Jillian Michaels Joins Rally Against Horse-Drawn Carriages

    April 29, 2014
    Amanda Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Jillian Michaels, the tough-as-nails trainer on “The Biggest Loser”, may appear to be unmovable when it comes to emotions on the competitive show, but in real life, she’s a soft-hearted animal lover.

The reality show star joined a rally on the steps of City Hall in New York City on Monday in protest of the use of horse-drawn carriages along city streets, a cause supported by PETA. The issue is not a new one, and has caused controversy among New Yorkers and tourists as both sides argue their cases. The carriages support tourism, which brings in a substantial amount of money every year and keeps drivers in work. However, the horses themselves are in physical danger, according to animal rights activists.

“Every time I see a horse-drawn carriage in a concrete jungle, I point and yell ‘animal cruelty’ at the top of my lungs to try to make the driver and occupants as uncomfortable as possible,” said pop star Pink, who follows the cause alongside Michaels and other celebrities. “It honestly hurts my heart when I think of what those horses must be feeling, as far as anxiety and fear, and how unnatural and wrong it is for these animals to have blinders on, trotting up and down on concrete, while taxis blare and people scream. It’s absolutely unnatural and ignorant of us to continue this outdated tradition. What about this is romantic?”

Drivers like Thomas Hennessy say that the horses are well cared for and that to rid the city of the carriages will also subtract jobs that were hard-fought to get. Last year, when Mayor Bill deBlasio announced a plan to do away with the carriages and install vintage-looking electric cars instead, many were worried whether they would still have a place in the NYC economy.

“This is my career. I won’t go out without a fight. Yesterday we were so busy. People came to enjoy their last rides. They were telling us ‘We can’t believe what the mayor is doing,’” Hennessy said. “I don’t know what else I would do if I can’t work doing this anymore.”

de Blasio may not receive enough votes to pass the law, however, and as many as 60% of New Yorkers want to keep the carriages on the streets.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • dragonwych

    What do the protesters think will happen to these horses if they are no longer permitted to earn their keep? Horses are meant to have jobs (or to be free, but we greedy humans have pretty well ended that option). They are very expensive pets; not many can afford to have them around simply to decorate the landscape. So, given that these animals are well-tended and not per se abused (however much humans have decided they know what the horses are thinking), what will be the result of taking their jobs away? Think it through, folks. Think it all the way through.

    • RunFast

      Exactly right, people have used horse and buggy since the 18th century before cars were invented; horses were meant to work on the farm, carrying people etc, it just goes to show her ignorance!

      • SunVegPup

        Horses weren’t “meant” to work any more than you were “meant” to do manual labor for 14 hours a day… like our ancestors. Just because it happened in the past, doesn’t make it right. We have the technology to have DOZENS and DOZENS of other modes of transportation. Leave the horses be.

        • Renee doan

          Thank you SunVegPup….Run & Dragon are ignorant. Horses are meant to be free & loved! Leave the horses alone & stop being selfish.

          • dragonwych

            So, how many horses do you have your back yard, munching and sunning? You’re rich, right? And have dozens, all rescues? Fact is, someone has to consider the facts sometimes. Sanctuaries are all nice and fuzzy, but they cannot take in every displaced animal. Go to your local animal shelter if you don’t believe it. And fact is, these horses are investments to many of their owners, and those owners aren’t necessarily going to give their investment to a sanctuary. More likely a slaughterhouse or, has happened so many times, just lock them up and walk away. I just asked people to think it through. I am most certainly not ignorant of the issues of animal welfare. Ignorance is bliss, and there is a lot of bliss wandering through the fuzzy wuzzy answers here. Facts are seldom fuzzy wuzzy, frequently unpleasant, and always have to be dealt with.

          • SunVegPup

            1. I worked at a horse sanctuary for quite some time. No I’m not rich.
            2. Sanctuaries ARE nice and fuzzy. There are thousands of solely horse sanctuaries across the country.
            3. Just because these animals are investments to the owners, doesn’t make it OK. I think your exact argument was used for slavery. “These slaves are my investment. I’m not giving them up to freedom.” F that.
            4. YES. Many of the old or injured horses from NYC ARE sent to slaughterhouses in Mexico. The owners claim to love their horses and treat them well, yet as soon as they stop making them $$, off to be killed.
            5. Facts rule. Your “facts” are completely biased. There are simple answers and solutions to ALL these problems.

      • Jane Doe

        There was also slavery before cars were invented. Slaves that were probably not treated any better than an animal. Things change. It just goes to show your ignorance.

        • dragonwych

          Horses were free to live their lives before humans came along and enslaved them. Even in your huge fields — you have huge fields for them, of course — they are prisoners, subject to human whimsy.

    • SunVegPup

      Nope. There are actually Hundreds of horse sanctuaries around the country that would happily take the few NYC carriage horses. I worked on one of these horse sanctuaries and had the experience of de-spooking and re-training a NYC carriage horse. It was in awful shape when arrived (mainly emotionally, but also part physically) and took months for him to trust any of us. Happy to say, he’s doing very well now and will be adopted out to a loving family this summer.

      • dragonwych

        Bless your heart. However, that situation relies on donations and a horse owner willing to hand over his property to you. Too often that doesn’t happen. I live in one of the horsiest counties in the nation. We have two hooved animal rescues, kept very busy with the poor creatures who manage to get that far — and most of them starved because their owners could no longer afford them, so the owners walked away. Very wrong, all too common. I’d rather work to prevent the circumstance in the first place, wouldn’t you? And that, in part, means not intentionally making the horses unaffordable. Perhaps the rescues should purchase the carriage horses — fairer to their owners and much safer for the horses.

        • SunVegPup

          There were 3 very popular celebs who came out and said they would pay for all the horses to go to sanctuaries if they’re freed from NYC.

          I, too, have seen multiple cases of animal endangerment and abandonment. It’s terrible and unacceptable. That’s where animal control and sanctuaries come into play… we take the horses and find them new homes or keep them forever.

  • Sam


  • Bill

    Shut up you carpet-munching Bitch!

  • rulegal

    Pink is against the horses and carriages, like PETA. PETA will kill them if they get their hands on the horses. WTF does Pink know about working horses. Poor horses, they have blinders, have to walk on pavement (they have shoes for that). The horses are well cared for or they could not be used to pull a carriage with a passenger. These protests are a bunch of crap. Why 200+ years later are carriages and horses a sudden problem? The wackos are the problem.

    • SunVegPup

      You have so many wrong points…
      1. PETA will not kill the freed horses. They will be sent to animal sanctuaries where they will either be adopted out to loving private families (as pets) or remain at a peaceful sanctuary farm for the rest of their lives.
      2. Blinders don’t shield everything from view, you know. The horses in NYC get spooked and can cause accidents. In fact, there have been a handful of NYC carriage horse accidents in the last few years. Both horse, driver, pedestrians, and customers were seriously injured.
      3. They have shoes to help pad their feet from the ground. That doesn’t mean that scalding hot pavement in the summer doesn’t hurt. It does.
      4. Just because we did something 200+ years ago and it was”ok”, doesn’t mean it’s fine now. I can think of hundreds of old fashioned practices that we wouldn’t dare to do now.

      • dragonwych

        Dear, if you think a living animal is safe in the hands of PETA, you simply are not paying attention. No, the carriage horses in traffic is not a good idea. Precipitously making them worthless to their owners (all bad people, apparently), is a worse idea.

        • SunVegPup

          Not sure why people have such a bias against PETA? Their tactics may be a bit out there, but animal well being is their #1 concern. They never kill animals unless it’s the very last choice. (HELLO to everyone who’s ever had to put a pet to sleep because it was suffering.)

          Make the horses worthless? What does that even mean? Make them pets that will be ridden by a loving family in the country..? That sounds pretty great to me.
          In addition, animals don’t need to work for us or to be “worth” something. They are animals, our companions… not slaves.

  • martin merz

    As a trainer and a horse lover I really can’t believe that people are against the carriages. Without a purpose what is life? Get a grip people.

    • SunVegPup

      You’ve either never been to Central Park and seen the horses or you’re one of those trainers who uses very old fashioned, barbaric training methods to “break” your horse.

    • SunVegPup

      Oh, just saw you mentioned “purpose.” F that.
      They’re being abused…pulling tourists around the city in extremely unsafe conditions FOR WHAT…? So people can sit in a slow moving carriage for an hour (and $150?)