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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Horse Carriage Romance?


Depending on where in the world you live, you may or may not have heard about the campaign to ban the horse drawn carriages in New York City’s central park.
I first came across the issue earlier in the year when organising my own trip to New York. Whilst researching what activities I could do in the city I came across information I was really not expecting to find and wanted to help the best way I know how by spreading the word. 
For hundreds of years horse drawn carriages have been a symbol of this city and are captured in many of the movies and images we see on our screens. However, in recent years this ‘symbol’ has been on the screens for all the wrong reasons. 
According to the New York Times, a nonprofits group known as NY-Class, which stands for ‘New Yorkers for Clean, Liveable and Safe Streets’ have been campaigning since 2008 for the removal of the carriage horses.

This is because many people believe, including myself, that horses do not belong in congested urban settings constantly forced to breathe in toxic exhaust fumes as they stand in traffic behind cars and taxis and are often denied the 15 minute breaks they are required to be given every two hours. It has also been reported that during time off they are kept in stables and denied access to the open space an animal of this size requires to maintain a certain level of health and wellbeing. Given the choice I doubt any of us would choose to work in these conditions.
It was also reported in the New York Times that since 2008 NY-Class has been promoting “replacing” the city’s carriage horses with 68 electric cars, one of several proposals by animal right advocates over the years to get rid of the carriage horse industry, which they say is inhumane.
Last week the New York Daily News reported that a carriage horse died on the streets of New York City last week on its way to Central Park. Surely this just highlights that these animals should not be made to work under these conditions.
I posted an article earlier in the year about the mis-treatment of circus animals and, for me personally, I can not see any difference between the two activities. These animals are made to perform to us – yes it may not be to crowds of people but it is certainly in front of ‘crowds’ of cars and worse in conditions that we wouldn’t even want to work in.
Lea Michele, Glee actress, has been campaigning and actively involved with PETA for promoting the horse drawn carriage ban over the last few months and following the recent news of the death of another horse in the streets of New York City, has re-launched her campaign to make more people aware. She has also launched a video to urge people to take note of what is happening and hopefully force a ban on horse drawn carriages not just in New York City but all over the world.
Now if you’re still not sure where your support lies and you still need convincing this ban is the right thing then you should watch Lea Michele’s video below:

Furthermore get involved yourself and sign the petition
Finally, there are alternatives and many organisations have been involved in showcasing some possibilities. Earlier this month the New York Times reported that a faux-vintage electric car had been proposed as an option to replace horse drawn carriages.
Supported by Lea Michele herself “these eco-friendly ‘horseless carriages’ would attract tourists with old New York glamour, protect carriage drivers’ jobs and allow approximately 220 horses currently working in this industry to be retired to sanctuaries”.