Late Monday night, an SUV carrying 3 adults and 4 children rear ended a Chicago Carriage heading home after a shift downtown. The 4 children were treated at Lurie hospital and released. The driver of the carriage has a broken wrist but is otherwise fine. Milo the horse is fine, and has been checked over by Inspector Holcomb from Chicago’s Animal Care and Control.
So what does this mean?
Does it mean this?
Horses don’t belong in traffic! (chicago accident) http://t.co/bsmKjFdhP0
— BanHDCarriages (@BanHDCarriages) July 15, 2014
— Equine Advocates (@EquineAdvocates) July 15, 2014
I don’t THINK so. What both of these recent tweets fail to mention is that the horse and carriage didn’t collide with an SUV, but rather the SUV collided with the horse and carriage.
And I have to ask, how does an attentive driver not see an oversize dapple grey horse pulling a large white carriage with a highly reflective slow moving hazard triangle?
Were you paying attention? Were you driving too fast? Were you distracted? Were you on your PHONE?
Instead of questioning whether horse drawn carriages should be in Chicago, maybe we should be asking more important questions?
— SaveChiCarriage (@SaveChiCarriage) July 15, 2014
Radical animal rights activists believe carriage horses go to slaughter once their working days are over.
And if you ask this guy, well:
You can watch the whole video if you want, but I can’t be held responsible for any loss of brain cells. This guy’s a real wunderkind.
Anyway, if we listen to these folks, carriage horses are the wildebeest of the horse world, basically feeding everyone from lovers of Aldi’s lasagna to Fido to that weird kid who ate glue in Kindergarten.
So, these pictures and videos of retired carriage horses must be super rare footage of almost mythical creatures, right?
Meet Roger. He has his own Facebook page, and his retirement was profiled by the New York Daily News:
And meet Caruso. This Chicago horse retired and now packs a little kid around the hunter ring.
And then there’s Toby, who retired after pulling a carriage in his owner’s funeral.
I guess if we knew retired carriage horses were so rare, we wouldn’t have been giving them away to loving families for all these years.
…could the animal rights activists so proudly beating their drums be mistaken? I mean, retired carriage horses running around in fields with goats, packing little kids around show rings, and relaxing in pastures just don’t make very convincing arguments, now do they?
Have a retired carriage horse? Share your pics with us and we’ll include them here!
Let’s face it–horse drawn carriages are an easy target for radical animal rights activists and grandstanding politicians. Carriages operate beneath the magnifying glass of a sensationalist public eye. They thrive in a marketplace crowded with cabs, pedicabs, tour buses, Segways, bicycles, and so many other ways to view the city. Horses are farm animals planted in the middle of the least-rural environment possible. They don’t smell like the city, they don’t look like the city, and they don’t sound like the city.
City dwellers’ senses are dulled by an endless expanse of concrete and glass, the inescapable drone of gas powered engines. No silent places exist in the city, and no organic soundtrack accompanies the rat race. Humans create urban jungles as giant repositories of man-made ingenuity. Residents lose themselves and their histories in the never-ending march to work, eat, buy, repeat.
Put someone in the back of a horse drawn carriage and take them to the quietest street possible, where the city speaks in a whisper. The hollow, rhythmic footfalls of the horse entice the heartbeat to slow, the muscles to relax. Anxiety melts, if only for a while, and people breathe deeper, easier. Children often fall asleep in the back of a carriage, and conversations lull. Magic. Peace. Harmony.
Humans didn’t always molder away beneath fluorescent lights, parked in ergonomic seats, cultivating lists of friends they’ll never meet, and money they’ll never touch. We once enjoyed the sunlight, earned our lives from the soil we nurtured and the creatures who walked beside us.
The horse is a simple animal. They like to eat, they like to sleep, and they enjoy being horses. Hundreds of years of domestication have developed in them an expectation of human assistance: we bring the food, we soothe them when they become nervous, we are a part of their normal. Domestication happened, and in the process, animals became our cohorts in life. No matter what Peta believes, horses need us, and in return, we share their experience of the world. Stand next to a horse and feel their quiet strength. Place an ear against their side and listen to the vast expanse of their breath. The hand cannot resist the softness of horse’s nose.
Perhaps they need us less than we need them, and for this, we owe them our unflagging loyalty. We are caretakers for the wildness they no longer possess. We incorporate them into our lives and businesses, and in exchange, they remind us of who we once were. To eliminate horses from our cities at the insistence of extremists seeking to sever our ties with the animals who journey with us through life, destroys another link to a time when we were better: happier, healthier, calmer, and wiser.
Worst case scenario, let’s say the radical animal rights activists manage to shut down urban carriage operations. Let’s disregard for a moment the thousands of carriage horses suddenly flooding an already saturated market, and the uncertain fate that would await them. Put aside the many hundreds of drivers forced to find other employment and a way to support their families.
Big deal. Life goes on, and everyone faces hardship–why should carriage horses and drivers be any different?
But here’s the thing: give an extremist an inch, show them a weakness, and they will never stop. Horse drawn carriages are merely the start for those in our society who believe animals should not be property, should not exist as domesticated individuals in symbiotic partnerships with the human race.
Think I’m being dramatic? Read this.
Ok, don’t read it. I did and my eyes crossed, first from boredom, then from shock.
Try this instead.
It’s concise, and they put a disclaimer in that last paragraph. Not too bad, I suppose.
What about this?
I quote, “It’s cost-prohibitive to maintain a permanent sanctuary for the countless numbers of horses who break down in this industry.” But then the NYC extremist group proposed this:
“A horse shall not be sold or disposed of except in a humane manner
[.], WHICH, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBCHAPTER SHALL MEAN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: 1. THE OWNER SHALL SELL OR DONATE THE HORSE TO A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL WHO SIGNS AN ASSURANCE THAT THE HORSE WILL NOT BE SOLD AND SHALL BE KEPT SOLELY AS A COMPANION ANIMAL AND NOT EMPLOYED IN ANOTHER HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE BUSINESS OR AS A WORK HORSE AND WILL BE CARED FOR HUMANELY FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE HORSE’S NATURAL LIFE; OR 2. THE OWNER SHALL SELL OR DONATE THE HORSE TO A DULY INCORPORATED ANIMAL SANCTUARY OR DULY INCORPORATED ANIMAL PROTECTION ORGANIZATION WHOSE PRESIDENT OR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SIGNS AN ASSURANCE THAT THE HORSE WILL NOT BE SOLD AND SHALL BE KEPT SOLELY AS A COMPANION ANIMAL AND NOT EMPLOYED IN ANOTHER HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE BUSINESS OR AS A WORK HORSE AND WILL BE CARED FOR HUMANELY FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE HORSE’S NATURAL LIFE. 3. RECORDS INDICATING THE NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER OF THE PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL, DULY INCORPORATED ANIMAL SANCTUARY OR DULY INCORPO- RATED ANIMAL PROTECTION ORGANIZATION TO WHOM THE HORSE WAS SOLD OR DONATED TOGETHER WITH THE ASSURANCE SPECIFIED ABOVE SHALL BE SENT BY THE OWNER TO THE DEPARTMENT WITHIN FIVE DAYS AFTER SUCH SALE OR DONATION. A COPY OF SUCH RECORD SHALL ALSO BE MAINTAINED AT THE STABLE.”
So, the groups who oppose carriages want to mandate what they themselves say is essentially impossible?
Sure, this is in NYC, but if Alderman Burke wants to “beat NYC to the punch” by banning carriages, one must assume he and PETA, the ones who originally contacted him, have a plan for taking care of the Chicago horses, right?
More to follow…