Monday, July 21, 2014



Carriage Horses are accidents waiting to happen.  Politicians and Decision Makers – do you want to gamble with people’s lives?
July 2014 -- The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is sponsoring a new ad, that targets

city officials and asks if they are willing to gamble with people's lives considering that humans have been killed in accidents involving carriage horses.  

 The ad can be seen in City & State, a publication that reaches government officials--decision makers who are responsible for public safety.   See P. 10  
In the debate on whether or not to ban horse-drawn carriages, the media and politicians have lost sight of a fundamental truth.  The very nature of a horse makes this majestic animal unsuitable to work on the crowded streets of NYC because they are serious accidents waiting to happen.  Although gentle by nature, at 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, they can become uncontrollable, unwitting weapons when spooked. As prey animals, their nature is to respond to upsetting stimuli in a fight or flight manner. Horses are predictably unpredictable and there is no such thing as a "bomb proof" horse. Unfamiliar sudden movements or loud noises will often trigger an innate anxiety in a horse, which may lead to panic and fear. “

Many of the NYC horse spooking accidents have come close to leaving dead people in their wake. There have been serious human injuries, including a few carriage drivers who were hospitalized in a coma. And of course, horses have died and been seriously injured in spooking accidents - but this does not seem to have convinced  politicians that the industry needs to be shut down. 

''Spooking' can happen to even the best-trained and well-mannered horse... there is no such thing as an unspookable horse, nor can the average driver control the horse once he bolts.'' said international horse expert and equine veterinarian, Holly Cheever D.V.M.


A few years ago, a carriage driver was trying to make an illegal u-turn with his horse, Oreo, on Central Park South. Oreo spooked when he encountered a big truck rumbling up the avenue. He bolted into traffic, lost his driver and ran up on the sidewalk - narrowly missing pedestrians. He continued to run down the street to 11th Avenue. That - as with Pumpkin, a recent accident - was a close call. 

When an out of control powerful horse comes running at you, he is not saying "excuse me, excuse me, sir, coming through." No - he is frantic and just wants to hot tail it away from the source of fear. He will trample you if you are in his way.

 For city officials to continue to allow this to happen is a huge mistake and very irresponsible.

In 2010, in Salzburg, Austria, a French tourist was knocked down and trampled by a runaway carriage horse who spooked and bolted. She died from her injuries. 

In 2007, there were two incidents each involving 5-year old girls and carriage horses that ended badly. In Tucson, little Brielle was sitting on a horse in a parade when several carriage horses behind her spooked. She was knocked from her horse and trampled to death. Later that year in St. Petersburg, Russia, another young girl fell from a carriage and was killed when the horse spooked and bolted. 

Here are a few other noteworthy accidents:
In 2012, in the UK , a Swiss tourist fell from a carriage after the horse spooked and bolted, and died from her injuries. 

Iowa - In 2010, horses spooked in a parade and ran into the crowd, trampling and injuring 24 people - some seriously and killing a woman passenger who was thrown from the buggy.  

This is PETA'S list of accidents around the world:   

Animal Aid, is an animal rights group in the UK that has been working on this issue for years.  They report that:  There are numerous documented cases of both animal and human injuries, sometimes fatal, after carriage horses have become 'spooked'. A US survey of national carriage horse accidents revealed that:
  • 85% of all accidents were the result of an animal spooking
  • 70% of the time there was a human injury
  • 22% of the time there was a human death


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