Abolish Horse-Drawn Carriages (The New York Time)

Published on April 17th, 2014

To the Editor:

As a lifelong horsewoman, I read Liam Neeson’s Op-Ed essay defending the carriage horse industry with great interest (“Carriages Belong in Central Park,” April 15). As a result of animal rights accusations, there is probably more regulation for the care of these horses than any others on the planet. To abolish an industry with economic benefits for tourism and agriculture (feed, hay, barn workers) is not just.

A friend of mine who is a veterinarian was called on to investigate the conditions of the carriage horses and their facilities a few years ago. She found no evidence of neglect in her unannounced inspections and was impressed by the genuine care and compassion expressed for the animals.

I respect the attraction of romantic carriage rides in city parks for tourists. The future of this industry should be decided by educated discussions. I will continue to follow this issue with an open mind.

ANNE T. PHINNEY
Old Forge, N.Y., April 15, 2014

To the Editor:

Keep the Carriage Horses” (editorial, April 14) reinforces the mistaken premise that modifications to the carriage industry will make life any less constricting and punishing for the carriage horses, whose highly developed flight drive when spooked should be reason alone for banishment from New York City streets.

The sight of horses trudging through the blare of Times Square or the gridlock near the Lincoln Tunnel should disabuse anyone of the notion that welfare trumps profit in this industry. New York’s extreme traffic conditions and lack of pasture can never be a healthy or safe environment for horses to pull carriages, nor can their tiny stalls ever be adequate for horses that require grass to graze, freedom of movement and socialization.

We can’t change New York City to accommodate carriage horses humanely, but we can change the attitude that insists that horses remain our beasts of burden.

EDITA BIRNKRANT
New York, April 14, 2014

The writer is the New York director of Friends of Animals.

To the Editor:

Thank you for opposing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to abolish horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City. On Sunday, I had the opportunity to be at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. For half an hour I was caught up watching tourists, families and ordinary New Yorkers happily take a carriage ride.

The carriages were decorated in spring colors, and the drivers were nattily attired. They happily took pictures of their carriage riders and permitted the young and old alike to pet the horses. The atmosphere was so genial. It was New York at its best.

Mayor DeBlasio, bury that idea in the back of your agenda.

MAUREEN CONNELLY
Bronx, April 14, 2014

To the Editor:

Horses are living, breathing animals, but by having them pull carriages in Midtown Manhattan alongside aggressive taxi drivers, tour buses and emergency vehicles, we are treating them like motor vehicles. It’s anachronistic, inhumane and unsafe.

The 200 or more carriage horses are either confined between the shafts of their carriages or to stalls in multistory buildings on the Far West Side. At the end of the day, they cannot graze, run, roll and interact physically with other horses, as herd animals do, because Midtown Manhattan does not and will not ever have a pasture.

Our country was built on the backs of horses. It’s time that we reciprocate by taking them out of harm’s way and giving them a humane retirement.

DONALD MOSS
New York, April 14, 2014

The writer made the 2008 documentary “Blinders,” about the horse-drawn carriage controversy.

To the Editor:

I believe that there is a compromise solution to the carriage issue, one that I had hoped to carry out when I was parks commissioner in the early 1990s.

There are several structures within Central Park that could be converted into stables so that the horses and carriages would never have to leave the park.

For sure, not everyone will be happy, but isn’t that the nature of compromise?

BETSY GOTBAUM
New York, April 15, 2014

The writer is a former public advocate for New York City.

FIND THE ORIGINAL: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/18/opinion/abolish-horse-drawn-carriages.html _r=0&version=meter+at+5&region=FixedCenter&pgtype=article&priority=true&module=RegiWall-Regi&action=click

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