Making a mountain out of a molehill is nothing new for groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which are constantly looking for new outrages to use as fundraising tools or get their faces in the media. Look no further than Tuesday, when HSUS issued a statement after a passerby snapped photos of a horse that appeared to be in distress. HSUS wants to ban carriage horses in New York City and elsewhere, so this provided a golden opportunity.
NYCLASS, a local anti-carriage organization that is reportedly a subject of an FBI probe of Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio, acquired the pictures and set out on a media smear campaign that distorted the facts for their own political gain. NYCLASS alleged that the horse, named Max, collapsed and could not get up for an extended amount of time.
But according to the horse’s owner, Max got right up when he was unhitched from the carriage. A statement released by New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene notes, “The horse returned immediately to its stable and was examined by a private veterinarian who determined Max to be healthy.” A spokesperson for the carriage industry released a statement saying “[Max] tripped and fell, and he was examined by three mounted officers at the park and was cleared to return to the stable pending a vet exam.”
That’s the rest of the story—and it matters.
Carriage rides are a staple of Central Park and both tourists and locals enjoy them tremendously. The owners have every incentive to treat their animals well. Nevertheless, it seems the cynical campaigners at HSUS love nothing more than to make hay out of every situation they can.