The sudden death of a carriage horse on a Midtown street is no reason to ban hansom cabs, Mayor Bloomberg said today.
The horse fell down and died Sunday morning on W. 54th St. near Eighth Ave. as it trotted toward Central Park to begin its shift.
The death has renewed animal activists' calls to put an end to the horse-drawn carriage business in NYC, but Bloomberg said of such advocates, “I have no idea what goes through their minds."
“Unfortunately, there was a death of a horse. Horses have life expectancies of 14, 15 years, 20 years, depending on the breed of the horse. The horses here are supervised by the Health Department, the ASPCA, [and] they’re well taken care of. Most of them probably wouldn't be alive if they didn’t have a job,” Hizzoner said, according to a transcript by our Jonathan Lemire.
(I was wondering how Bloomberg happened to know a horse's average life expectancy when I recalled that his daughter, Georgina, is an equestrian. Duh.)
“The tourists love this. We worry about the horses being treated well and humanely. We’ve asked for an autopsy on this horse, but there’s no evidence that the horse was abused. Why anyone wants to destroy something that is part of New York's heritage and that tourists love, you should remind those people that the way we pay municipal employees is with taxpayers’ money. The taxpayers depend on tourists coming and New Yorkers having a good time, and carriages are just one of the things they do.”
Bloomberg's remarks brought a rebuke from New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, an anti-horse-carriage group, which said in a statement, "Our electric car alternative protects the tourism industry, the jobs of the drivers and the lives of the horses. The ASPCA and NYCLASS have already jointly committed to protecting the lives of all carriage horses in the event that this solution is implemented and strongly suggest to the city that this is a far better alternative to the current state of the industry."