Friday, January 2, 2009

Advocates Protest Central Park Carriage Horses

A handful of animal advocates gathered in frigid temperatures at Central Park Thursday to protest horse-drawn-carriage rides as the City Council gets ready to consider a ban on the tourist attraction, writes the NY Daily News.

One advocate noted that as horses went to work in a snowstorm last month, and one slipped on an icy street.  The Council is set to debate a bill later this month that would shut down the industry.

The plight of NYC's carriage horses is highlighted in the one-hour award-winning documentary, "Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition."

A horse-drawn carriage rides around Central Park has long been a favorite activity of tourists from around the world. But the future of this industry is the subject of a debate being aired on the streets, in the press and at City Hall. Carriage operators say that horse-drawn carriages should stay because they are a cherished symbol of New York City that bring in tourist dollars. Advocates for animals say the industry should be banned because it's inhumane and unsafe. They believe Hollywood has romanticized horse-drawn carriages and claim that life on congested city streets is anything but romantic for these nervous animals that are easily spooked.

As a result of three dramatic and fatal accidents since 2006 that received international media attention, the plight of the beloved New York City carriage horses is now in the public eye more than ever before. But the public doesn't know much more than what they see on the streets and in the news.

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