Cancel Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
  • Petitioned American Girl Place

This petition was delivered to:

Senior Manager of Marketing
American Girl Place

Cancel Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

    1. Petition by

      Friends of Animals

July 2011


When Friends of Animals learned that the American Girl store in New York City was lining up horse-drawn carriages in the brutal summer heat for a promotional event, they tried to talk the store out of supporting the dangerous, disgraceful exploitation of the carriage horse trade. American Girl Place avoided accountability, saying that they were complying with the law.

FOA ramped up the pressure with an action alert. Then, the weekend after the first of four scheduled carriage ride events, more than 1,000 people signed a petition on in opposition to the rides, and about a dozen activists visited the store to protest. Monday morning, American Girl Place announced that they would cancel the remaining rides.

From Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of FOA: "On behalf of Friends of Animals I thank each and every person who took the time to sign the petition and make phone calls to American Girl Place. Because of your efforts, American Girl Place has agreed to cancel the horse-drawn carriage rides and end their partnership with the exploitative and cruel industry." This victory not only helps the horses forced to work in the brutal heat, but it's also a step forward in the movement to stop the cruel carriage horse industry in New York City.

During a brutal heat wave, while cooling centers opened up across New York City with heat advisories in force, American Girl Place, the wildly popular chain of stores geared toward young girls, held a horse-drawn carriage ride event, with three more planned this summer. On July 21, at 10:30 am, as humid temperatures approached 90 degrees and a reported heat index of 109 degrees, carriages lined up in front of the 5th Avenue and 49th Street location of American Girl Store. Forty girls climbed into carriages for a ride after dining at the store's Café.

The $75 promotional event is also scheduled for, July 28th, August 4th, and August 18th, as American Girl Place’s website recommends: “Spend a delightful day with your girl in the heart of New York! Your experience begins at American Girl Place with a delicious meal in the Cafe. Then, step outside for a luxurious horse-drawn carriage ride to see the sights of Manhattan. The carriage ride continues through scenic Central Park, where your journey ends.”

Friends of Animals’ New York Director, Edita Birnkrant contacted Judy Herbst, Senior Manager of Marketing for American Girl Place, and met with her at the store during the carriage ride to attempt to stop the event. Judy avoided accountability, stating that American Girl Place “does not take a political” stance on the horse-drawn carriage issue, and that “they were complying with the law.”  FoA explained to Judy that many activists, including New York State Senator Tony Avella, Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, and NYC Council Member Melissa Mark Viverito were working to change laws and prohibit the dangerous, disgraceful exploitation of the carriage horse trade on Manhattan's chaotic streets. 

Please sound off to American Girl Place to cancel the three upcoming carriage rides. Sign this petition to email Judy Herbst, then call Judy Herbst at 212.401.6569. Leave a voice-mail message, if needed. You can also register your views at the main switchboard of American Girl Place's store at 212.371.2220.

The wholesome image American Girl Place markets does not blend well with the controversy of New York's degrading carriage horse trade. Please make that clear to Judy Herbst. Also mention that Friends of Animals and others will protest their Thursday, July 28th event at the front entrance of their 609 Fifth Avenue & 49th Street location at 9:15am-10:30am unless the event is cancelled.

Recent signatures


    1. Victory! American Girl Place Cancels Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

      Thanks to pressure from local activists and petition signers, American Girl Place announced today that the remaining rides will be canceled. You can thank American Girl Place for doing the right thing with a brief phone call to (212) 371-2220.

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures
    3. Friends of Animals Demonstrates Against Carriage Rides at AG Store

      Check out the Friends of Animals demo at the American Girl store this past weekend. About a dozen activists took over American Girl Place to get out the message that there's no excuse for horse abuse.

    4. Reached 750 signatures
    5. American Girl Place Gives Girls the Experience of Animal Exploitation

      Earlier this week, as brutal temperatures brought heat advisories and the opening of cooling centers across New York City, carriage horses were trotted out to 5th Avenue. As temperatures soared toward 90 degrees, with a heat index at a reported 109...

    6. Reached 50 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Sarah Shah WEST HARTFORD, CT
      • about 3 years ago

      It is incredibly disgusting that profits are more important to the American Girl Place than the welfare of animals. What human would work outside pulling a lot of weight, on a hot, humid day with a heat index of 109? These horses should not be forced to work which will put them at risk of death in such hot temperatures. Skip the ride event and I can assure you that more people will like you and the company for doing the right thing; but if you continue with the events, more people will hopefully boycott the company for its cruel and inhumane practices.

    • Elsie Mota PARIS, FRANCE
      • about 3 years ago

      To any Responsible parent out there:

      Please teach your children LOVE AND RESPECT FOR ANIMALS! Please stop the chain of abuse toward indefence, loyal great animals that suffer terrible abuse in the hands of irresponsible people who do not care for the welfare of this lovely creatures!

      To the American girl Place: You pledge independe, respect , egality WHY DONT YOU RESPECT ANIMALS ? IN YOUR VISION DONT THEY HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS PEOPLE ? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU ?

      I bet your own little girls of CEO's in your corporation ride ponies in their country clubs, I know I did, Do they treat them like they treat the Horse-Carriage horses you are mistreating and abusing in front of your store with the "Doll&Ponie ride package" you are selling there ???


    • Lisa Sicilian ROCKAWAY, NJ
      • about 3 years ago

      American Girl should be ashamed of themselves!!! Money hungry is all that you are, stop your abuse of these animals immediately, you can rest assured, if you do not, I will never buy another thing for either one of my girls, or anyone else from your company again.

    • Lu Ann dalesandro BRONX, NY
      • about 3 years ago

      i was just there at that store and spent a fortune on gifts.. i will have to bring my gifts back.. this is unheard of and i wont buy anything else there if they dont stop this act of inhumane abuse.

    • Nicky Hagan NEW YORK, NY
      • about 3 years ago

      Have a heart and cancel the future horse drawn carriage rides. These animals suffer awfully in the heat. The young girls will see this and will be upset by the misery you are forcing on these beautiful creatures.

      This has nothing to do with politics this simply doing the right thing.


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