Equine freedom, but at what cost?

Seth Victor

The blawg has previously discussed the controversy surrounding horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Now there is the potential that those idealized tours around Central Park might be coming to an end. According to the New York Daily News, both major mayoral candidates poised to run the Big Apple support a city council bill to ban horse-drawn rides. There is a concern, however, that if the practice is ended, the 200 or so horses that are impressed to pull these carriages will be sent to their deaths, not to some bucolic retirement field further upstate. The article summarizes the issue.

My question to you, dear reader, is what is the best result for the animals? Place the economic concerns regarding the proposed electric replacement carriages aside. Assuming that no home can be found for these horses, if you believe that the horses who march around the streets of New York City are suffering and are not being properly cared for, is it better to end their suffering through ending their lives, or is life so precious that between a life of hard work and death, life should prevail?

We’ve touched on this question before, and it is a divisive one between different camps of animal rights. Please vote below with your opinion. I recognize that there are many answers to this question, but given the choice between the two (and if being forced to pick the lesser of two evils isn’t American, what is?), where do you stand?

15 Responses

  1. ..IMO, a sweet death for these precious horses is preferable to continued suffering…just so humans can make a “buck”…the ideal? loving homes for the rest of their days…

  2. What about a bill that precludes the use of new horses, but grandfathers in the current horses, so that they are not sent to their death?

  3. IF the effort is made, homes can be found for these horses. Death need not be inevitable. They have so many innate and trained qualities that would make them very desirable additions to a horse-loving family.

  4. ..agree ☺

  5. I have a very hard time answering that question, if they go to their death does that means there going to a slaughterhouse? There needs to be a compromise I remember being in New York when I was a little girl and riding on one through the snow with my dad who died when I was 18 I cherish that moment it was beautiful, but I think the laws need to be stricter, more horses are needed, longer resting time meaning they are not harness up the entire time, removed be able to rest and another horse takes over,done properly it can be a joy for the horse and people who enjoy riding on the carriages.

  6. Reblogged this on " OUR WORLD".

  7. Or, perhaps the entire quandry is simply the result of good intentions paving the way to Hell.
    The proposed ban was, I think, couched in rash appeals to emotion, based upon a few cases of irresponsible carriage owners mistreating, neglegting or abusing their horses. When a horse keels over in the street, it makes for good hysterical P.R. (particularly for metropolitan people unused to such things) — but it’s hardly reflective of the larger reality.
    Nevermind that the vast majority treat their horses quite well (after all, even from a purely cynical point of view, they would have a vested economic interest in doing so.) And never mind that horses bred for heavy pulling (actually, with the main harness and bar across its chest, the animal is “pushing” much more than it’s pulling), very much enjoy that activity. Much like a dog bred for retriving or herding will find bliss in those undertakings
    But then again, rational thinking and sober consideration of the facts over hysteria and hyperbole have little place in politics, and have not for quite some time.

  8. I don’t know where the Daily News gets its information, but the Coalition to Ban Horsedrawn Carriages in NYC, which has led this effort from the beginning, has assured advocates the horses would be cared for after the ban: http://banhdc.org/ Also, I’m sure Friends of Animals would not be working with the Coalition.if the horses will be slaughtered.

    I can’t believe it’s either liberty or death.

  9. …of course that would be true…thank you for reminding me that the Coalition would not allow the precious horses to be killed ☺

  10. You’re welcome 🙂 I too was concerned when I read the article in the Daily News, but I think the Coalition knows what it’s doing, and it has the backing of several influential people, including Jane Velez-Mitchell of CNN.

  11. Thanks Ellie – I too refused to believe in an either or scenario. There’s always a better way. Free to be rescued is just the ticket! 😉

  12. That’s for sure, there’s always a better way 🙂 Of course, Bloomberg would paint the worst picture possible, that saving these horses will mean others will die. I don’t believe that will happen because the Coalition has been working on this for a very long time; and it has already rescued a number of carriage horses who would have otherwise been slaughtered.

    If it’s a question of money, I think advocates will step up, whether individually or through other organizations.

    Unfortunately, I think we’re many years away from a paradigm shift that understands horses have a moral right to belong to themselves. So in the meantime, I think we have to end whatever exploitation we possibly can.

  13. I received an email today from the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages with links to the following articles:

    Forbes – Vickery Eckoff – 10/31/13 – “NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg Doesn’t Know Manure About Carriage Horses”

    Huffington Post – Kathy Stevens – 11/1/13 – “Sloppy, Slanted ‘Journalism’: New York Daily News’ Coverage of Carriage Horses”

    Huffington Post – Russell Simmons – 11-1/13 – “Whoa New York Times, You Need to Hold Your Horses!”

    And here’s Elizabeth Forel’s article in One Green Planet, published October 25, 2013
    “Op-ed: The Last Days of NYC’s Horse-Drawn Carriage Empire are Here”

  14. Thanks for the updates Ellie. Mea culpa for not getting the whole story. My point was to see where people stood if forced between the two options, but it’s good to see it will not come to that.

  15. Hi Seth, you’re welcome for the updates. I can’t even begin to count all my mea culpas, but I can assure you there are some big ones 🙂

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