Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has just announced plans to do away with the horse-drawn carriages in New York City, calling them “inhumane”.
The move is a controversial one for an official who isn’t even in office yet, as many are worried that taking away such a popular tourist attraction will negatively affect the economy in the city. There’s also the drivers to think about, although de Blasio says he’s already thinking of alternative modes of transportation that will still allow them to work, such as antique electric cars.
“This is my career. I won’t go out without a fight. Yesterday we were so busy. People came to enjoy their last rides. They were telling us ‘We can’t believe what the mayor is doing,’” driver Thomas Hennessy said, saying his horse Billy Bob is well cared for. “I don’t know what else I would do if I can’t work doing this anymore.”
Animal rights activists have been trying for years to convince city officials to ban horse drawn carriages due to the dangers and health issues the streets can bring; singer Pink has been very vocal in her pursuit of a ban and started a petition in her efforts.
“Every time I see a horse-drawn carriage in a concrete jungle, I point and yell ‘animal cruelty’ at the top of my lungs to try to make the driver and occupants as uncomfortable as possible,” says Pink. “It honestly hurts my heart when I think of what those horses must be feeling, as far as anxiety and fear, and how unnatural and wrong it is for these animals to have blinders on, trotting up and down on concrete, while taxis blare and people scream. It’s absolutely unnatural and ignorant of us to continue this outdated tradition. What about this is romantic?”
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