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By Paul Graham, Las Vegas Informer
September 2013

While the new mayor of New York has vowed to eliminate horse carriages from their city, the Las Vegas City Council this week gave preliminary approval to a company wanting to provide horse carriage rides in Downtown Las Vegas. While we have seen in recent years great strides here in Las Vegas towards positive change for people, animals, and the planet…to allow this would be a true step backwards. While some cities and their people are consciously realizing that this is an outdated practice, not good for the animals, and really just creates more headaches than the service they think that it provides.

I received a communication recently from someone in New York City that was working on the ban there who was inquiring about horse carriages here in Las Vegas. I told them that I had heard nothing and that I had not seen them except for at a special event or two in the ten years that I had been here. Nothing was on the radar as far as I could knew but it seems there was indeed some things in the works. While there is something on the books allowing this to take place, it was not until now that someone had brought it before the council to try and bring it to life. Few people even knew about this and there was no time to really mount any sort of opposition to this with only a day’s notice. Now we know.

The Council voted 4-3 to allow the request to move forward. Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Lois Tarkanian, and Stavros Anthony voted against and Ricki Barlow, Bob Coffin, Bob Beers, and Steve Ross voted in favor of the horse carriage rides in Downtown Las Vegas. One councilman thought the idea was “neat.” Sorry, but I would disagree that it is “neat.” Not for the horses or really anyone else. While the ordinance would only allow the carriages to operate when it is 90 degrees or less…the actual heat on the hard, hot asphalt is even hotter than the air temperature for the horses and very wearing on them. How will this be enforced? The car exhaust fumes are not good for them. It his hard work and all you have to see is some video clips of horses collapsing under the heat and stress of pulling people around to know that this is not something that one would want associated with their city.

The councilmen who voted in favor of this also said that it would promote economic development, bring new jobs Downtown, and keep tourists down there longer. Really guys, is that the best you can come up with? Because I can think of about a hundred other things that would accomplish this far better and easier. Economic development is going on with or without horse carriage rides and new jobs are already coming to the Downtown area. You just have to drive around a little bit to see that is happening. Horse carriage rides would have minimal impact in this way. Yes, some would think that it is “neat” to have this nostalgic and perceived “romantic” activity taking place in the Downtown area. It is important for everyone to do a little research and find out why cities like New York and others are trying to do away with it. To understand why so many others won’t even think of allowing it.

It is not as if we have Central Park Downtown either down there. I love the Downtown area, I am a supporter of the work that is going on down there, and I frequent it often. But what are they supposed to be looking at on these carriage rides? They won’t be allowed near the areas that would actually be interesting to look at. It really is just not a good idea. It is really backwards thinking and not progressive. The company that wants to do this still needs to get a business state approval, and meet all of the necessary regulations, including adequate insurance. It is important right now to contact the Las Vegas City Council through City Hall and do a couple of things. If you are opposed to seeing horse carriage rides here in Las Vegas, encourage those that voted against it to keep up the fight and see what you can do to help stem the tide on this. Even more importantly is to contact the councilmen who voted for this, especially if they represent your area, and let them know that you are not in favor of this at all and you think it is a very bad idea and why you think so. We weren’t given a chance to speak to this issue but now we must. It is an idea whose time has passed and we need to let them know about it.

Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog, Eating Vegan in Vegas which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.

Paul’s e-book, Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere is now available at

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