The following Editorial appeared in the New York Post supporting the continued existence of the carriage industry in New York City. Reporters have spent considerable time over the last several years visiting the stables, speaking with carriage drivers, and researching the industry. They have convinced themselves that the horses are well cared for and should remain part of Iconic New York,
The ASPCA's Dead Horse
New York Post, editorial. November 9, 2011
Everyone knows there’s no sense in beating a dead horse — but the ASPCA just found a way to ride one.
When a carriage horse named Charlie keeled over dead in Midtown last month, animal-rights activists were all in a lather: “Animal cruelty!” they cried, harnessing the death as a pretext for a complete ban on Central Park carriage rides.
“We are very concerned that Charlie was forced to work in spite of painful maladies” like stomach ulcers, noted the ASPCA’s chief horse veterinarian, Pamela Corey.
Which was an outright lie, as Corey honorably admitted in an apologetic correction letter she sent the Health Department — which promptly got her suspended without pay by the white knights of the Pony Patrol.
Charlie had only been giving rides in the city for about 20 days, and he collapsed in the morning before even starting his shift. Was he worked to death? Not a chance — horses suffer heart attacks and strokes just like humans, and not much can be done about it.
Again, Corey admitted the deception: “There was no evidence of cruelty or neglect,” she explained. “I was under a lot of pressure during the writing of that press release.”
A “lot of pressure” to lie? Why?
For one thing, the organization is increasingly with the “a rat is a pig is a boy” school of animal-rights activism — first articulated by the nutjobs at PETA, but increasingly a mainstream sensibility.
For the short term, though, the ASPCA will content itself with working to ban the carriage trade — and apparently won’t let the truth get in the way.
So far, Mayor Bloomberg has refused to back a ban that would put hundreds of New Yorkers — and their nags — out of work . Bloomberg said, “you should remind those people that . . . we pay municipal employees” with money pumped in by visitors who delight in carriage rides.
(Besides, thanks to the City Council, carriage horses now get five weeks of vacation in the country every year — nearly as much as a city schoolteacher. And like just about everything else in the city, they’re regulated by the Health Department.)
Venice has its gondolas, but New York has its carriage rides through Central Park.
The city can’t ditch the latter.
Even if the liars at the ASPCA don’t particularly like it.