That's not the case anymore, though: the ASPCA is now one of the leading opponents of the horse carriage industry, claiming that New York's present-day urban environment is no place for horses. And the conditions for carriage horses are bleak, according to Siegel's report. Manhattan has four antiquated stables where the horses live, on the upper floors of old buildings that only sometimes have windows in the stalls. Many of the stalls are completely dark at night -- but it doesn't get much brighter for the horses in the morning.
Carriage horses are subject to a strict schedule, spending 9 hours each day harnessed and on a loop through Central Park. Their shifts are shorter in the wintertime, when daily temperatures can reach single-digit lows, but otherwise the routine remains the same. "This goes on for years -- for fifteen, possibly even twenty years," Siegel writes. "After that, the likelihood is strong that the horse, old and tired, will be sold to a slaughterhouse, where she will be euthanized, chopped up, and packed into cans of dog food."