Good looking carriage horse in Dublin, Ireland
We've seen it before. A group of well-meaning but clueless animal-lovers, aided by self-serving politicians, are on a crusade to save animals that don't need saving.
I'll let other people write about how misguided, hypocritical, short-sighted, and just plain stupid this is. Here's a summary. Jon Katz writes well about it. Liam Neeson weighs in with some good points. Here is a 2008 opinion from a Salt Lake City, UT driver. Here's another one from her. This driver seems to like horses, not abuse them.
What I'd like to do here is play a fun game that I truly and sincerely wish these do-gooders in NYC would play with me:
If I can find you at least 230 horses that are in worse conditions than the NYC carriage horses, will you please spend as much time, energy and money helping them as you are "saving" the carriage horses?
Let's start with these 13 semi-feral horses in Ephrata, WA from a decaying breeding farm. They need to be re-homed ASAP: the stallions are breeding the mares willy-nilly and none of them are even halter-broke or being cared for in any meaningful way.
Then there are the 400 unwanted "wild" (feral and semi-feral horses mostly released or lost and breeding unchecked in recent years, not the more truly wild mustangs found in other parts of Oregon) on the lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The problem has gotten so bad that some tribal members are actually calling for a mass round up and slaughter. These are fair-to-good looking animals, they simply lack care and training.
Perhaps you could help the Buck Brogoitti Animal Rescue in Pendleton, OR. It is basically the only place that the authorities in Umatilla and surrounding counties has to bring large animals that are seized in animal cruelty cases, and it is funded completely by donations. They have at least a dozen horses available for adoption right now.
There is also the Equine Outreach Horse Rescue in Bend, OR. It is also one of the only places for hundreds of miles able to care for abused and neglected horses, and it also runs completely off of donations.
Or the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary in Scio, OR. They take in horses that have no where else to go, and could use help buying hay.
Or you could visit the Hermiston, OR livestock auctions. The kill buyer will be there. Yes, I've met and talked to them. No, I won't tell you who they are, but you'll know them because they're the one bidding on all the larger horses that no one else wants, and they won't bid above about $300.
The Hermiston-based kill-buyer ships 30 horses every week to a slaughterhouse in Canada.
Let me repeat.
Thirty horses every week are sent to slaughter from Hermiston, Oregon.
If you'd like me to do the math, that's 1,560 every year. This particular buyer has been at it for at least 10 years. And these horses are not old, sick or lame, either. The majority are younger, healthy Quarter Horse or Paint mares. Their only sin was simply never getting trained and are therefore sold cheap and fast.
You want to "save" a horse? How about saving one from 3-7 days of stress, mental and physical exhaustion, and pain, finally ending with a stunner to the head. Buy one of these perfectly good horses before they go to slaughter, send it to a trainer, then sell it to a hobby-riding home. Because, while there are very limited number of homes who want a "pasture pet", there is always a market for sound, well-broke horses.
Leave the damn carriage horses alone. They're leading a meaningful life, enriching the lives of the humans around them, and being cared for better than any of the horses listed above.