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Jan 9, 2010

New York's Horse and Carriage debate continues

New York City's Health Department has proposed rules for horses that carry tourists that they would get 5 weeks of job-protected vacation...also, good news for the steeds, carriage drivers and their passengers would no longer be allowed to light up under regulations that could take effect as early as March.
"Just like cabdrivers, they shouldn't be smoking," declared Daniel Kass, the Health Department's acting assistant commissioner for environmental health.

Horse drivers will soon face the same restrictions as cab drivers: No cellphones, no texting, no music players and no cameras.

Horse owners will also have to supply thermometers so drivers can take readings after every trip and enter them into a log book.
When temperatures drop below 18 or above 90, the horses would get the day off to eat and stand still, and think about galloping in a green field with buttercups and clouds..

Councilman Tony Avella back in 2008 introduced new legislation attempting to ban the use of horses from pulling carriages around both the city and in central park.

Horse and carriage drivers tend not to want their comments on record, but the ones that do talk to the press usually refer to the fact that horses have been beasts of burden for thousands of years, and they are very happy to be working and interacting.

The last accident, a few years ago, resulting in the death of a horse: "Smoothie", involved a street musician startling the horse with his drum. (the horse was also a music critic). The ASPCA has backed the proposed ban, which is a telling factor in the ban's future success

Animal rights spokesmen usually draw the publics' attention to the unavailability of water for the horses and the cramped stables (all of which have passed inspection). In particular though is the worry that horses have to deal with careless car drivers whom more often than not are chatting on cell phones.

Carolyn Daly, a professional public relations woman, has been speaking on behalf of the horse and carriage association, but I spoke to the drivers and owners themselves who all seem to agree that the horses are are living a decent lifestyle.

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