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At last week’s City Council hearing on the horse−drawn carriage industry, city stable owners and carriage drivers were subjected to nonsense. If Councilman Tony Avella and PETA have their way, 293 drivers will lose their jobs. This must not happen.
Avella, who introduced the bill that would outlaw the carriages, said: “While I’m sensitive to the loss of jobs in the city, I can’t ignore that this industry makes its money on the backs of these animals. And you can’t tell me that someone from the Midwest or Europe will not visit New York City because they can’t get a horse−drawn carriage ride.”
What is wrong with making money on animals so long as they are treated humanely? The horses are cared for by carriage drivers. Anyone who has ridden through Central Park in a horse−drawn carriage knows this.
The ride is an only−in−New−York experience. The extremists charged the stables are antiquated and the horses do not get enough water, are forced to breath exhaust and are left to stand in their own waste.
Malarkey. The horses stand on Central Park South and drivers are careful to clean up the waste. A horse that does not get enough water will not live long and who knows what an antiquated stable is?
Councilman David Weprin has introduced a bill that would require stables to be inspected four times per year and certified by the state Horse Health Assurance Program. Good, but his bill would also raise the cost for rides from $34 to $54. Given the recession, that is a lousy suggestion.
Brian O’Dwyer, chairman of the city’s Emerald Isle Immigration Center, said, “I’m a proud son of an immigrant who came here at the turn of the last century and made his job as a carriage driver. It’s a source of employment for the immigrant population. Carriage horse rides have provided the backdrop for the history of New York City, jobs for people and tourism for the city.”
This probably meant nothing to the extremists, but it will resonate with the average New Yorker who understands what it means to work for a living. They also know there is nothing wrong with letting animals work so long as they are cared for.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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