The Humane Society of the United States is backing plans by the new mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, to end the city’s carriage trade.
The society’s chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, noted that just about all of New York’s major mayoral candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, including former New York Comptroller William Thompson, Jr, who conducted a high-profile audit of the industry in 2007, pledged to end the continued use of carriage horses in and around Central Park.
Pacelle said the society fully supported plans to phase out the carriages and replace them with eco-friendly antique replica cars.
He noted that the idea of banning the horse-drawn carriages, used for sight-seeing in and around Central Park, has long been backed by the major animal welfare groups, including the humane society and the ASPCA.
“There have been dozens of documented accidents resulting in injuries and deaths of New York City’s carriage horses through the years,” Pacelle said.
“Horses may be easily spooked by vehicles or other loud noises and put themselves and others at risk by dashing into traffic.”
The change to eco-friendly antique replica cars would be a win-win solution that protected both jobs and the safety and welfare of horses and people in New York City, he said.
Pacelle said there were no laws protecting horses from being sent to slaughter after they were “spent” by the industry, so it was significant that the law change that would bring about the change also called for the immediate humane retirement of more than 200 carriage horses.
“The HSUS enthusiastically supports this provision and offers to provide life-long, direct care for some of the carriage horses at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, in Murchison, Texas.”
He continued: “There’s no need for horse-drawn carriages in New York City and there’s a plan to provide an alternative for tourists seeking tours of Central Park. There are inherent risks to the safety of horses and humans that cannot be solved with additional regulations. We enthusiastically back Mayor de Blasio’s effort.”