Working Animal Advocates, a Northern California based group dedicated to raising awareness about the conditions of working animals and to advocate on their behalf, has spent months documenting the working conditions of the horses in Old Sacramento, including horses pulling carriages in 90+ degree temperatures, navigating congested traffic conditions, breathing in exhaust fumes for prolonged...
Working Animal Advocates, a Northern California based group dedicated to raising awareness about the conditions of working animals and to advocate on their behalf, has spent months documenting the working conditions of the horses in Old Sacramento, including horses pulling carriages in 90+ degree temperatures, navigating congested traffic conditions, breathing in exhaust fumes for prolonged periods of time and pounding hard city streets that are damaging to their legs and feet. In sum, the working conditions for horses pulling carriages in Sacramento are inhumane. Further, a review of public records has revealed an almost complete failure of the City to enforce even the minimal laws it has passed to protect the welfare of these horses. Due to these failures and the inherent risks to the safety and welfare of the horses and public of having horse-drawn carriages in urban settings, the City should ban horse-drawn carriages from the busy streets of Old Sacramento.
Sacramento’s carriage operators consistently put the safety of the horses and public in jeopardy by violating several city codes, including not providing mandated rest periods with access to water and shade, working horses in 100°F temperatures, relying on a thermometer that does not comply with regulations, trotting horses at a fast pace, and violating a number of basic traffic laws. Please see http://www.workinganimal.org/ for more information, including photos and videos documenting the inhumane conditions and code violations.
In addition, there are inescapable risks to horses and the public created by horse-drawn carriages in urban settings. Every year dozens of people and horses are injured or killed in carriage accidents in the U.S. In recent years, there have been two incidents in Old Sacramento in which horses were attacked and injured by dogs, including one incident that resulted in the dog being shot and killed. And in 2009, a carriage was struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident, totaling the carriage and causing injury to the horse, carriage operator and two passengers. Given the current conditions in which horse-drawn carriages operate in Old Sacramento, it is only a matter of time before another dangerous incident occurs.
The need for a ban of horse-drawn carriages in urban settings has been recognized by scores of cities, including Reno, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Camden NJ, Palm Beach, Key West, Biloxi, Toronto, Beijing, London and Paris, which have all banned horse-drawn carriage rides. Given the inhumane realities inherent to the activity and Sacramento’s inability to enforce its carriage code regulations, horse-drawn carriages should likewise be eliminated in California’s Capitol City.
There is nothing romantic or nostalgic about riding a horse-drawn carriage down a paved road as cars, buses, trucks and roaring motorcycles pass by. Public safety and the welfare of the horses are harmed by this outdated and inhumane form of entertainment.
Please promote a humane, responsible and compassionate tourist economy, as many other cities have done, by banning horse-drawn carriages from the busy city streets of Old Sacramento.