Horse Drawn Carriages
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Horse Drawn Carriages

Life Of Carriage Horse In New York City Is Marked By Daily Misery And Suffering

Friday, September 12, 2008
Staten Island Advance - Your Opinion

"The Horse," an exhibition currently at The American Museum of Natural History, illustrates the enduring bond between humans and horses. Though published in 1877, "Black Beauty" has a prominent place in this collection; the story still resonates today in New York City.

Unfortunately, this city still endorses the mistreatment of horses by allowing them to pull heavy carriages through congested traffic and breathe in toxic exhaust fumes. Some horses are under-watered, some malnourished and all are overworked during long shifts in extreme weather conditions, only to go back to restrictive stalls, miles away from Central Park, until the next day. Horses need to run, to stretch and to socialize. The life of the New York City carriage horse is one of misery and suffering.

Horses are skittish, highly sensitive, unpredictable animals. In Bay Ridge recently, an area far less trafficked and noise-polluted than Manhattan, two carriage horses became spooked and ran out of control, injuring themselves and one of the drivers who sustained five broken ribs after landing on the windshield of a car stopped at a traffic light. Once again, there is proof that horses do not belong on the streets of New York City in 2008.

City Council Member Tony Avella's proposed legislation, which would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, shows forward thinking, care and compassion for this noble animal.

The exhibition at the museum underscores how this sentient animal has helped to shape human history. For their significant contributions, and for this city's integrity, the horses deserve better.

JACQUELINE HOFFNER GRASMERE.

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