The New York State Governor has taken a stand against the local horse and carriage industry that puts our local pols to shame. Gov. David Paterson, taking on the 150-year-old tradition of horse-drawn carriage rides in Manhattan’s Central Park, says the horses need to be treated better or the popular tourist rides should be banned. His recent comment before an animal activist group, rare from a high-level official, drew praise from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Paterson seeks “more humane treatment of horses that have often suffered due to difficult work conditions,” said Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein. “Horse carriages are important to New York’s overall tourism industry and to the fabric of New York City’s culture, however we must be certain to treat horses and all animals ethically.”
The romantic rides in ornate Hansom carriages have graced Central Park since the 19th century, drawing 800,000 customers a year. They have been featured in tourism ads and in countless movies and TV shows. But Paterson and animal rights groups say the horses’ stables are too small and too cold in winter and that the constant work isn’t humane. There are occasional crashes with automobiles, one of which left a horse dead last year.