Tag Archives: horses

Worcester City Council inspired! Yes, to WPD Mounted Police Unit!


By Rosalie Tirella

Their official title: Mounted Police Unit. The  name every little kid in every Worcester inner-city neighborhood will shout when she or he sees one of the five Worcester Police Department’s courageous steeds and their cool cop riders: HORSES!

And then they’ll think, instinct leading them the way it does with all kids and artists: YEAH!! MY HORSES! LET’S PAT THEM!!!!

And then they’ll drop whatever they’re doing – good or bad – and run to the brown, black or bay equine (white is usually not the color of most police horses) to stroke the steed’s elegant neck. And the animal – huge, majestic, its coat glistening in the sun – will patiently stand (police horses must be calm, even-tempered, not skittish) as the city kids touch, tickle it and ask the cop astride it questions like: How much hay does he eat? How fast can he go?

No nags for our WPD!  No thoroughbreds either!  – they’re too high strung for the job!  The city’s handlers (volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office and Mass State Police) will know which good horses to choose for the second largest city in New England – Worcester, my city, a city whose downtown and inner-city neighborhoods so desperately need more beauty a la the 12 POW! WOW! WORCESTER murals that grace our downtown buildings and bridges.

Picture this: a WPD mounted police officer and his trusty black steed trotting by the YWCA or the Hanover Theatre on a summer night before the Latin American festival, twinkly lights shining in the Hanover trees, salsa music blowing over Worcester City Hall, the Big Dipper blinking down on dancers pressed against each other in the languid August night: Absolute CITY MAGIC!!!!!!

Sure, City Manager Ed Augustus, the guy behind this brilliant proposal, knows a good cop and his horse can do the job of 10 police officers on foot patrol on in police cars. He knows this makes them perfect for patroling neighborhoods and crowd-control. A courageous yet calm horse can make its way through thick crowds of folks, the officer riding him or her can see great distances because he or she is perched so damned high!

Most city kids will want to be up that high! In that cat bird’s saddle! They’ll want a ride, too! Down Piedmont Street or up Ward Street! And they will see – learn – just how beautiful and mysterious nature is, how important it is to be kind – never cruel! – to animals; that our police officers can be as gentle and even tempered as the horses they ride. The community will see that Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargeant cares about our community – about streets that most people avoid or on which they even have the temerity to dump their garbage – right out of their car windows as they drive by!  My neighbor has seen this happen on our street – Ward – and she’s run out of her home to give the slobs hell! Go, sweet neighbor, go!!!!

City kids, when they see the police horse, will admire his or her elegant neck with pretty long mane combed out like a pretty girl’s. They’ll admire its height, recorded in “hands” – usually between 15 and 16 of them – from its clopping hooves to its tingly spine. That’s roughly my height!  Then those big soft brown eyes and ears that can turn in almost every direction to pick up the slightest sound! Horses can see almost 360 degrees around because of where their eyes are in their heads and their long flexible necks.  Horses are amazing animals – intelligent and affectionate!  They’ll rub their foreheads against your chest to say: Hi! I missed you! Any carrot treats for me?

There is nothing quite so special as a horse – any city kid can tell you that!

Thank you, Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and the majority (which means we’ve got a YES vote!) of the Worcester City Council for being so excited about this idea! Thank you for whole heartedly endorsing it! With volunteers, maybe even donated horses, the vet students at Becker, the fields at Green Hill Park, the donated stable space WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

Of course, where would we be without Worcester City Councilors Mike Gaffney and Konnie Lukes taking a big steamy dump on the proposal? – as big as horse shit! These two perpetual naysayers and cheapskates are against Mounted Patrol Units. They say it costs too much money.

We say to community destroyer Gaffney and slumlord Lukes: Un-pinch your shriveled souls! GET CREATIVE! USE YOUR CONTACTS! GET BEHIND THIS PROPOSAL and vote YES!.. Even though we don’t need your crummy votes!

Here’s to the new cool Worcester!

Go, Ed Augustus and Steve Sergeant, go!!!

Go, horses, go!

Pony dreamin!

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Please visit and support the beautiful horses …

… at BLUE STAR EQUICULTURE.

Drove  down to Blue Star in Palmer today to see and touch the magnificent working horses at this special working horse sanctuary. The horses there sooth my soul … . Each horse (Blue Star has 32) so intelligent and sensitive, yet mysterious (to me). … Did you know horses’ lips are so sensitive they can pick up a single grain in a sandbox filled with sand? They get to know you when you offer them your hand to smell. They take in your scent … . Then they remember you forever!  They get jealous if their pals are getting all the attention and throw their massive heads up and shake them at you to protest. Stroking the neck of an almost 2,000 lb animal – one so beautiful and powerful! –  feels otherworldly.

Take the kids this school vacation to the country, to Blue Star … . Be mesmerized …

They are located at 3090 Palmer St., Palmer. Their phone number: (413) 289-9787

Here are some photos I took this afternoon.     – Rosalie Tirella

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More great news for Christmas!

From PETA.ORG …

History in the Making: NYC Mayor de Blasio Introduces Horse-Carriage Bill

Written by Michelle Kretzer | December 9, 2014

Update: 

It’s a historic moment for animal rights.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is making good on his campaign promise to end the abusive horse-drawn carriage trade. Together with Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez and Council Member Daniel Dromm, Mayor de Blasio presented the City Council with his proposal to retire the horses and help carriage drivers make the transition into other jobs in the city’s transportation industry. Dromm and Rodriguez introduced the bill on the steps of City Hall amid chants of “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! We love Mayor de Blasio!” Dozens of PETA and NYCLASS supporters were there to cheer the introduction of the bill, which will now go through the legislative process on its way to being considered for a vote.

The following was originally published on December 1, 2014:

He promised, and he’s delivering. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that next week, he’ll introduce his bill to ban horse-drawn carriages by 2016 to the City Council.

A spokesperson for the mayor said of the bill, “We’ve been considering a range of options that move the horses off our streets, safeguard the animals, and protect the livelihoods of the men and women who provide carriage rides.” Many proponents of the bill would like to see the horse-drawn carriages be replaced with eco-friendly replicas of classic cars, which would offer rides to tourists, with former carriage drivers behind the wheel.

According to New York City Police Department reports, horse-drawn carriages have been involved in at least 25 accidents in just the last five years, resulting in numerous injuries to horses and humans and even horses’ deaths. …

Read more: http://www.peta.org/blog/official-mayor-de-blasios-horse-drawn-carriage-bill-way/#ixzz3LsqQgzKH

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus beats, punches and whips its animals! Former employee speaks out!

Archele Hundley, a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus employee, recently teamed up with PETA to make a moving plea to potential circusgoers.

Hundley, who witnessed elephant beatings during her time with Ringling, urges people to stay away from the circus.

“I saw handlers deliver a beating … for 30 minutes. She was covered with bloody wounds. I’ll never forget her agonizing screams,” says Hundley. “Please, never take your children to a Ringling Bros. circus.”

Hundley worked on Ringling’s animal crew for two months.

During that time, she witnessed incidents of abuse, including the following:

In 2006 an elephant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was beaten with bullhooks so severely that she bled profusely and cried out in pain. A trainer viciously whipped a camel and punched a miniature horse in the face.

Trainers jabbed horses with pitchforks and gave them extremely painful “lip twists” to force the animals to obey commands.

An elephant with painful arthritis was kept on the road.

“The abuse was not just once in a while—it occurred every day,” says Hundley.

She continues: “The elephants, horses, and camels were hit, punched, beaten, and whipped by everyone from the head of animal care down to inexperienced animal handlers hired out of homeless shelters.”

Archele says that she repeatedly complained to circus management about the abuse but to no avail, prompting her to quit in disgust.

Archele teamed up with PETA because she wanted others to learn about the cruelty involved when animals are forced to perform in circuses.

You can help spread the message by boycotting the circus and telling everyone you know about circus cruelty.

There’s no call for cruelty in Christmas

By  Jennifer O’Connor

Kicking off the holiday shopping season with “Red Thursday,” stores are doing whatever it takes to draw in customers. But while shoppers have a choice about standing in long lines and facing ugly crowds, animals used in holiday promotions face a bleak Christmas season.

 Santa belongs at the mall. Reindeer do not. Yet some stores have been contracting to have reindeer, who, unlike Dasher and Dancer, are not entirely domesticated and easily become stressed out when hauled around and put on public display, brought in for photo ops and petting zoos. Reindeer don’t enjoy being petted or harnessed or forced to pull sleighs. These large, strong animals tend to be skittish and unpredictable—and nothing ruins a shopping trip faster than a runaway, frightened animal with antlers. 

 Today’s crowded mall parking lots are no place for horses, either, yet horse-drawn carriages abound. The season for operators to earn money is short, so horses are provided with few breaks to rest or catch their breath. They can end up overworked, exhausted, hungry and thirsty. Many also suffer from leg pain from pounding hard asphalt all day long. And when tack rubs against a horse’s skin for hours on end, it can cause sores and abrasions that may be difficult to see when covered by harnesses.

 Horses are extremely sensitive to loud noises and unexpected sounds—like the blaring of a horn by someone trying to commandeer a parking space. Horses and people have been seriously hurt—some fatally—when horses have spooked and run amok or when impatient drivers have run into them.

 And isn’t forcing animals to participate in crèches and holiday shows the antithesis of the spirit of the season? Over the years, camels, sheep and donkeys used as props in holiday displays have been beaten, mauled, attacked by dogs and killed by cruel people. Others, frightened and confused, have broken away from the displays, only to be hit and killed by cars. The city of Charleston, S.C., decided not to use animals in a tree-lighting ceremony this year after a giraffe—a giraffe!—freaked out and broke free last year.

 As ethical human beings, we must recognize that animals should not be used as props, no matter how altruistic the intention. And live Nativity displays using animals aren’t even realistic. In Pope Benedict’s biography of Jesus Christ, he points out that contrary to popular belief, there were no oxen, camels, donkeys or other animals of any kind in the manger.

 No one in authority ensures that these animals are being provided with food, water and proper care. Understaffed and overburdened animal control departments don’t have the resources to monitor these displays and enforce compliance with anti-cruelty laws. The exhibitors who provide the animals consider this their high season, so profits typically trump animal welfare.

 Caring readers can extend the hand of compassion to all this holiday season by refusing to patronize reindeer photo ops, carriage rides and “living” Nativity scenes.

Rodeos kill horses, don’t they?

By Jennifer O’Connor

A horse stumbles, his leg shattered, his life over. Spectators are horrified, but this isn’t a racetrack. It’s Canada’s annual Calgary Stampede, which “celebrated” its 100th anniversary this month. During this year’s Stampede, three horses were killed and another was injured following a chuckwagon crash. Animals routinely die on the rodeo circuit, but the Stampede’s statistics are particularly grim. Since 1986, 62 animals at the Stampede have died or been euthanized. Of that number, 54 have been horses.

Animals used in North American rodeos are hit, kicked, spurred, slammed into the ground and goaded into participating in violent displays. It’s difficult to understand the mindset of those who deliberately provoke animals for fun or of those who enjoy watching it.

The deadliest events at the Stampede are the chuckwagon races in which teams of horses pull “pioneer” wagons around a track at breakneck speed. Horses have sustained fractured legs and broken backs and suffered heart attacks. A casual observer of the chuckwagon races can see horses foaming at the mouth and their eyes rolling back in their heads. Yet shockingly, riders vehemently opposed a proposal to tighten the rules in hopes of making the races somewhat less deadly.

In calf-roping, a common event at rodeos across the U.S. and Canada, young calves race desperately out of the chute and often sustain neck and back injuries when the rope yanks them violently to the ground. A flank strap is used in the bucking and bull-riding events, causing the horses and bulls to buck wildly in an effort to rid themselves of the constricting band across their groins. During a July 4 rodeo in St. Paul, Minnesota, two horses suffered serious injuries after crashing into each other. One was euthanized; the fate of the other is unknown.

Horses and cattle used on the rodeo circuit are hauled from one venue to the next with little downtime to rest or recuperate. When too worn-out or broken-down to continue, they aren’t retired to comfortable pastures—they typically get a one-way ticket to the slaughterhouse.

Many horses don’t even make it as far as the fairgrounds. A recent Alberta Views exposé revealed that Stampede officials admit that horses who don’t make the cut to compete are sent to a slaughterhouse in Fort Macleod. Terrified horses will have their throats slit in full view of others awaiting the same bloody fate, and their bodies will be cut up for human consumption in foreign markets. The Stampede’s veterinarian claims that the horses can’t be placed into new homes.

Opposition to the Calgary Stampede crosses the spectrum, from animal advocate Bob Barker, who has called for an end to the carnage, to the Humane Society of Canada, which has called for a boycott. Other animal advocacy groups in Canada and the U.S. have also condemned the deadly spectacle. Yet much like the internationally condemned seal massacre, some Canadians are still clinging to the Stampede, a tradition that should have been retired long ago.

People who care about animal welfare should not support any event that causes so much pain and suffering. Please steer clear of all rodeos.

Jennifer O’Connor is a staff writer with the PETA Foundation.

Kentucky Derby to be held Saturday – please steer clear of horse racing

By Kathy Guillermo

Several years after Eight Belles’ fatal breakdown during the Kentucky Derby, many of us still remember the heartbreak of seeing that beautiful filly lying in the dirt at Churchill Downs, her ankles shattered beyond repair.

The thoroughbred racing industry would have us believe that Eight Belles’ tragic death was a “freak accident,” but it wasn’t. Every single day, three horses, on average, suffer catastrophic injuries while racing and must be euthanized. This is no rare event. It’s business as usual.

Thousands of horses have died on U.S. tracks since the Eight Belles tragedy. And every month, 1,000 racehorses who don’t “measure up” are sent to other countries to be slaughtered for human consumption.

People who care about horses for horses’ sake must steer clear of the Triple Crown races if they don’t want to contribute to this staggering death toll.

In the weeks following Eight Belles’ death, there was much talk about reforming the horse-racing industry. And after being prodded by PETA, the racing industry did make some improvements, including banning steroids from the states in which Triple Crown races are run.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Racing insiders tell PETA that the misuse of legal drugs is still the biggest cause of breakdown and death, and the industry has yet to address this issue in any meaningful way.

Horse trainers have told us that in the days leading up to a race, strong anti-inflammatories, painkillers and muscle relaxants are legally injected into injured, sore horses to make them run when they should be recovering. Some horses are injected with drugs up to 30 times in the week before a race, and it’s all legal.

Then there are stories about the unusual substances, such as cobra venom, that are injected into horses in order to mask pain. There is no drug test for cobra venom. Many horses also undergo what industry insiders call “milkshaking”—forcing a large quantity of sodium bicarbonate and sugar into a horse’s stomach through a tube. This procedure is said to make them run faster during a race.

Drugging animals to make them do what they never would under natural conditions is abuse and must be stopped. It’s not enough to sound upset and make empty promises about reform.

The public deserves to know that the problems with horse racing didn’t end with Eight Belles. Horses are still being run to their deaths on racetracks. Most of them just never make the news.

So here’s my advice to racing fans who want to help push this industry to rein in its worst abuses. Don’t go. Don’t bet. And don’t watch.

They kill horses, don’t they?

By Gemma Vaughan

Horses haven’t been slaughtered in the United States for the last five years. But Congress recently restored funding for U.S. inspectors to oversee horse slaughter, paving the way for horses to be killed and butchered here in the U.S. once again. While killing horses anywhere is contemptible, the decision does provide an opportunity to reexamine this entire issue.

A ban on killing horses in the U.S. doesn’t help horses—it prolongs their suffering. And they will continue to suffer as long as the industries that breed horses for profit—horseracing, rodeo and the carriage trade—keep exploiting these animals for our “entertainment.”

When horse slaughter was banned in the U.S. in 2006, it didn’t stop horses from being killed. Mercenary ranchers who make their living from horse flesh simply jam horses into undersized trucks and haul them for hundreds—sometimes thousands—of miles to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.

Horses who manage to survive this grueling journey often arrive at the slaughterhouse with gashed foreheads, broken bones, compound fractures, eye infections and other injuries. They meet their end with a bolt gun, an often slow and agonizing death caused by the carelessness of workers who fire poorly aimed bolt after bolt until the animal finally dies. They are then bled out and skinned, usually in full view of other terrified horses.

Anyone who cares about animals should condemn horse slaughter altogether and call for an absolute ban on both the export of live horses and slaughter in the U.S. One doesn’t work without the other.

Horses have been exploited for human purposes and profit since the beginning of time, and we need to take an honest look at the disconnect between society’s horror over eating horses and its tacit approval of exploiting them in so many other ways. Many of the horses who end up in slaughterhouses used to pull carriages, perform in rodeos or cross the finish line but are now too worn-out to continue.

Even though horses tend to be skittish and sensitive, they are still forced to provide carriage rides on busy city streets and, at this time of year, in shopping mall parking lots for seasonal promotions. Fighting crowds, dodging traffic and trying not to slip on icy streets while hauling oversized loads day after day takes a toll. Accidents have occurred in nearly every location where carriage rides are allowed and many horses have died. But as long as people pay to ride, horses will continue to be worked until they can’t take another step.

The horseracing and rodeo industries are equally culpable for sending horses to their deaths. Horses are bred over and over until “winners” are produced. But not every horse makes money, and continual breeding has led to a critical overpopulation of horses: too many horses, not enough good homes. And just like dogs and cats, unwanted horses are often abandoned, neglected, starved and left to die without veterinary care. Thousands are sold to meat buyers and go from grassy fields to blood-soaked killing floors.

If eating horse flesh appalls you, so should the industries that provide the bodies. People can make a real difference by staying away from the racetrack, shunning carriage rides and steering clear of the rodeo.

Gemma Vaughan is a cruelty caseworker with PETA.

Plan would spare thousands of horses from slaughter

By Kathy Guillermo

U.S. thoroughbred racing is an industry of numbers. Consider the projected statistics for 2011 alone:

The number of horses running in the Kentucky Derby: no more than 20.

The number of thoroughbred foals born: 24,900.

The number of thoroughbreds who will die on the track: 1,000.

The number of thoroughbreds cast off by the racing industry: 21,000.

The number of thoroughbreds sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico: 10,000.

Crunch those numbers and the conclusion is obvious. There are too many thoroughbreds born, too few retirement options, and way too many violent deaths.

The racing industry should be ashamed of these numbers — and of course every number isn’t a number at all, but a living, breathing being. When horses who have given their all can no longer race because they’re injured or too old, or when they stop turning a profit, most owners and trainers rid themselves of these animals by sending them to a livestock auction. One out of every two thoroughbreds sold at auction ends up in a slaughterhouse.

The Jockey Club, through which all foals must be registered and which is the only horse racing authority in a position to impose a fee that applies to all thoroughbreds in all racing states, responded to this crisis with its Retirement Checkoff program, a voluntary donation that can be made when owners submit required registration papers.

In 2010 this program generated only $43,000 from 30,000 foal registrations—a paltry $1.44 per horse. Even with the Jockey Club’s supplemental donation toward retirement, this absurdly inadequate amount cannot begin to provide for the enormous annual costs of caring for tens of thousands of horses, multiplied by many years of retirement. Recent reports of thoroughbreds being denied adequate food and care in the stables that are supposed to be supported by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation tragically prove this point.

The racing industry needs to deal with this life and death issue. Thoroughbred retirement is a racing industry obligation, not a voluntary donation.

While the best bet for the horses would be an end to breeding, racing, and killing thoroughbreds altogether, at the very least the racing world must provide a decent retirement for the horses it no longer wants.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come up with a plan — the Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Retirement Fund — to jumpstart this effort. This proposal would require a mandatory $360 retirement fee with every foal registration, a $360 fee for every transfer of ownership, and a $360 fee for each stallion and broodmare registration.

This is affordable for thoroughbred owners and would generate more than $20 million toward retirement. It wouldn’t solve all the problems — clearly the fund would have to be used wisely. This would require proper planning and administration. But without a substantial sum, nothing will be done. Thoroughbreds will continue to be trucked across our borders to their deaths by the tens of thousands.

The Jockey Club should implement this plan before this Triple Crown season ends. Trainers and owners have turned their backs on the animals they claim to love for far too long.


Kathy Guillermo is vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.