This afternoon we spoke at the New York City Council hearing on the Mayor’s proposal (Intro-573A) to move the carriage horses into Central Park. Here is our full statement:
Catskill Animal Sanctuary has always believed that horses should not be pulling carriages in today’s New York City. We have advocated for their retirement and stand ready to help the horses find sanctuary.
While the bill before the Council seems to be an encouraging first step in that direction, we believe it falls far short of providing the life the horses deserve, and that it fails to address the underlying cruelty of the carriage horse industry.
Even if the bill’s problems are addressed — if cars were banned from the park, if the horses were turned out, if they were retired at an earlier age — the underlying problem remains. It is cruel to force an easily spooked animal to work in city streets. Period. For a city that leads the world in so many areas, we lag embarrassingly behind as cities around the nation vote to abolish this anachronistic and inhumane industry. There are a million other ways tourists can enjoy their visit — none involves animal abuse. We do not use that term lightly. Better regulation of the industry — if it is enforced — is simply better regulation of abuse.
We are further concerned about the use of a public space and public funds to subsidize a private industry whose time has passed. And we stand with pedicab drivers who should not have their jobs taken away.
Therefore, we respectfully ask the Council not to support the bill. But please do not misunderstand us. Standing against the bill should not be seen as supporting the status quo. We request that the Council take an honest look at the horses’ lives and abolish the carriage industry once and for all.