News about the 76 Carriage Company closing its stables for good has quickly spread among equestrians from all over the US. Why the company chose to close its stable doors for good is a bit of a mystery, but it does relate to the actions of a group of animal rights activists that gathered at 6th and Market Streets on Saturday (14 January 2023) afternoon in order to protest the fact that the city’s only remaining carriage-horse tour company was still in business.
The protesters had signs and banners with them that said “Horses Deserve Freedom” and “Carriage Horses Suffer,” and they also put forward a petition that asked for a city ban on carriage horses. What the protesters didn’t know is that they had already succeeded in their endeavors, as the 76 Carriage Company closed down and relocated its horses earlier in the week without making too much of a fuss about it.
Where have all the horses gone?
When the protesters arrived on the scene, they were surprised to find that no horses remained on the premises. A few hours and a few questions later and they found out that the company had cleared out of the stables earlier in the week without explanation, with trailers coming to take away the horses.
Usually, when carriage companies close down, their horses are sent to the auction block for “retirement” or they are sold to other similar companies. Stair and Stephanie Curson from Ban Horse Carriages Philadelphia said that they are in touch with several reputable and trusted sanctuaries that are happy to give these horses loving forever homes. However, it’s unlikely that the horses belonging to the 76 Carriage Company will be found given the circumstances of their departure and the fact that the company has not responded to any calls. From what can be gathered from social media, five of the 10 horses were re-homed in recent weeks, with two being sent to a carriage company in Massachusetts.
There was another carriage company in Philadelphia that closed down for good in 2017 over cruelty concerns, and with 76 Carriage Company gone as well, it would appear that Philadelphia has seen its last carriage ride, at least for the foreseeable future. Unless an actual law is passed banning carriages from the city, there is a small chance that another similar firm will come and fill the void. However, that is not likely given how the local community feels about them.
The Inquirer tried to obtain a comment from Michael Slocum, president of the 76 Carriage Company, but he refused to issue an official statement. While some stable employees also refused to comment, two of them took to social media to share emotional goodbyes to their jobs and the horses they said they had lovingly looked after.
Given these events, the people of Philadelphia will have to go on their morning walks without being able to say hello to the horses they’ve grown accustomed to. This has sparked mixed emotions. On the one hand, people know that horses tend to suffer in large cities, as they’re not well-adapted to this environment, and many of them hope that they’re now able to live out the rest of their days in a more natural setting. They do miss seeing them every day, though.