Animal News Desk / Cathy Kangas
Updated 1:59 pm, Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Carriage horse rides are the most inhumane and unsafe tourist attractions in New York. In the past two weeks, there have been two horrific accidents in the city involving carriage horses. On July 16, a spooked horse took off without its rider and slammed into a parked car on Central Park South. Again last Monday, there was a serious collusion between a horse-drawn carriage and a taxi where four people and a horse were seriously injured.
What is even worse is how these poor animals are treated. The stables are so small that the carriage horses can't lie down. Most die young, but those who don't are often sold for slaughter instead of retired to pasture. This is an archaic industry supporting no more than 68 drivers. While it is illegal for a driver to operate a carriage when the temperature is above 90 degrees or below 18 degrees, no adjustment is made to account for wind chill or the humidity index.
New York State Sen. Tony Avella (D-11) and Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (D-67) are demanding that the City administration suspend operation of horse-drawn carriages in light of the two serious accidents. They have introduced legislation that would prohibit the operation of these horse-drawn carriages and mandate the humane location of the horses released from service. The New York City Council refuses to address this issue because Mayor Bloomberg believes that carriage horses are a major tourist attraction. Does he think that maiming tourists will help the industry?
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Addressing this issue Avella said: "This second accident in two weeks serves as a prime example that the longer this archaic industry is permitted to operate we will only see more accidents, more horses being injured or killed, and we will continue to put the public at risk. This City and others like it can no longer justify these serious and real-life risks to preserve a fairy tale entertainment industry."
Assemblymember Rosenthal can be reach at 212-873-6368 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I urge you to contact her and indicate your support for her bill.
There is no reason to have 18th century horse-drawn carriages competing for space in bumper to bumper traffic in one of the world's most congested cities.