A horse-drawn carriage operator waits for riders near Central Park in New York on October 20, 2014. Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing legislation that would ban such carriages in 2016. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

End of the road for NYC horse drawn carriages?

charming, must-do tourist attraction or a cruel, outdated commercial activity?

New York’s horse-drawn carriages have operated since the 1800s, but lawmakers now want to replace them with electric vehicles. For some, the equine-driven rides around Central Park are part of the fabric of the Big Apple, like yellow taxis and Broadway shows.

But for others, the horses-for-hire are not in keeping with the ethos of a leading progressive city in 21st century America.

“Manhattan is probably the worst place in the world to have a horse work, in traffic, in noise, with pollution, in terrible heat and terrible conditions,” says council member Robert Holden, who has introduced a bill to replace the animals with horseless e-carriages by June 2024.

Animal rights activists have for years tried to shut down the industry, which comprises 130 drivers sharing 68 licenses for roughly 200 horses that live in stables in the city.

Their latest push was given impetus this month by the collapse of a horse on busy Ninth Avenue that sparked anger after a video showing the driver shouting at the animal to get up went viral on social media.

On Instagram, supermodel Bella Hadid urged lawmakers to pass Holden’s legislation, calling the tourist rides “barbaric.”

Opponents say the horses live in cramped conditions, are often malnourished and dehydrated, get spooked by cars en route to the park, and are worked against their will.

In Central Park, where 45-minute-long rides cost upwards of $160, views are mixed among tourists.

“It’s absolutely immoral,” says Briton Cailey Tyler, agreeing with a ban.

Marina Perry, from Argentina, doesn’t have a problem with the rides as long as the horses are treated well. “It’s a cultural aspect of New York City that has been going on for generations,” she says.

Source: AFP

Featured Image: Getty Images

Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

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