Horse-drawn carriages may be a thing of the past when the new mayor takes control but the horses that power the industry may be sent to slaughter, a Daily News investigation found.
WRITTEN BY MARA GRAY
Cross-posted from the New York Daily News
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Mara Gray writes:
After protests by animal rights activists, the days of carriage horse rides through Central Park appear to be numbered, but the push to “rescue” the horses could lead to their slaughter instead, experts say.
The top mayoral candidates, Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota, support a bill before the City Council to ban the horse-drawn rides, a move that would throw hundreds of drivers, and more than 200 horses, out of work.
Some experts, however, warn that retiring the horses would add to a “homeless horse” crisis in the U.S., which already sends 90,000 to 100,000 unwanted horses to slaughter in Canada and Mexico each year.
“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.”
The lead group opposing the carriage horse industry, NYCLASS, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, vows that it will find good homes for the four-hooved New Yorkers.
“We’ll raise whatever’s needed to take care of every single horse,” NYCLASS spokeswoman Allie Feldman said.
However, the group would not say how much it has raised so far, leaving even other animal rights organizations concerned.
“I hope they can raise that money. Maybe they have a good resource somewhere,” said Sandra DeFeo, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society of New York.
Elizabeth Forel, President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, based in New York City, tells Tuesday’s Horse:
“The threat of slaughter is emotional blackmail, out and out fear-mongering. If New York City carriage horses go to slaughter, it will be the driver/owners who will take them there. The horses do not go on their own volition.
I am confident that the ASPCA and NY-Class has the money and connections to provide good homes for all the horses. After all, 200 horses is not a big number in light of how many US horses go to slaughter each year — about 170,000. I am saddened for the horses that the drivers are too childish and spiteful to accept help.”