Have you heard? Both leading New York City Mayoral candidates – Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota – are in favor of a bill that would end New York City’s horse-drawn rides around Central Park.
According to the NY Daily News, momentum to abolish the carriage horse industry is building very quickly – so much so that activists who have been advocating for the ban may suddenly have some 200 horses to relocate around the country.
“We do not have enough rescue space in this country for the horses we have now,” Karen Waite, an equine extension specialist at Michigan State University, told the Daily News. “To add another 200 to an already overburdened situation is not a good thing. It’s distressing, actually.”
While groups like NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets) and The Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages aren’t worried about relocating the “Central Park horse” (owing to their celebrity status in the media), some say the removal of the horses from New York City will doom others waiting for a shot at a sanctuary.
“The whole idea of them living happily ever after in green pastures takes a huge amount of money, time and land — and yes, you’re going to displace 200 other horses that could have gone to those homes,” said Beverly Strauss, of Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue, a sanctuary in Maryland.
Nevertheless, advocates of the ban are not buying the notion that the horse carriage industry should remain in New York City to save lives elsewhere.
“The truth is that NYC carriage horses are literally working for their lives,” wrote Susan Wagner of Equine Advocates in the comments. “They have to bring in a certain amount of money or they disappear. Keeping this vicious cycle going is just feeding the horse slaughter business. Stopping the carriage horse trade would at least end any more NYC carriage horses from ending up at slaughter. We could go on and on as to why this miserable business is cruel to horses and unsafe for the people of this city.”
Photo credit: mariarita-g/flickr/creative commons