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Conditions at New York City's Westside Livery Exposed

From Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages

On Saturday December 5th 2009, about 30 stalwart activists braved the heavy rain and protested the conditions of the West Side Livery stable, which were the subject of a recent undercover report by Animals' Angels USA that was made available to the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages to make public.

Observing the international day of action for carriage horses - Horses Without Carriages International Day - the first Saturday in December, activists joined others around the world in solidarity to speak out for these enslaved horses. Standing in the rain on Central Park South, activists held posters designed especially for this event by Coalition member, Terry Russo, which showed pictures of the horrendous conditions in the stable. Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn carriages, founded in 2006, asked how the Dickensian conditions could be allowed to exist - posing the rhetorical question of "who is really minding the story - is anyone?" questions directed to the Administration and Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs, the City Council, Manhattan Borough President and the ASPCA, which has really dropped the ball.

Mary Xanthos DVM of New York City, featured speaker, said she found three main issues uncovered in the investigation to be most disturbing:

  • the complete lack of fire safety at West Side Livery
  • the lack of a ventilation system
  • the size and condition of the stalls

The "fire protection" is limited to buckets of sand...Really!

She described how in the event there was fire on the ground floor, the steep ramps would act like a chimney sweeping smoke to the upper floors where the horses are housed tethered to their feeding troughs. She spoke about how the combination of the stable's toxic ammonia-saturated air and stifling hot temperatures in the summer is extremely hazardous to the delicate respiratory system of the horses. And lastly, Dr. Xanthos spoke about the size and condition of the stalls - how they are much too small and inhumane, not allowing space for the horses to lie down, stretch and sleep; how the floors have only a small amount of straw bedding so the horses are forced to stand and lie on the bare floor.

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