The horse and carriage industry in New York could become a thing of the past if the campaign against it by animal activists and animal supporters continues to gather momentum. Recently a horse pulling a carriage died after falling on a street due to having a stomach ulcer, the Irish Times reported.
Incidents like these focus media attention on the horse carriage industry and cause people to question this particular use of horses; and often to become outraged and motivated to end it. Horse carriage rides in Central Park do seem like an outdated practice, but the romantic or entertaining historical appeal is likely what has drawn people to it over the years.
Critics of the industry correctly point out Manhattan is a very unnatural environment for horses with no pasture for them, and their working conditions include very dense car and truck traffic, air pollution, constant high noise levels, and occasional vehicle strikes.
Mayor Bloomberg supports the industry as being a traditional part of the city’s culture and popular with tourists. He says the horses are well treated. Currently there are 68 carriages, 216 horses and 282 drivers working in New York City. Carriage drivers earn between $40,000 to $100,000 annually.
The traditional use of horses of course dates to a time when automobiles and buses did not yet exist, so horses had to be used. Clearly today, they are not required for transportation and are very out of place in an entirely human-made environment.
A proposed plan to replace the horses with antique electric cars sounds like a win for the drivers who would lose their jobs if an outright ban was implemented. Also it has been pointed out an immediate ban could result in the currently used horses going to slaughter houses, because there is no money or plan for relocating them to animal sanctuaries or placing them on farms with responsible caring owners.
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