by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: , .

When the news hit that a New York City carriage horse collapsed and died in the street while heading to Central Park, Lea Michele and PETA responded. Now, the Glee star is asking Mayor Bloomberg to take action.

According to Look to the Stars, Michele wrote a letter to the mayor explaining the dangers of the carriage horse industry, both to horses and humans. She writes, “As a New York City native, I was saddened to learn from my friends at PETA that one of the horses used by the city’s carriage industry collapsed and died in Midtown on Sunday morning…It was a tragic end for a beleaguered horse, and such incidents also put vehicles and passersby in danger. With the number of horse-drawn carriage accidents and related deaths rising, it’s painfully clear that these animals do not belong on busy city streets.”

The vegan singer/actress and PETA’s spokesperson for their horse-drawn carriage campaign, went on to ask Bloomberg to support the city council bill that would end the use of horse carriages and replace them with eco-friendly cars. “I urge you to support Intro. 86A, which would replace horse-drawn carriages with safe, vintage-replica electric cars. The eco-friendly “horseless carriages” would attract tourists with old New York glamour, protect carriage drivers’ jobs by offering them first rights to the car medallions, and allow for the approximately 220 horses currently working in the carriage industry to be retired to sanctuaries. Please join other city council members in supporting Intro. 86A.”

The cars have been proposed by NYClass, an organization working to end the carriage horse industry in New York. Their site explains, “This fully electric alternative is capable of carrying up to 7 passengers. With the versatility to travel at low speeds in Central Park and keep up with traffic on city streets, the vehicles are a safe and exhaust-free alternative to horse-drawn carriages. The eco-friendly replicas of touring cars from the early 1900’s will substantially increase revenue for the City, encourage tourism and be completely cruelty-free. These 21st Century Horseless Carriages will put a spotlight on New York City as the leader in urban ecotourism, creating a unique and memorable experience for visitors from all corners of the world.”

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • Frank

    Could someone please list the “sanctuaries” in this article which are willing to take theses horse?

    I personally pay $480.00 a month on board which does not include farrier, vet bills, hay, grain, dental (actually use a horse dentist), incidentals like blankets, etc..

  • Scott

    I was witness to and have a photo of an accident that took place on October 28th near 11pm. It was terrifying and the horse or people could have been killed. Here’s a press release about it, but so far hardly any media outlet has bothered to report it. And although there were numerous police on the scene as I was leaving: no police report. Here it is:

    on the tail of Charlie’s vigil, another horse spooks and
    crashes in Central Park
    Two eye witnesses plus photo of accident
    photo credit Scott Graham
    (photo exposure has been adjusted to increase visibility of the scene)

    Senator Tony Avella has called upon Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to take immediate action to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry for once and for all after learning of a new accident that occurred Friday night, October 28th about 11 PM.

    Just three hours after a vigil for Charlie Horse, who we now learn died a painful agonizing death, another horse spooked and bolted into traffic on Central Park South.

    A tourist from North Carolina, Philip Powell, notified the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages (who in turn notified Avella’s office) that he and his wife were walking by the carriage horse hack line on Central Park South – not far from Columbus Circle – when one of the horses spooked and charged into traffic – running west before he made a u-turn on the congested street – dragging the empty carriage behind him. The horse then ran east on Central Park South and turned into the park at 7th Avenue where he crashed.

    Powell was fairly close to the horse when he noticed him jerk his head upright and then bolt into traffic. He said it was quiet at the time. Powell told New York State Senator Tony Avella and us that “It’s an absolute miracle that the horse and no pedestrians were seriously hurt. The entire incident happened so fast and was extremely shocking. The horse took off at top speed and could not be stopped. He could have easily trampled a pedestrian.”

    When Powell and his wife finally caught up with the horse, he witnessed an overturned, damaged carriage at the intersection of West and Center Drive, just off Seventh Avenue. “When we arrived, the horse was standing, but trapped in the gear. Several men tried to free him. They eventually left after a man led the horse away and some other men were cleaning up the broken carriage. “The police arrived, joining what appeared to be a dark unmarked car with officials asking the crowds to get back.

    Another eye witness, Scott Graham, a New Yorker, returning home from dinner saw the end of the crash. “The spooked horse ran as fast as he could into oncoming traffic, narrowly missing a few taxis,” said Graham, “The horse tried to careen into Central Park at the 7th Ave. entrance, but skid, hit the curb and flipped with the carriage, falling to the ground on his side. The horse then got up and ran off again into the park, with the empty carriage still attached. An unmarked cop car followed and I showed it where to go. It turned out the horse crashed again into a curb. He seemed fine but tangled in the harness. They were trying to cu him out of the tangle. The carriage was in pieces. It was the scariest incident I have seen since coming to New York. ”

    “As prey animals, horses are unpredictable and can spook at the slightest provocation,” said Mary Culpepper, board member of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. “It did not have to be a loud noise. It could have been a shadow, an odd shape or rustling leaves that terrified him and caused him to run from the source of his fear.” “No horse is unspookable,” she continued. “This accident is consistent with what is known about the nature of a horse.”

    “The public would not have learned about this accident if it had not been for two vigilant and caring tourists and a New Yorker who notified us” said Elizabeth Forel, President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. “We suspect there are many more accidents like this that get covered up and not reported. Horses are prey animals and nervous, by their very nature. Running from what he perceived to be a danger, he became an unwitting weapon as he tore into traffic. It is fortunate that he did not get killed or kill anyone in his panicked flight.”

    The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages supports Senator Tony Avella/Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal’s bill in Albany to ban horse-drawn carriages. We join with the Senator in asking Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for an immediate ban of this inhumane and unsafe trade.

  • Frank

    All of the rescues and sanctuaries I support are completely overloaded due to the economy.

    Please list the sanctuaries cited in this article which are willing to take on the care of these horses for the rest of their lives?

  • Tara Stone

    I volunteer with a group of woman who work every week to get horses out of the “kill pen” from a south Jersey livestock auction. I personal rescued a draft horse from being shipped to Canada for slaughter. These horses are gentle giants that deserve so much more than we are giving them. These horses sell for an average of $300 and for $15-$25 at the New Holland PA Auction. Calculate what these creatures brought in from one days work and this is shameful! You can see the available auction horses every week at Camelot Horse Weekly on Facebook. Thank you for your care and concern

    • Frank

      While I support your efforts as a rescue and visited your facebook page. Bill 86A requires the horses to be sent to a sancutary where they CANNOT be ridden or driven (whoever wrote this section clearly has no knowledge of horse, if a horse is sound work leads to conditioning both mentally and physically).

      So again I ask the question could someone please list the sanctuaries that have agreed to take on the care @200 horses for the rest of their lives??