NYC is a tourist attraction for a few reasons, amazing skyscrapers, 42nd Street, Broadway, and a horse and carriage ride around Central Park. However if Mayor Bill DeBlasio has his way, New York will no longer be a home for horses.
During Mayor DeBlasio’s campaign, he made the commitment to ban horse and carriage rides in NYC due to the inhumane treatment of the horses. The animal organization PETA has reported every year the number of accidents with horse-drawn carriages increases and the only way to stop this trend is to ban the practice altogether. The practice according to PETA is outdated and the conditions in which the horses are forced to work under are inhumane. However, the counter argument given by the carriage workers is legitimate as this will translate into a loss of work for them and ridding the city of one of its oldest tourist attractions.
The horsedrawn carriage ride dates back to 1858 when Central Park was open to the public. During that time, horses were the main mode of transportation so this practice was not a tourist attraction or thought of as inhumane. The tourism based carriage rides did not come into practice until 1863 where a ride was a meager $.25 a passenger. Unfortunately this 156-year tourist attraction may soon be something to read about as DeBlasio believes NYC is no home for horses.
PETA argues the very conditions of a big city such as loud noises, cars, fumes and congestion are the very things that spook horses. When horses are spooked, they will run off and this can lead to accidents with cars or pedestrians, either way causing harm to the animal. PETA also contends when the work horses are too old, too worn down or sick they are not put out to pasture on a ‘horse heaven’, they are slaughtered for animal food or shipped to other countries. Anyone interested in saving the horse-drawn carriage rides are urged to contact their state legislators.
DeBlasio is confident that the bill, drawn this week will pass as many lawmakers agree that this inhumane treatment of horses should be banned. However, the eco-friendly practice is not only supported by the Horse & Carriage Association of New York’s workers but some Hollywood celebrities are supporting the century old NYC tradition as well.
The going rate right now for a 45-50 minute horse-carriage ride can cost you an average of $110 and incidentals such as pictures, roses, and champagne are extra. However, for a century long tradition at the threat of ‘extinction’ it may be a good investment for not only tourist but for locals alike.
It seems DeBlasio is not the first mayor to ban the practice as nine other cities have done the same, New Jersey included. The countdown has started for any hopeless romantic interested in a horsedrawn carriage proposal should start planning now because this cliché romantic date may soon be a thing of the past. DeBlasio does not plan to leave to the tourist without a substitution however; he wants to replace the horses with electric cars. NYC may no longer be a home for horses, but the more cars, the merrier.
Opinion By Debra Pittman