Chris Mautner, reporting for PennLive, writes:
A group of animal rights activists gathered outside Philadelphia’s City Hall on Monday to call for an end to the use of horses to pull tourist carriages through the city, according to a story from WHYY.
The group protested under the vacant City Council chambers, demanding Philly politicians remove horses from city streets.
“No sugarcoating, no hiding the facts. Horse-drawn carriages are outdated. They are dangerous, and they are cruel, and City Council needs to ban them,” Jacqueline Sadashige of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals told the news station.
Equine activist Jodie Whittaker spoke about the animal abuse she witnessed in with horse and carriage rides in Chicago.
“All the horses were overworked. They were rarely taken to the water bucket to be allowed to drink water. The operators routinely broke the law. They would go through red lights,” Whittaker said. “I would see carriage drivers looking down on their phone as they were going through very busy intersections on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.”
Philadelphia City Councilmember Mark Squilla has been working on a bill to ban the carriages, WHYY said, but activists said he needs more encouragement at the grassroots level.
“There is power here today and if we all make a call, send an email, tweet or tag on social media asking for a change, we will make a difference,” Michelle Patterson, outreach manager for the American Wild Horse Campaign, said.
New York City poet Stuart Mitchell came to the protest to offer a message a verse from the horse’s point of view:
“My anguish, my longing for past years, seen unseen, my desire to run free, free from the restraints of mobility, free from my abusers in the harness of hopelessness and the unforgiving rays of sunlight that bear down on me.”
Most carriages in Philadelphia are run by 76 Carriage Company. The company did not respond to questions from WHYY.
Photo Credit: Horse Drawn Carriage, Philadelphia. iStock Photo.
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