Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cause(s) for Concern

I went to a (cash bar) fundraiser for the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages earlier this week. As soon as the horse-drawn carriage industry is finally run into the ground, my next cause might be the formation of a Coalition to Ban Cash Bar Events. They’re off-putting. Nothing extraordinary can come from any cash bar arrangement; and if you really want to get funds moving, you have to let the hooch flow free, at least for a certain window of time. It’s during or immediately after this window when charitable-giving impulses will be at their peak – that’s when you need to start selling raffle tickets and/or auctioning things off. Open bars beget open minds and open wallets. These are the kinds of principles that will be thoroughly fleshed out at future CTBCBE meetings.

New York City is a major tourist hub, and a lot of tourists take quaint horse-drawn carriage rides around Central Park, without realizing they’re subsidizing animal cruelty. I see, up close, these carriages almost every day. I also have some personal experience dealing with horses. The stable I rode at as a teenager had a separate barn where the older, sicklier horses were kept – the horses in that barn looked healthier and happier than most of the horses that pull these completely unnecessary twenty-first-century urban buggies.

When I used to jog the 6-mile loop around the Park, I once ran past a slow-moving horse that was hauling a family of four. One of the carriage passengers congratulated me for moving faster than the horse – a horse that looked like it was about to drop dead from fatigue at any minute.  

One horse did drop dead last October. Others collapse and hurt themselves in the middle of insanely busy, traffic-congested, noise-polluted Manhattan streets.

Please stay away from horse-drawn carriages. It’ll be good for your karma. If you want to take an open-air tour of Central Park, and you’re not willing or able to do so on foot or rent a bike, another option is to take a pedicab ride and get pedaled around by a personable guide. If riding through the streets on a bicycle-powered rickshaw isn’t quaint or old-school sophisticated enough for you, wear a petticoat in the pedicab.

Help the horses harness some peace. 


  1. Those poor horses. Horse-drawn carriages are just wrong. Even with a tourist mindset, I don't see the appeal of a ride in one of those things. You're better off on a bike or just walking around Central Park - and there are so many beautiful places there that you can only get to by foot. I think a tourist would get a better flavor of the city (as a whole) by doing a whole day traveling to cultural attractions via the subway. No equine abuse necessary!

  2. consider this my official application to join CTBCBE!

  3. This is a good posting, Kadzi, that may well do some good in the world by stirring consciences.

  4. Absolutely with you on this one. The only attention I've ever paid the horse-drawns in NYC is to walk up and stroke the horses' poor, velvety noses. I'd never patronize their jailers.

  5. Excellent post. I'm sharing this in Facebook. I always feel so horrible for those horses. Plus, the asphalt is really hard on their feet.