Of Horse

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Horse-Drawn Carriages
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Horse-Drawn Carriages

Alec Baldwin, star of 30 Rock and well-known vegetarian (click here for his video against circuses using animals), will have to shoot a scene in a horse-drawn carriage and only accepted to do so because they are allowing his character, Jack Donaghy, to say: “Rolling torture wagons for nature’s most dignified creature.” Jack then goes on to explain why by detailing it from the horse’s point of view.

Toronto, London and Paris have already outlawed this practice and there are several activists lobbying against New York to oblige and do the same. Intr. 86a, the bill that will replace horse-drawn carriages with eco-friendly replica cars, is the bill they are fighting to pass in the City Council. Alec is amongst those trying to bring change to support the plight of a working-class horse that isn’t treated fairly. If you wish to take part, sign NYCLASS' petition.

The reason this is a practice that animal rights activists are lobbying against is that no matter how you look at it, the horses suffer. They are working hard to pull these carriages and the load is at times too much for them. They often don’t receive sufficient water and shade on hot summer days and, even when the owner is giving them adequate amounts, they end up breathing gas fumes the entire time they are on the road. Furthermore, their hooves are not meant to pound pavements for long periods of time and it causes their entire legs irreversible damage, not to mention the fact that these seemingly strong beasts get frightened easily and often get into accidents because of a car horn, putting the lives of everyone in the motor vehicle and the carriage in danger, along with its own life.

If there are horse-drawn carriages in your city, please explain these details to the owners and ask them gently to reconsider.


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  1. naturegirl
    I already knew about this, and am voting in support. Thank you for writing an article that expresses the troubles these animals go through.
  2. PonyGirl
    While I applaud your concern for the welfare of horses and while I certainly think the carriage industry should be regulated, I believe saying that all horses who pull a carriage are abused is quite an overstatement of fact. Just as it is easier for us to carry weight in a wheelbarrow than by hand, it is actually easier for a horse to pull weight than to carry it. Once the carriage is moving, the weight is negligible. If the horse (or team) is the proper size for the type of conveyance he is pulling, if he is well-fed, fit and sound, then pulling a carriage is a far cry from abuse. If the harness is rubbing sores on the horse, this is abuse. If the horse is breathing hard or is lathered up, this is definitely abuse. If the horse is not offered water, again- this is abuse. But the mere fact of pulling a carriage is not abuse. There are special shoes that horses on pavement can wear that helps them from slipping and cushions their legs. Some horses, due to conformation, may not be cut out to be harness horses. If their legs show signs of strain, of course they should not be used. But if they are sound, especially the large draft horses who have been specifically bred for hundreds of years to pull wagons, and if they are well taken care of, then pulling a wagon is not damaging to them either mentally or physically.

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