Animal spirits - NYCLASS

Animal spirits

The animal-rights activists who want to kill the Central Park horse-carriage business visited our office the other day to present their case to the Crain's editorial board.

29 April 2013
New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets visit Crain's offices

By Glenn Coleman

Yea or neigh, you might be wondering. First, let me say they were perfectly pleasant, these folks from New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (aka NYCLASS), despite their wealthy funders' links to those dishonest TV attack ads in the mayor's race that suggest "animal hater" Christine Quinn is evil personified. Class, indeed. Nevertheless, NYCLASS and City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito seek a change in the law to test-drive the marketplace viability of a vintage "horseless carriage" that could truck tourists around Central Park in all-electric Chitty Chitty Bang Bang splendor.

Offering a tourism-industry version of a veggie burger sounds harmless enough, as long as it's not a hoof in the door for, I dunno, double-decker horseless carriages or some other future monstrosity.

The real goal seems clear enough—put those hurtin' horsies out to pasture—but as I listened to the loaded litany of alleged animal abuses, I had to interrupt: If you really want to end animal suffering in Central Park, why not target the zoo rather than the carriage trade? Gus the polar bear is a nomadic wild animal whose natural range is supposed to stretch to West Point, not West 75th Street. His fate is arguably more cruel than that of a domesticated horse carting around a couple of tubby tourists.

Ms. Mark-Viverito paused. "One step at a time," she said, before steering me back to the morning's message.

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