Ryder, the horse which collapsed in Midtown and sparked weeks of fury from animal rights activists, has been retired to a private horse farm in Upstate New York, according to horse carriage Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100.
The union also claims that Ryder’s former owner Ian McKeever, who many are calling for a criminal investigation into for flogging the horse after it had collapsed, has officially relinquished ownership in favor of the farm. Although the union has not provided an exact location of the private farm, they say Ryder has been provided with a large stall and many acres of pasture.
This comes days after the Unbridled Heroes Project–a war veteran run horse sanctuary–harshly criticized the union for visiting their refuge and promising to hand Ryder over to them, something that ultimately never took place. In a visit to the 38th Street Stable–the stable which Ryder was from–the Unbridled Heroes Project say they were appalled by the state of the facility and what they saw as many more malnourished horses owned by the McKeever.
Still, TWU 100 says that Ryder is currently bright and alert and has gained weight since the incident and due to the revelation that he is far older than originally claimed will no longer work and instead remain on the farm.
They also state that Ryder was first purchased from an owner in the Amish country, who apparently did not want him anymore, and was then examined by a veterinarian in NYC in April and was cleared for work. However, although the city-required examination listed Ryder as 13 or 14, after his collapse on Aug. 10 the NYPD Mounted Unit found him to be around 26 years old—too old to be licensed by the city as a carriage horse.
In response to a proposed investigation by the Department of Health, the union says it began an initiative inside its main stable that will see an equine veterinarian arrive every two weeks to perform an assessment of the horses by checking their heart rates and other examinations. Drivers and carriage owners are also said to be forming a Safety Committee with representatives for each stable to spot possible issues, like a horse that may be losing too much weight and a driver who can benefit from additional training, as well as to develop areas for industry improvements.
Animal rights advocacy group NYCLASS remain unconvinced by the move.
“The TWU and carriage owners have been caught lying and covering up possibly criminal animal abuse over and over. We don’t believe a word they say. Ian Mckeever is being investigated for criminal animal abuse of Ryder and they refused to disclose his location to law enforcement and now they continue to hide the ‘evidence’ to protect the abuser,” NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant told amNewYork Metro.
“A video was just released by the horse rescue group Unbridled Heroes Project showing the horrific conditions of all the other horses inside the hellhole. 38th Street stable. They did a wellness check on the horses and have notified the NYPD that other horses are suffering badly inside. The only thing that needs to happen next is that these stables be shut down immediately and each horse seized and examined by an independent veterinarian,” Birnkrant added.
PETA, NYCLASS, and Voters for Animal Rights are calling for the fast track of a city council bill, Intro. 573, that would see horse carriages replaced by electric carriages.
“It should not take four horses collapsing recently, one of which died, for the industry to devise so-called initiatives to check on them. The industry has a track record of obfuscating and outright lying about the many horrific cases of animal abuse at their hands. They have shown the world that their horses are beaten and malnourished and bought ‘on the cheap’ only to ‘squeeze’ what they could out of them. The residents of this city resoundingly support banning the use of horse-drawn carriages, and no amount of damage control by the industry will change that,”Council Member Robert Holden, sponsor of Intro. 573, told amNewYork Metro.