Horses working in urban environments are nothing new, with New York’s carriage horses trotting through Central Park since its beginning more than 100 years ago and mounted police units plying the streets since at least the early 19th Century. But as more attention is paid to animals’ welfare, more questions are being asked as to whether these horses are working in humane conditions and acceptable environments.
We’ve recently produced a fact sheet for our members, the general public and policy-makers that addresses some of the issues facing these urban working horses and provides guidance for their proper handling, treatment and care. (The AVMA also endorses the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ policy on the use of horses in urban environments.)
Horses that live and work in urban environments can be managed well if they are operating under appropriate guidance, but they also face some unique conditions that impact their safety, health and well-being. As our fact sheet states, precautions should be taken to address hazards such as pollution, climatic extremes and physical stresses.
Like many issues related to animals’ welfare, you and your clients might have questions about the urban working horse and we hope our fact sheet, which you can download and print at no cost, will help provide some answers.