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LCA Blog

Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

Horse Drawn Carriages - An Industry of Cruelty

HorseDownWhen visiting iconic cities such as New York or London, many tourists are enchanted by the sight of horse-drawn carriages. These carriages line the streets, taking visitors and locals on tours across the city. Seemingly a delightful activity fit for romantic dates and authentic big city experiences, the reality of this industry is one of unfathomable cruelty and shocking abuse.

The act of pulling numerous passengers in large stagecoaches in an urban environment is beyond uncomfortable, it is miserable. Horses exploited by the carriage industry are constantly subjected to harsh conditions and receive substandard care. From baking in the scorching sun for hours at a time, to working in below freezing temperatures—horses are forced to endure the anguish of extreme weather conditions. Due to the exhaust fumes inhaled while working in congested traffic, horses typically experience severe respiratory problems. Many horses also face debilitating leg injuries caused by constantly walking on hard pavement. The humane treatment of horses is not possible in an industry that forces these sensitive and excitable animals to walk amongst speeding cars, motorcycles, and mass transit.  The carriage industry is a terrifying place for horses, and they deserve so much better.

Because of the horrific conditions that these animals face, it is no surprise that horses routinely attempt to escape. In recent months, there have been numerous accounts of frightened horses frantically trying to break free from carriages. This has led to the injury and death of several horses.

In addition to fatalities caused by physical trauma, many horses in the carriage industry are dying from illness or injury. In Memphis, Tennessee, a horse died in the street after suffering from severe muscle cramps. In St. Charles, Missouri, a horse became so terrified while being loaded into a trailer that he ran directly into the Missouri River, plunging to his death.

Alarmingly common and entirely preventable, these tragic deaths are not isolated incidents. The horse carriage industry is marred by extreme neglect and brutality.  LCA has long campaigned against horse-drawn carriages and conducted an undercover investigation into New York City horse carriages—one of the largest cities that still allows this archaic trade. Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council refuse to hold the horse carriage operators responsible for the neglect and mistreatment of horses and allow this cruel trade to continue.   

Take a stand against animal cruelty by refusing to ride in a horse-drawn carriage and informing others why they should boycott this industry as well.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Never take a horse-drawn carriage ride
  • If you witness a horse used for carriage ride who is suffering, report it to local law enforcement
  • If you live in a city with a horse carriage industry, contact your city council member and ask them to ban this cruel trade
  • Contact New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and urge him to finally put an end to horse-drawn carriages
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