The media is firmly on the side of the carriage trade. Why is anyone's guess, but it is not because they love the horses or care so much about the drivers or because it is a tradition that New York simply cannot do without; I do not buy that. I suspect the Daily News, which has led the charge, is using the carriage horse issue as a metaphor for their dislike of de Blasio's progressive agenda. Its publisher, Mort Zuckerman, had previously enjoyed access to City Hall under Michael Bloomberg.
Don't believe anyone who tells you the horses "love" their jobs. The living and working conditions of the carriage horses are inhumane and unsafe. Horses are gentle, sensitive creatures who are trained to obey, some abused emotionally and sometimes physically into submission. That is the New York carriage horse, standing at the hack line waiting in the hot burning sun without shade, or their hooves immersed in cold snowy slush, looking dispirited and zoned out.
The City Council does not have to show any compassion for the horses. But they should be concerned about the public's safety. They need to remove their blinders. Each day that another huge 1,500 to 2,000 pound horse is put on the street to work in the middle of traffic is taking an irresponsible risk. The very nature of these majestic animals makes them unsuitable to be pulling flimsy carriages in one of the most traffic congested cities in the world.