In scenic Central Park, horse-drawn carriage rides have long served as an iconic attraction for many residents and visitors in the Big Apple. That era may be coming to an end, however. During his campaign for mayor, Bill De Blasio promised to end horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City on his first day as mayor. He wants to replace them with “old-timey” electric cars.
It’s another example of animal rights activists run wild. The pending ban will destroy several, generations-old, family carriage businesses. To radical animal rights advocates and leftists like De Blasio, these businesses are nessecary collateral damage in their quest to re-order our lives.
The horses live a pampered existence, working no more than 9 hours per day under the care from trained equestrian experts, who undergo a rigorous licensing process that involves a 3 day test, 80 hours of apprenticeship, and a 6 month probationary period.
With 5 weeks of mandatory vacation, the horses enjoy a level of workplace regulation that would put a French union worker to shame. The stables housing these animals are lavish, granting the horses a standard of living that outperforms most human residents of NYC. Still, nothing is good enough for the radical animal rights activists who have been scheming to abolish these stables for over a decade.
Activists, who claim the carriage rides are unethical, base their case on the deaths of two horses in 2006 and 2007 that resulted from traffic accidents. Nearly 300 people die every year due to traffic accidents in New York City. Meanwhile, carriages have seen less than three horse fatalities total in the past three decades, despite giving countless thousands of rides every year. The care and safety provided to these horses is extraordinary, yet with big money, animal rights activists have been able to blow isolated incidents way out of proportion.
The stables are run by nearly 60 small, family businesses that have been passed down for generations. Individuals like Stephen Malone, a carriage owner who took over the job from his father, have been left to wonder if he will have hang up the reins after six decades in business. Stephen has been told not to worry, however, because the animal rights groups have invested an asinine amount of money in the preposterous idea to replace the horses with electric cars. “Not only do they want to take my private property, but they also want to saddle us with $175,000 dollars in debt for an electric carriage that no one wants to ride in,” said Malone.
The anti-carriage movement is largely spearheaded by an organization known as the New Yorkers for Clean and Safe Streets (NYCLASS). This organization was created by a six-figure grant from the ASPCA, the group that raises money from your grandmother under the pretense of running pet shelters.
The grant was matched by a similar figure from Steve Nislick, a real estate investor who owns much of the property surrounding the stables. Nislick’s involvement has lead many carriage owners to suggest that the driving force behind the attacks on their industry is the desire to obtain the valuable land upon which their stables sit. When the arrangement between Nislick and the ASPCA was questioned by a Carriage Association complaint to the NY Attorney General, then Public Advocate, Bill De Blasio, used his status to condemn the move by saying, “I stand with NYCLASS and the ASPCA, and urge the State Attorney General’s Office, the New York City Department of Investigation and the Health Department to dismiss this brazen, politically motivated complaint.”
De Blasio won his mayoral election after the surprise implosion of the Quinn campaign. Flush with grandma’s ASPCA money, NYCLASS invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a formal campaign known as “Anybody But Quinn.” As Crain’s New York Business Insider notes, much of this campaign activity was done in direct violation of campaign finance law. Consequently, NYCLASS was forced to shuffle money around and engage in a number of creative campaign financing tactics in order to continue to have increased influence on the mayoral race.
These extraordinary measures worked. When De Blasio assumes the mayor’s office, the radical animal rights activists will finally achieve their long-term goal of ending horse-drawn carriage rides.
This article was written by Philip Christofanelli with The Cavalry Group, private member based company working to protect the rights of animal owners and animal-based businesses.