Today, Valentine's Day, is said to be the peak time for horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City. But the practice is a controversial one, and is being met tonight with protests by a coalition of organizations including Friends of Animals, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, Heart for Animals and some New York City activists. NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has also taken a stance against the practice, which he thinks is inhumane and in need of reform. Friends of Animals is leading the demonstration tonight against what it calls an "abusive, dangerous and decidedly unromantic horse-drawn carriage industry."
More from Friends of Animals:
Horses are shackled between the shafts of their carriage, their vision restricted by blinders--often working in extreme weather conditions with inadequate access to water or rest, day after day. Complaints to the City and ASPCA about these conditions go unheeded, despite the ASPCA's police powers.
Eventually, horses are either too ill, injured, or worn out from such a punishing existence that they can no longer turn a profit for their owners--and are promptly shipped to "killer buyer" auctions in Pennsylvania, whereby due to a loophole in the current existing NYC law, they can legally be sold to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico with no record or fanfare.
The coalition of organizations and Bill de Blasio both are calling for support of legislation now being considered by the City Council, Intro 86A, which would replace horse-drawn carriages with eco-friendly touring cars.
De Blasio wrote: "We should not wait for the next exposé on horses being mistreated, or the next crash that leaves a New Yorker injured or worse. It's time for New Yorkers to rally around a safer, more humane alternative to the horse and carriage."
More on horses and animal cruelty
Activist Edita Birnkrant Leads the Fight to End the Carriage-Horse Industry (Interview)
Will Congress Actually Be Able to Prevent Farm Animal Cruelty?
The Catskill Animal Sanctuary is Where Even a Blind Horse Can Sing (Interview)
"The Five Best States to be an Animal Abuser"