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A new shocking undercover video exposes the abuse and neglect in the carriage horse industry as groups continue to call for an immediate shutdown.

The heartbreaking new footage by Unbridled Heroes shows sick, mistreated horses with abysmal conditions who are held in tiny stables in midtown Manhattan. These poor horses go out every day and walk in the heat on the concrete and come back to stalls so small that they can barely turn around, if at all. The investigators walk through the tiny stables and reveal the horses with protruding ribs and scars from the abuse.

After the footage was released, groups are demanding that the city’s Department of Health shut down the horse carriage industry immediately until an independent investigation into the abuse, neglect, and illegal activities can be conducted.

Ryder, a horse who collapsed on August 10 fell on the pavement on 45th Street and 9th Avenue in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. The horse was not able to get up for over an hour. He appeared to be in heat distress, was dehydrated, and no veterinarian was present to give care.

Source: FOX 5 New York/Youtube

The group that represents horse carriage drivers said that the horse was examined and found to be suffering from a neurological disease, but animal activists are not sure that is the truth. It would not be the first time a condition of an overworked animal was blamed on something other than exhaustion.

However, a witness came forward with disturbing time-stamped photos of Ryder hours before the collapse, confirming that he was unwell before, going against the industry’s claims that it happened “without warning.” The witness, Caroline Smidt, saw Ryder looking distressed and malnourished and gave a firsthand statement about what she saw that day, saying, “I was at Central Park on Wednesday 8/10/222 at 1:15 pm with my husband and daughter taking pictures when I saw the horse that’s all over the news now [Ryder]. This horse immediately caught my attention because he looked very different from the other horses. I could see his ribs protruding, he was walking with his tongue out and was having trouble walking. He was walking very slowly. I also saw and heard the driver [Ian McKeever] hitting, yelling, and cursing at the horse because he wasn’t moving fast enough, causing a ‘traffic jam’ of horse carriages as a result. The driver kept yelling and screaming at the horse to move even though he had customers in his carriage.”

A NYPD report of the collapse found that the veterinarian who examined Ryder “determined that the horse was 28-30 years old rather than the aforementioned 13 years old,” which is the age that the owner, union, and horse carriage industry representatives have been falsely claiming.

The report also found that Ryder was underweight and “malnourished,” meaning Ryder “has been denied adequate food and water for a very long time.” It could also mean that he is too old or sick to put on weight, or may be a sign of another health condition.

Either way, the Department of Health rules state that horses can “only work until it reaches twenty-six (26) years of age.” NYCLASS says that 30 is extremely old in horse years and “roughly analogous to the physical condition of an 85-year-old person.”

“A video was just released by a veteran-run rescue organization showing the horrific conditions of all the other horses inside the hellish 38th Street stable. They did a wellness check on the horses and have notified the NYPD that other horses are suffering badly inside. It’s clear that these stables need to be shut down immediately, and each horse removed and examined by an independent veterinarian now. It is very likely that criminal animal abuse is happening on a widespread scale,” said Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS.

“It’s disgusting that TWU is representing horse owners and enabling animal abuse. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams must urgently fast track bill 573 to get these horses out of the hands of people who are profiting from animal abuse”

Horse-drawn carriages and horse rides are not quaint and romantic! These poor horses are subject to walking for hours on end in sometimes extreme weather without adequate breaks. We need to work toward banning carriage rides and protecting these animals from being exploited!

If you are a resident of NYC, please make a call or email to your NYC council member and ask them to “sign on as a co-sponsor to Intro 573 to replace suffering, dying carriage horses with cruelty-free electric carriages.” NYCLASS says to make sure to tell them what district you live in, and the list of Council members can be found here.

NYCLASS says that if you don’t live in NYC, please call Council Speaker Adrienne Adams at 718-206-2068 or email at and ask her to use her voice and power as the head of Council to “END horse abuse by supporting Intro 0573  to replace deadly horse carriages with cruelty-free electric carriages!”

While you’re at it, please sign this petition and tell New York that it’s time to end horse-drawn carriage rides.

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