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Will NYC Replace Horse-Drawn Carriages With Cars Powered By Manure?

The New York City Council is holding hearings March 12 on whether to ban horse-drawn carriages and possibly replace them with classic cars powered by green energy. The city has been waffling over banning the horses since at least 1989. The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages says the animals shouldn’t have to live in tight stalls and work in dense midtown, where they have been electrocuted and hit by cars, only to face unkown fate when they retire.

I don’t have any illusions that the council is going to finally ban horses today, but the new twist is the bill “replacing horse drawn carriages with alternative fuel powered classic cars.” This measure, supported by PETA, seems to have for everyone: classic cars for the old, alternative fuel for the young. If you’re going to have a fanciful, anachronistic vehicle sucker tourists into rides around Central Park, why use futuristic, unspecified fuel?

Ever dour, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages says the horseless carriage plan does leave one key stakeholder out: the horses. They worry that if the bill passed, it would make no provisions that the 200 or so current carriage pullers wouldn’t end up at slaughter houses in Mexico or Canada, where many unwanted U.S. horses are increasingly dispatched. Right now the horse owners have to tell the city which horses they have, but but not what happened to the ones no longer there.

The coalition says their bill is the only one (of three potential laws) that makes the horse owners tell the city when they get rid of carriage horses and where they go. And the horses can only become companion animals or go to sanctuaries–not have a second career pulling carriages. Because horses are flooding sanctuaries around the country as their owners go broke, finding these fairy tale homes would be hard. So the carriage owners might have to pay for their retirement instead of just disposing of them–that makes the business a whole lot more expensive.

In Other Central Park South News…
Bruce Yolton got another neat video of the coyote heading north out the west side of the Hallett Nature Sanctuary.

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