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Wait, No More Horse Carriage Rides in New York City’s Central Park?

Are the Days Numbered for the Horse-Drawn Carriage in New York City's Central Park?
Are the Days Numbered for the Horse-Drawn Carriage in New York City’s Central Park?

If Mayor Bill de Blasio has his way, the Central Park carriages could be trotting on borrowed time. On the other hand, do they have a lasting place in New York City’s image?

Ubiquitous to New York City, similar other great cities, is the yellow New York City Taxi, but gone are the giant Ford Crown Victoria and Chevrolet Caprice taxis of yesterday. Thanks to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to reduce pollution in the city, many of these taxis have been abandoned in favor of hybrid electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid, even the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. The air quality in the city has improved greatly but, of course, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Bloomberg’s successor, Bill de Blasio, aims at adding more electric vehicles to the city, which should help to reduce harmful emissions even more, unless you count horse farts. I bet you’re wondering how I managed to get such an image into your head, and I hope it doesn’t last very long. New York City’s newly-sworn-in Mayor de Blasio wants to replace a 150-year-old tradition with some antique-styled electric vehicles, specifically the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park, which have been running since the park’s opening in 1858.

Hundreds of millions of people have toured Central Park in these beautiful horse-drawn carriages, which is a unique way to experience the beauty and history of New York City’s Central Park. Mayor de Blasio says the practice is cruel and should be stopped, while the drivers and companies insist that the horses are treated well. Replacing them with electric vehicles would only serve to put people out of business. I have a couple of questions for Mayor de Blasio: “Where will the horses go, the slaughterhouse?” and “Who’s going to pay $165 for a tour of Central Park in an electric vehicle?” Finally, will the antique-styled electric vehicle feature the clip-clop sound of horses hooves on the pavement?

Image © NYSPhotoNews.com

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  1. chienblanc4csi Loud and Stupid, unfortunately. I certainly hope that some less-ignorant heads prevail in the coming argument over the presence of these beautiful animals in the New York City landscape.

  2. chienblanc4csiAbsolutely correct – and what are these rescues supposed to feed and care for these horses with? Air? It takes a LOT of money to support a horse and they can live well into their 30s.

  3. LoneWolffe Thank you for the correction – makes it even worse…
    It’s all about money – hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised supposedly to build the prototype and to pay for the horses’ care after a ban, but, imagine it!, not one dime has gone to build a car or to the horses. More here:http://bit.ly/1iJKwLA

  4. These particular horses are privately owned, and the carriage assoc. prohibits them from going to slaughter – the proverbial rock and hard place for the owners. The drivers will lose their jobs, so can’t afford to keep the horses, and they can’t sell them at auction, but there are other cities – animal friendly cities – that have carriages, so the horses might be sold to other drivers. Some might get sold to the Amish. Of course the activists behind the ban promise that they can prevent these horses from being sold to another “cruel” owner who would actually put them in harness (yet  no one really believes that working is bad for horses, in fact it is GREAT for them, mentally and physically). Back to that private owner thing, I don’t think they can actually do any such thing. No one can take your car away from you based on their opinion that you don’t take proper care of it, and give it to someone who promises to change its oil more frequently. (As an example of how property rights protect animals. Otherwise, who decides what ‘good’ care is, and who is allowed to make decisions on the care of the animal – vets are not happy with this concept of “guardianship”, but I digress.) Animal activists are incrementally working towards removing the property status (including protections built into that status) of animals so that they can actually do just that – but we aren’t there yet, and I suspect, based on the sudden interest in this campaign promise of late, that Americans will see the light before it is too late, and realize that animals are not humans, and having ‘rights’ is not in the best interest of any animal. These AR groups are not of the majority opinion. They are just loud.
    Here’s what ‘might’ happen to the horses if this ban goes into effect. There is a sanctuary in Massachusetts, Blue Star Equiculture, that is the official retirement home for the NYC carriage horses. Some will simply ‘retire’ there. Some will go to private homes. Some will be sold to other drivers – the activists cannot actually prevent that without going through the courts, and that is unlikely to succeed and be very costly. I don’t know about the slaughter option, but you would all be very foolish to believe what these activist groups say. They “promise” that there are “plenty of horse rescues” and sanctuaries lining  up to take these horses, by force or otherwise. Baloney. Horse rescue groups are above capacity everywhere at the moment, and many are closed due to crowding and lack of funds. The NYC carriage horses are prime, trained, bomb proof for city streets, in top condition, not to mention their value as fund raising icons for animal rights groups. Eyes are on them, which is good for their safety. But you know what is better for their safety? A job, love and attention, health care, a vacation plan and a home – which they have at the moment, a pretty good way of life, better than many human city dwellers.
    So, even if these groups succeed in getting their hands on these carriage horses, they will very likely NOT go to slaughter themselves, that would be bad for fund raising. So, they will find temporary places for them (until the publicity dies down, then all bets are off) in sanctuaries, where they will be celebrated as the “poor suffering” NYC carriage horses, but watch the back door of these sanctuaries, and you will see an equal – or higher – number of “ordinary” horses go out, most definitely to the auction where they have no worth except as slaughter.

  5. This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard about. You all need to recall your mayor! What sort of screwed-up priorities does this moron have?

  6. TheBarnRules Thanks for the link. It seems that NY-Class finally found a listening ear in de Blasio, but it seems odd that they haven’t done anything more than a MODEL in the last three years, if they’re so adamantly opposed to the horse-drawn carriages. Sad.

  7. erkube I couldn’t agree with you more. Someone’s got the horse stables in their sights, and that someone must have de Blasio’s ear, which is sad for a New York City and Central Park tradition.

  8. As a New Yorker, I can tell you this plan is a disaster.  Many of the facts are not being revealed to the public.  There is an epidemic of horse slaughter in the U.S. and the sanctuaries and rescues simply can’t take care of all the horses needing help.  It’s incredibly expensive to care for a horse.  In fact, many younger horses get saved from the glue factory by becoming carriage horses.  So it is one way to keep horses alive.  Instead, a bunch of misguided animal activists — including de Blasio — have been sold a bill of good by an organization headed up by a real estate mogul who probably wants to get his hands on the stables for the land they sit on.  New York?  Real estate?  Am I too cynical?  I’ll let you decide.


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