'Glee' Star Lea Michele: Horse-Drawn Carriages Are Cruel!

Kim Conte

lea michele peta adGlee star Lea Michele is drawing heat for taking part in a new PETA campaign that urges New Yorkers to “Help put horse-drawn carriages out to pasture.”

In the ads and videos, Michele exposes the health hazards and harsh conditions the horses that pull carriages around Central Park are made to endure and calls for a boycott of the horse carriage trade.

Her critics, however, wonder if perhaps there are more pressing issues affecting the humans in our world -- hunger, poverty, disease, etc. -- that the mega-star could throw her weight behind instead. But I don't really see a problem with her supporting this particular cause -- don't horses need advocates, too?

I know some people think they're romantic, but I've never understood the draw behind the horse-drawn carriage ride. And, according to Michele, they are downright cruel:

Imagine for a moment that you're forced to do hard physical labor all day, seven days a week -- whether it's sweltering hot or freezing cold outside. At the end of the day, instead of relaxing on [an] easy chair or sleeping in a comfortable bed, you are locked in a tiny closet all night long.

As someone who unfortunately lives in close proximity to a stable where carriage horses are kept (a fact I did not realize until after I moved in), I can attest to the fact that these horses do not have access to easy chairs. Rather, they are made to climb up steep ramps to reach the upper floors of the stable where they don't have room to lie down -- this after a long day spent hauling heavy loads in dangerous traffic. It's no wonder these tired horses develop respiratory ailments (from inhaling exhaust fumes) and leg problems from pounding the hard pavement day after day.

And this trade isn't specific to New York -- plenty of other cities and towns have horse-drawn carriages, too.

The whole situation seems so sad to me -- try as I might, I just can't find anything romantic about it in the slightest. So, yes, there are more pressing problems facing our world; but is it really so bad that the plight of the horses has a moment in the spotlight if only for a little while?

Do you agree with Michele and think horse-drawn carriages are cruel?

Image via PETA.org

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