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Horse Drawn Carriages

Carriage Horses Are Healthy, New Report Says

Special to the Sun
March 27, 2008

The horses that draw carriages filled with tourists and couples through Central Park are healthy and well-cared-for, according to a new report by a Cornell University veterinarian that contradicts complaints from animal rights activists.

The horses have been the subject of dispute in recent months, as a City Council member has proposed legislation to ban the horse-drawn carriages, and a storage company is planning an advertising campaign to draw attention to what it feels amounts to animal abuse.

The veterinarian who performed the report, John Lowe, was commissioned by the Horse and Carriage Association to review procedures and observe the horses at five stables. He spent March 12 examining the horses and their living conditions.

"The general condition of the horses was excellent," Dr. Lowe wrote in the report.

Animal rights activists, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have led a campaign against the horse-drawn carriage industry, saying the horses inhale exhaust and do not have enough access to drinking water, among other complaints.

Council Member Tony Avella proposed legislation in December to ban the industry, though Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn have not supported it. Manhattan Mini Storage is soon unveiling an advertising campaign that asks customers to donate money to the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages, a group lobbying against the industry.

Mr. Avella said he did not believe the study's findings. "The carriage horse industry will say anything, will do anything. I don't trust anything they say based on what I've heard and seen. They hired somebody," he said in an interview.

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