Thursday, June 10, 2010

A sure attention getter

The subject of horse-drawn carriages has come up twice, maybe three times, in this blog. Invariably, as soon as those posts appeared, comments began rolling in. I know if I want to get readers/stir the pot/prompt comments, all I have to do is use the words "horse-drawn carriages" -- and the network supporting it gets to work.

It amazes me how the backers of horse-drawn carriages claim the horses work for a living and not only that, they want to work for a living (when of course (1) the horses haven't said a word on this subject; (2) their mode of work is determined by . . . ta-da! their owners. Gee, what a surprise).

Further, the advocates of horse-drawn carriages never refer to snow and ice-rutted city streets where horses must pull the carriages in winter weather; they never mention car and truck exhaust the horses must inhale. They cite temperature guidelines determining when horses can work or not as if they're always, religiously adhered to and as if they're humane to begin with -- when neither "as if" is necessarily true.

It's about money. And the horses happen to be able to do the thing that makes money for the carriage drivers/horse owners. That's it.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Earlier today, in Old City, Philadelphia, a horse pulling a carriage was attacked by a pit bull. Just an occupational hazard, the drivers might be saying; these things happen. The sad thing is that the pit bull was him/herself a rescue animal, who reportedly was overwhelmed by the noise, traffic and nearby horse -- and attacked the horse. At this point, there's no word about either animal's condition; though there were passengers in the carriage, they were unhurt.

Horses shouldn't be pulling carriages on city streets. Period.


In A Gadda Da Vegan said...

Here's an idea. Let's take these carriage-pulling jobs away from the horses and if they form a union and demand their jobs back, we can talk about how much they love to work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Just this week, Shamrock Stables was evicted by the city (which was subsidizing it all these years by giving a huge break on the rent). City agency workers who went inside the stable confirmed that the stalls were soaked with urine, and no drainage mechanism was in place.

We were also told that the horses were being sent to other stables: Chateau and the despicable multistory dump known as West Side Livery (538 W. 38th Street.)

This is interesting, because recently the city gave the drivers a "raise" and signed off on some bogus industry-sponsored legislation that called for larger stall sizes (although the proposed sizes are still sub-standard and fail to meet basic humane and recommended best practices), according to the state's own equine care recommendations. In reality, the makeshift "stalls" at these other stables will be made even smaller by cramming more than one horse inside tie stalls.

Check out Animals' Angels investigation that shows the interior of West Side Livery. (google "animal angels west side livery" and you will find it).

Dangerous, inhumane, and corrupt industry, and sadly the city props it up.

Dave Shishkoff said...

Yes, I'm very familiar with all these comments, running a campaign in Victoria, BC.

Similar responses come up when you mention the hazards of traffic, endangering these horses. The response is typically something like "well, we all have to deal with it", as though no human can ever choose to leave the city if uncomfortable with the life, like in The Prisoner..or that city life is just as easy for equines as homo sapiens..

Alternately the response is "well it's better than dealing with wolves".

Somehow, carriage defenders always resort to the worst possible situation. Yes, there are all sorts of awful things that can happen in nature, but at least the horse has their freedom and independence, and has evolved to deal with them.

Of course this also fails to consider that we're asking these horses to be retired to appropriate sanctuaries, not 'let loose'. (Once more, a worst-case scenario assumed to be our 'goal' or the only possible alternative to having them 'work for a living'.)

It's very frustrating dealing with many of these honest conversation is nearly impossible with this type of intellectual dishonesty.

But i guess they have to try to convince themselves of this in order to force these horses into this situation, eh?

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent (Victoria, BC)
Friends of Animals

MichaleenFlynn said...

Perhaps rather than figuring out what and what does not "stir the pot" in cyberspace, you could actually DO something for a horse?

Yanno - like maybe adopting a slaughter-bound horse and giving it a home for the rest of its life? Or even just volunteering to muck stalls at one of the many places which DO help slaughter-bound horses in a real way?

Anything would make infinitely more difference to an actual animal than being a self-righteous keyboard jockey.


Anonymous said...

It is a constant battle with this kind of ignorance. Horses are a domesticated animal, one that depends on us for care and support, which costs a tremendous amount of money. Horses in an industry like this are expected to work because working or not, a horse is a costly undertaking. The argument that they are better off in a field somewhere is nonsense. Fields don't maintain their nutritional value 12 months out of the year. A draft horse, for example, requires a minimum of 2 acres to sustain it in the summer months. When winter comes, what then? Like our dog friends, domesticated horses would NOT survive happy and heathy if turned loose somewhere, anywhere. The Mustangs in the western US states have a hard enough time - add over 2.5 million domestic horses to their numbers and then what?

As far as working city streets - paved roads were first built in Roman times to accommodate horse traffic. Cobblestoned streets have been around a very long time. What is a relatively new phenomena is the automobile driver with no respect, no sense of "right of way" or a care for the "rules of the road". The danger is there because of the attitude that horses don't belong there, not because horses ARE there.

If you think for a moment that any well trained, well accustomed carriage horse is "forced" into labor, think again. A horse that doesn't want to work is one to reckon with. A horse unhappy at its job would not do the job.

I maintain that most of those who are so dead fast against the carriage and other equine industries have no practical horse experience. By practical I mean a day to day interaction with horses, at work, at rest, and at play, and an accurate understanding of the financial responsibility. Unless you do have this experience and knowledge, you have no business making an argument against the carriage industry. Your argument is just an uneducated opinion.

Anonymous said...

The horse traders and exploiters in the carriage industry have no real compassion for horses. No matter where they live – in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Rome – they are the same as if from a Gypsy tribe. They see horses as a means to an end … to make money. Horses are a replaceable commodity. If there were no regulations, they would work them till they dropped. That is evident.

The driver/owners can never understand the other side of this issue because they are unenlightened and mired in their own selfishness. They do not really understand a horses’ needs -- the proper space required, the need for daily turnout, the need for rest and interaction with other horses.

Your argument to the contrary is just an uneducated selfish opinion. It is certainly not a fact.

We have every right to make an argument against your “industry”. Times are changing and people are becoming more enlightened about the exploitation and abuse of animals. Someone has to protect the horses. Your days are numbered.

And that, my dear, is a fact!