Write Mayor Bloomberg
I lived in New York City (downtown, but still) as an adult, spent my young adulthood there, and visited the museums with my parents as a child. And I’d move back to Manhattan in a nanosecond if it weren’t for one thing (besides the fact that my husband wouldn’t come with me because he wouldn’t be able to play golf every day): the carriage horses around Central Park.
I can’t even look at them while driving by in a taxi, and I can’t go running on a brisk autumn morning through the hills (compared to Florida) of the park. I’m instantly saddened, and often nauseated, when I see, hear and smell the horses. I cannot help–cannot help–but see them as slaves. That’s the first thing that comes to my mind: the horses are slaves. The horses do not control when they sleep, eat or work. They often work all day, every day, for a week, without adequate time to rest. They don’t get enough water. They stand in their own waste. They are forced to work no matter how hot or cold it is. They are forced to carry people–people who clearly aren’t thinking through what they are doing–through 21st century traffic in one of the most crowded cities in the world.
I am astounded that the carriages still exist. But I’m not astounded that an "Audit Faults City on Care of Carriage Horses." (Read it, thank the New York Times for publishing it, and if you have anything else to say about what’s in the article, like maybe about the last line, include it in your letter to email@example.com.)
Earlier in the summer, I participated in a postcard campaign started by Elizabeth Forel of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carrages. Everywhere I went, I brought postcards for people to sign. Everyone who walked into my house had to be schooled about the situation and had to sign a postcard. Here’s what the card says:
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
On June 2, 2007, a carriage horse was hit by an SUV near 7th Avenue and 56th Street. Nineteenth century conveyances pulled by horses weighing between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds do not belong on the congested streets of a 21st century city. In fact, this practice has been banned in other major world cities, including London, Paris, Toronto and Beijing.
As you states so eloquently on Earth Day 2007, "New York is the most modern and technologically advanced city in the world. But in all the key elements of our city’s life, we are using 20th century operating systems–and sometimes 19th century systems." This 19th century mode of transportation threatens public safety, affects air quality in one of the most pristine areas of New York and causes noticeable suffering for the animals. It is time to take our heads out of the sand and end this outmoded, dangerous and inhumane practice. I urge you to call for a ban of horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
The address is: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Hall, New York, NY 10007.
This is one of the few opportunities we have–right now–to abolish a use of a nonhuman animal. We’ve taken enough from horses and justified needing them as our beasts of burden. In 2007, there simply is no reason to use them, other than for sheer entertainment and profit. It’s time we allow the horses to live out their lives, cared for, at sanctuaries, and stop using them to cart us around in traffic.