Animal Rights Groups Plan Protest At Stables After Carriage Driver Is Accused of Horse Switch

carriages-clinton-park-stables.jpg
Photo by Jesse Dittmar
The interior of the Clinton Park Stables.
If you haven't quite gotten your fill of carriage horse-arguing, today's your lucky day. Last week, the Associated Press reported that carriage driver Frank Luo is accused by the city's health department of falsifying the brand on one of his horses. Today, in what promises to be an unpleasant situation on all sides, two animal rights groups, NYCLASS and PETA, will protest in front of the Clinton Park Stables on West 52nd Street, where the horse in question used to live.

Luo supposedly took a 22-year-old draft horse named Caesar and branded the number of a 12-year-old horse, Carsen, onto his hoof. Caesar suffered from heaves, a chronic lung disease, and was supposed to be resting on a Pennsylvania farm. City health officials accused Luo of misbranding Ceasar so he could continue to work him. But Luo told the Associated Press that the whole thing was a mistake on the vet's part, saying, "I did not switch the horses. It's just very confusing because they look alike."

Luo submitted paperwork to prove that the horse the vet examined really was Carsen, including, the AP reports, a handwritten note from the Pennsylvania farmer where Ceasar was supposedly taking his sabbatical. The city asked for more documentation and another veterinary exam. Five days later, Luo's lawyer said the driver had sold the horse.

The AP also found that the same driver has previously been accused of overcharging customers and working longer hours than the law allows. He was cited by the Department of Consumer Affairs in September and his parent company, Manhattan Carriage Co., paid a fine. In September, he was also in a minor accident, when a horse he was driving bolted and hit a car on 8th Avenue.

The Department of Consumer Affairs is still investigating Luo's actions. Meanwhile, PETA and NYCLASS, the two main animal rights groups pushing for a carriage horse ban, will protest outside the Clinton Park Stables at 1:00 on Friday afternoon, May 2.

"Falsifying records to force an old, asthma-stricken horse to work shows the drivers have no regard for the law and no common decency," PETA vice president Dan Mathews is quoted as saying in a press release. "This is yet another example of why Mayor de Blasio is right about ending this shady business."

PETA and NYCLASS are demanding to know where Ceasar is, although a Daily News story indicated that he was sold to the same Pennsylvania farmer where he was supposed to be on vacation.

Carriage driver and spokesperson Christina Hansen is unimpressed with the planned protest, and says it does more harm than good where the horses are concerned.

"The only audience that NYCLASS will have are the horses left at home on their day off tomorrow, or waiting for their night shift," she tells the Voice. "It's hypocritical for people who proclaim to care so much about the horses' welfare to go out of their way to disrupt the routines of those horses, either by screaming and waving signs, or by ham-fisted attempts at intimidation designed to distract the industry from our primary duty: the care and well-being of our horses."

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16 comments
whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Has PETA or the carriage drivers killed more animals?

horses
horses

The traffic on 9th ave to and from the stables is just horrible...Huge sightseeing buses, cars, city buses, are backed up for blocks, blowing horns, exhaust fumes,its impossible for the poor horses not to get spooked in traffic like that!!!  It must be their worst nightmare, everyday that  they are forced to go out and pound the concrete, and never feel grass on their hooves, or roll in grass, and run free....BAN THE HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES, NOW!!!!!!!

StopHorseAbuseNow
StopHorseAbuseNow

How ironic. The only people who've ever yelled or caused disruptions at a carriage horse protest have been the drivers and their teamster thugs.

endabusetoday
endabusetoday

The entire industry is full of thieves and abusers who made off like bandits without paying any taxes nor fees to the city.  They are racists homophobic teabaggers. 

erkube
erkube

These people have nothing better to do other than self-flagellate.

appyrdr
appyrdr

This may or may not prove that one driver is out of line.  Is that reason to shut down an entire industry?  A cab driver caused an accident yesterday, we should shut down all cabs in the city!  See how ridiculous this is?

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@horses  Nope. Keep them going.  They are a part of this city and horses have been domesticated and pulling carts for millennia.

appyrdr
appyrdr

@endabusetoday  "without paying any taxes nor fees to the city"?  You do realize that it takes 4 different city/county licenses to run a carriage in NYC?  Plus health certificates from vets and farriers?  It's impossible to run a business today without taking credit cards?  As to the accusation of being "teabaggers", just how much do you presume to know about the driver's sex lives, are you in bed with them perhaps?

thrystic
thrystic

Appyrdr - More like tip if the iceberg! Apparently you know nothing about the history of how many accidents, deaths, and injuries happen to the horses every single year!

Do a little research before you open your mouth- ignorance isn't very becoming. C'mon, just look it up!

appyrdr
appyrdr

@thrystic  & benster11 I agree, "ignorance isn't very becoming"  The disagreement comes in who's side of the argument is ignorant. 


There is nothing disingenuous going on here.  I have extensive experience driving and riding horses on country roads, small town streets and in large cities.  I am well aware of the things that go on when working with horses in these environments. I am well aware of the New York records.  I am well aware of the fact, from personal experience, that ARAs will exaggerate and exploit anything, no matter how small, to further their agenda.  


A fair number of horses in many cities were rescued by drivers who gave them a chance to become a carriage horse.  Accusations of overworked underfed horses, while in the background sleek shiny, filled out horses go about their business make the protesters look ridiculous.  Do yourself a favor, find a city that does neglect and abuse it's horses, New York carriage horses don't need your help.

benster11
benster11

@thrystic  I think appydyr knows very well the history of the accidents, deaths, and injuries. I think he/she is being disingenuous. I personally don't find anything ridiculous about people coming out to protest on behalf of the horses. They aren't all "animal rights" activists, either. New York's mainstream animal welfare organizations are behind this movement as well. I think sometimes the animal rights label is overused to make opponents of abuse and cruelty sound like extremists.

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