Center for a Humane Economy: NYC must stop carriage rides until medical evaluations are conducted on the horses

A horse is hosed down after collapsing on a New York City street.

Ryder struggles on the streets of NYC after collapsing during carriage duty. The incident has sparked outrage among animal-welfare activists.

With horse lying in Manhattan street for more than an hour, a reprieve for horses in height of summer is proper move as city debates use of electric carriages.

It’s time to take a pause and pull the horses off the street so an independent veterinary exam can occur to see if there are other horses who are similarly vulnerable to these types of breakdowns.”
— Jennifer McCausland, senior Vice President, Center for a Humane Economy
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., UNITED STATES, August 12, 2022 / -- New York City – Today, Center for a Humane Economy called for a temporary work stoppage of carriage horses in New York City to allow time for an independent veterinary medical review of the physical condition of more than 160 horses registered to pull carriages on the streets and in Central Park in New York.

The Center is calling on New York City officials to declare a halt commercial horse carriage rides the end of summer, Sept. 21, to allow for physical examinations of the horses. The Center has volunteered its director of veterinary services, Jim Keen, D.V.M., Ph.D., who worked for 20 years as a USDA veterinarian and was on the faculty at the University of Nebraska Veterinary School. The Center also recommends that an independent-minded equine veterinarian from Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine be selected.

“Recent events warrant an independent veterinary health and welfare assessment for the more than 160 carriage horses working in this commercial enterprise,” notes Dr. Keen. “Only fit horses should be asked to pull these heavy loads.” The evaluations would examine body condition, lameness, and diagnosed and undiagnosed disease and injury status.” Dr. Keen noted that the veterinarians should also examine feed and nutrition assessment and housing,

This move comes in the wake of a 14-year-old horse named Ryder collapsing at rush hour in the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen for more than an hour, while his driver repeatedly striking the downed animal and yelling, “get up!” reports the New York Post.

Ryder appeared exhausted from working during the persistent heat wave that enveloped New York City. The horse was downed and immobile as the driver tried to drag him to his feet. Onlookers expressed shock and horror at the horse’s overall health, as well as his treatment by his driver.

“The pitiful sight of Ryder lying still on the street, limp, ribs and hip bones protruding, visible cuts all over his body and whipped by the carriage driver has been a distressing image for people around the world to see,” says Jennifer McCausland, the Center’s senior vice president for corporate policy. “It’s time to take a pause and pull the horses off the street so an independent veterinary exam can occur to see if there are other horses who are similarly vulnerable to these types of breakdowns.”

The incident with Ryder is just the latest high-profile horse welfare issue. In June, a spooked carriage horse in Central Park galloped into oncoming traffic and collided with cars, injuring a pedestrian; a 12-year-old New York City carriage horse was euthanized after stumbling on her hind legs and slumping down to the ground after a single ride.

The Center has broader concerns about living and working conditions of New York City’s carriage horses, but comprehensive veterinary exams can inform the concerned public about the fundamental question of whether carriage horses are capable of the workload they are asked to carry. City officials would determine how the carriage horse drivers would be compensated during this month-long cessation in commercial carriage horse operations.

The Center for a Humane Economy is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

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