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Recent Comments

Re: “Blinders

I absolutely do NOT agree with Lisa's comments and think what she wrote is the worst type of vicious misleading propaganda. I do understand that many animal rights activists consider any use of animals "slavery" (including keeping household pets) and would see any animals not living in the wild cease to exist. I think most rational people accept the validity of keeping domesticated animals, which I suppose PETA would rather see euthanized than have to work for a living as we humans must to survive. Let's be clear. These draft horses are domesticated animals which weigh 6-800 pounds more than the average horse and would almost certainly starve within months if left to fend on forage "out in the wild" because they have much higher caloric demands (40,000 calories a day) than wild smaller horses. By the way, those "numerous incidents last year" (there were three) resulted in minor property damages and no injury to any of the horses involved. I haven't compared those numbers to the amount of vehicle accidents downtown last year, but I'm certain it was astronomically higher. Charleston's 30+ year carriage record has resulted in no fatal accidents to people or horses. The last time a fatal horse accident happened in this city was a man run over and killed in the 1804. These athletic strong horses do indeed work in hot weather. Up to 95 degrees before the companies shut down, standards in which humans doing physical labor would continue to work. That city standard was not arrived at arbitrarily either. The city adopted those precautions on the recommendation of large animal veterinarians, experts in equine care. Also in thirty years, there hasn't been one instance of one of these animals suffering from heat exhaustion because after completing every tour, before their prescribed rest and water break, they have their temperature taken. A racehorse leaving the track often has a rectal temperature of 105+. If one of our horses has a temp of more than 103, they are taken off duty and rested for the remainder of the day. It certainly would be sad to see tired horses and mules (no working burros in the city) If you claim to have seen that in Charleston I believe you are protecting unconscious cues of human body language signalling exhaustion, onto those of horses. I have heard comments of that sort, particularly for the decoy carriages selling tickets on the corner, especially when they are drooping, heads bowed in the traces. When they do that they do look sad to a human standard. What amuses me, is that when I hear these comments it is always in reference to horses who are napping, sleeping eyes half open heads bowed while standing. I work with these horses every day. I know a happy healthy horse from a sad sick one. These are not unhappy animals. Why would they be? They have full health, dental, new shoes every 6-8 weeks especially designed to help them walk on pavement, retirement plans (no glue factories for our boys) a 60+ acre horse pasture to frolic in nearly a quarter of the year, and 40,000 calories per day. I wish I had it that good. A horse in the wild has a 5-10 year life expectancy. Our horses have 20-30 year life expectancy. Which would you prefer? By the way, our carriages hold up to sixteen people, but as facts don't seem to bother the previous poster, I wouldn't have her worry about that one either. For the record, it takes approximately 100 pounds of pressure to pull a fully loaded carriage, (I've done it myself) not a remotely challenging task for a 2000 pound animal capable of dragging four times its own weight on sled runners. I have been stuck behind horse carriages when in my car. I know it can be frustrating. We drivers do our best to pull over for other vehicles as often as possible and divide tours between four routes to keep things moving in the city. I personally want to thank those who occasionally get stuck behind us for their patience. Let me remind you these horses breathe the same downtown air we people do. It's good enough for us, why not them? I can attest from experience that loud noises like sirens usually don't bother these animals. Their genetics come from war horses in the middle ages. If noises made them panic, they wouldn't have lasted long on the battlefield. They rarely even need training to acclimate to the bustling city. I do not agree that the waste products of our animals contribute a hazard to public safety. Our subcontractor Green Horse Sanitation, has two trucks working full time using environmentally safe products to clean up urine and spills from the diapers, which do account for collecting about 80% of the solid waste. Honestly I wouldn't work for the carriage industry in New York City, the location where the documentary Blinders was filmed. I agree the horses receive substandard care. Do not judge us by them. Based upon my research, we have the highest standards for the care of our animals than any other regulated carriage industry in the nation. In conclusion I would like to finish by saying the notion these horses would move on to greener pastures were they not working for us is naive and misleading. 90% of these animals come from Amish communities about middle age. If they weren't working for us, the fact is that almost all of them would be sold and slaughtered for their meat, bones, hooves and hides, which is the harsh reality for older Amish animals. Thanks for reading. Keep calm and carriage on!
Joshua A. Dunlap
Licensed Charleston tour guide

2 of 2 people like this.
Posted by Joshua.dunlap35 on January 31, 2015 at 7:18 PM
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