Today an article was released by The Horse, a reputable equine health care magazine, which addresses the proposed bans on horse drawn carriages in three US cities.
From the article:
“The lack of work is just one reason why veterinarian Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, a professor in the Rutgers University Department of Animal Sciences, opposes legislation that would take these horses from their owners and force them into permanent retirement on yet unspecified farms. Ralston said regular work and a set routine helps to keeps horses healthy and enhances the animals’ quality of life.
“The carriage horses, on the whole, are showing no signs of distress or unwillingness to work when asked to do so,” asserted Ralston. “They are well adapted to their environment. If they weren’t, they would not last long on the streets.”
More importantly, Ralston said, such legislation sets a dangerous precedent for horses as well as for the humans who look after them.
“If a horse is in its stall without access to pasture, but is getting quality basic care and regular exercise, should we say that this horse is being abused, or is it cruel to ask a horse to do a job that it is well-trained for and capable of doing without distress?” Ralston said. “This is the norm for a majority of the horses kept in urban and suburban settings, and this (kind of legislation) sends a terrible precedent that should have the entire horse industry up in arms.””
It is notable that Dr. Ralston points out the danger these proposed bans pose to equestrianism as a whole.