Jillian Michaels, the tough-as-nails trainer on “The Biggest Loser”, may appear to be unmovable when it comes to emotions on the competitive show, but in real life, she’s a soft-hearted animal lover.
The reality show star joined a rally on the steps of City Hall in New York City on Monday in protest of the use of horse-drawn carriages along city streets, a cause supported by PETA. The issue is not a new one, and has caused controversy among New Yorkers and tourists as both sides argue their cases. The carriages support tourism, which brings in a substantial amount of money every year and keeps drivers in work. However, the horses themselves are in physical danger, according to animal rights activists.
“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,” said pop star Pink, who follows the cause alongside Michaels and other celebrities. “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 It’s absolutely unnatural and ignorant of us to continue this outdated tradition.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?”
Drivers like Thomas Hennessy say that the horses are well cared for and that to rid the city of the carriages will also subtract jobs that were hard-fought to get. Last year, when Mayor Bill deBlasio announced a plan to do away with the carriages and install vintage-looking electric cars instead, many were worried whether they would still have a place in the NYC economy.
“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,’” Hennessy said. “I don’t know what else I would do if I can’t work doing this anymore.”
de Blasio may not receive enough votes to pass the law, however, and as many as 60% of New Yorkers want to keep the carriages on the streets.
Image via Wikimedia Commons