. Please urge the City Council to vote for a permanent ban on horse-drawn carriages, and eliminate this cruel 19th century anachronism from our 21st century setting.

Holly Cheever, DVM , Voorheesville, NY
Holly Cheever is an equine veterinarian, educated at Harvard University and the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. She has a lifetime of experience in horse management, including the driving of carriage horses. Since 1988, she has been the primary equine adviser for 15 other municipalities and states (including New York) that have sought knowledgeable assistance either to ban carriage horses from operating in their cities or to devise protective codes and legislation to prevent the all-too-common animal abuse that occurs in this industry. (source: HorseWatchNYC)

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