Horses forced to pull carriages suffer for an archaic practice that is a danger to horses and humans alike. This inhumane industry continues in many tourist destinations, including Manila, Jakarta, New York City, the Gili Islands, and Melbourne, where countless horses are treated like equipment.
Forcing horses to pull oversized loads is cruel. Horses are forced to toil in all weather extremes, dodge traffic, and pound the pavement all day long. These animals often suffer from respiratory ailments because they breathe exhaust fumes, and they can develop debilitating leg problems from walking on concrete and asphalt. In the scorching heat, horses can quickly become dehydrated.
Accidents Waiting to Happen
Horses are extremely sensitive to loud noises and unexpected sounds—and hectic city streets have plenty of both. Horses don’t get “used to” being in close proximity to throngs of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles. People and horses have been seriously hurt—some fatally—when horses have become spooked and bolted.
There have been many incidents in which impatient or careless drivers have hit carriages—a deadly reminder that horses don’t belong in city traffic.
Horses in this industry are constantly walking and standing on hard surfaces, which almost inevitably causes damage to their hooves. Many eventually become lame. These painful conditions are often ignored by owners or drivers, who may be incapable of recognizing a horse’s distress or are unwilling to lose a few days of work to allow the horse to rest or heal.
Horses walk with their heads lowered, meaning that the exhaust fumes from urban traffic are inescapable. With their heads only 1 or 1.5 meters above street level, these sensitive animals truly live a nose-to-tailpipe existence.
At the end of the day, horses who have been forced to labor in scorching heat, congested traffic, and often without adequate water are taken to appalling holding facilities to await the next day of grueling toil. PETA India investigations have exposed conditions of horses being kept in filthy and decrepit stables, bound by their legs, forced to stand in their own waste, and denied fresh food and water.
What You Can Do
If you live in a city where carriages are allowed, contact your local legislators to ask them to propose legislation to ban them.
Never ride in a horse-drawn carriage, and speak out against this cruel industry by politely voicing your objections to the operators and passengers.