Horse carriages have long been used to add the feeling of “romance” to a city, but they also have been under the scrutiny of animal lovers who don’t see a crowded city as the right place for a horse, among other issues.
We’re happy to report that the future of NYC carriage horses is looking good. Bill De Blasio, the democratic candidate for mayor in NYC, stated the banning of carriages horses “…will not be my first act, but it’ll be something I’ll do right away…I believe that the existence of the horse-carriage industry in this city is no longer appropriate. I don’t think it’s fair to animals. I don’t think it’s something necessary for this city. I think there is a good viable alternative, which is to have replica antique cars with electric motors that are clean and will provide tourists with a good experience and will provide the same people who now have horse carriages with an employment opportunity. So I do care deeply about making sure there are jobs for working people. … They’ll just be different and they’ll be more humane.” We like that answer.
De Blasio’s GOP rival, Joe Lhota, told a radio host months ago that, he too, would eliminate the $15 million carriage industry — but not because of animal cruelty. “The smell that they drop there is unfortunate,” he said on the AM 970 radio station last spring.
It’s good news for the horses in New York this election season, and we hope the politicians follow through on their promises.
We’ve featured articles on the issue of carriage horses extensively over the years, so here’s a quick recap of the issue at large:
A Horse of a Different Color – “In the age before the automobile, horses were notoriously overworked, and many died in the streets. In NYC, they pulled wagons loaded with people and goods, and they served as the power for the City’s street trolley system. Between 100,000 and 200,000 horses lived in the city at the turn of the century.” This article provides an excellent breakdown of the life in a day of a carriage horse along with more information about the business itself.
Where do all the NYC Carriage Horses Go? – Breaks down the myths and facts about what happens to a carriage horse once it can no longer prove “helpful” to its owner.
NYC Fails its Carriage Horses – Reports on the death of carriage horse Charlie, and the public’s reaction to the event in 2011.
NYC Carriage Horses Never Have Happy Holidays – Adds some perspective to the carriage marketing gimmick of a romantic holiday stroll with horses.
NYC Carriage Horses Don’t Get What They Really Need – Analyzes a ruling at the time to give horses “vacation” time when what they truly need is to be free from captivity in the city.
Image Source: Shawn Rossi/Flickr