We received such an overwhelming number of comments on our story “Too Rough For Horseplay,” about the push to ban the Central Park horses, that we have decided to dedicate a page to showcase some of the emails, letters and web comments we received. You can join the debate by emailing email@example.com. —The Editors
Support the Bill
It is not a surprise to read that those making a living off the backs of the New York City carriage horses want to see the industry continue.
It’s the people WITHOUT a financial interest in it whose opinion should be taken most to heart, and the great majority of those people want to see an end to this antiquated business.
Note that the recent reports of accidents and deaths are only the ones that have been captured by cell phone and camera; it’s logical to assume that there are many other stumbles, spooks, collapses and, maybe, deaths that go unreported.
Please support State Sen. Tony Avella and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal’s bill to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, and then let’s do all we can to prevent Christine Quinn from becoming mayor in 2013, as she is a staunch supporter of the carriage industry.
A Gold Standard
Just finished reading the article by Anam Baig and Sean Creamer. I am not a city resident but a frequent visitor, living in Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County. Having owned and ridden horses for the better part of 15 years, I have some knowledge of the horse world.
It appears that the New York Horse and Carriage Association has done its due diligence for the profession. The formation of ClipClopNYC to distribute information and open its doors to the general public is a gold standard for any profession. The fact that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene licenses the horse and carriage industry is another gold standard.
Have horses sustained injuries in the carriage business? Yes, they have. If one were to really examine the circumstances surrounding these incidents, I am sure that much less sensational stories would emerge than what appears in the local papers and would certainly diminish the fire behind the so-called activism.
All in Your Mind
The bottom line is that it is far safer to take a carriage ride than ride a bike. Or walk or exist. The argument “carriage horses are abused because the city is a risky place to live” is hilarious. Ban all animals and living beings in New York City because they are mortal. Grow up, peeps. The stables are great, the horses are great. The only abuse is in your own heads.
Right From Wrong
Having just finished reading the article with great hope that it would be in favor of abolishing the carriages, I was dismayed to see it take a turn toward the opposite. I’m certainly not against the presentation of both sides, but it seemed to me it weighed heavily in favor of the carriage industry.
Then on to the comments (sigh), all of which seemed to be written only by carriage supporters. Excerpt: “look at the faces of the children when they see the horses, when they get to pet the horses and, if they’re lucky, get to feed the horses a carrot.” As if this cruel industry was all sweetness and light (not to mention this is not about the delight of children). But I suppose any press is good that brings this situation to light. Those with a conscience will know right from wrong.
It seems to me that if the stables and horses are well kept, as the experienced horse people seem to be saying (horse people are generally the FIRST to shut down horse abuse!), then the animal rights people have forgotten that America was founded on the relationship between people and horses. How did we transport ourselves and our belongings to the West Coast to achieve “Manifest Destiny”? How do we catch and medicate cattle on 600,000-acre ranches—will we ban the use of horses on ranches and relegate those cows to live in large sheds instead of roaming the range?
Well Taken Care Of
We went to ClipClopNYC to see for ourselves what was going on with the New York carriage horses. We found a pleasant, well-kept working barn. The horses looked good and were well-groomed. They were friendly and wanted to interact with our large group as we wandered about the building. An abused or stressed animal would go to the back of the stall and attempt to ignore us or turn away. Not these guys; they were very friendly—something a horse out in public needs to be.
The stable was airy, with good ventilation. Fans and misters were available for summer heat. There were sprinklers throughout the building. Each stall was matted and well bedded. There was free-access hay and water. Manure was managed well enough that there was next to no odor in a building housing 75 horses—something that is not possible if it is not regularly kept up with. The workers we saw throughout the building were calm and gentle with the horses and we saw several being prepared for their day’s work—including walking down the ramps. The horses negotiate the ramps at a normal walk, not sliding down or walking with a hesitating step as if to keep their balance. Not an issue to be concerned with.
Horses Can’t Cope
I don’t know if you folks missed the fact that there are no sprinklers on street corners, no hay beds in the roads, no fans or heaters. New York City climates are hard to endure at times, but people can cope—we can stop in air-conditioned stores or heated cabs. For the horses, it’s not all that simple.
You speak of ignorance, but there is no greater ignorance than the refusal to change. How can you possibly say that a horse is better off living in crowded New York City than in an open field, free to roam where they please? If you want your kids to see a horse, take them to a farm, not Central Park.
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