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Alongside a ban on foie gras, New York City Council delivered another win for animal activists on October 30. The council passed a bill that includes restrictions on horse carriage operations during summer heat.

Horses working in carriage pulling in Central Park will be relieved of work if air temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or when the equine heat index shows 150 degrees and the air temperature is above 80 degrees. Equine heat index involves adding humidity to the air temperature outside.

According to the Animal League Defense Fund, prior to the bill’s passage, horses were forced to work in extreme heat, on hot asphalt and often to a point of exhaustion. The rules prior to the bill did not take into affect humidity or “real feel.”

Executive director of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) Edita Birnkrant said of the carriage horse bill, “You can not justify forcing horses to pull thousands of pounds in brutal heat waves. There is still a lot to do but this is a great step.” Another NYCLASS spokesperson said, “There are 35 days last year where this law would provide some relief for these carriage horses where at the hottest part of the day, they wouldn’t have to work.”

Carriage horse owners and workers opposed the bill, saying reduced hours for horses hurts their health and well-being. The bill takes effect 60 days after the bill has passed.

Horse drawn carriages are inhumane and cruel to horses. Horses endure painful, tight bridles and are forced to carry weight of up to 1,800 pounds. Horses endure tiny stables and a future of joint pain and arthritis if they are forced to serve this cruel industry. This heat advisory bill is just a small step to what should be a full ban on horse drawn carriages in New York City. Sign this petition to demand an end to the cruel horse carriage industry!

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Read more about recent animal legislation in One Green Planet, including California’s recent ban on fur.

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