The City Council passed new regulations last year to make the horse carriage industry more humane, but some lawmakers are now arguing that not enough is being done and that the business should be shut down altogether. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Everybody needs a vacation, including carriage horses.
The above-pictured equines normally call New York City home, but they're taking a break for the next few weeks as required by city law.
The City Council passed regulations last year to make the controversial horse carriage industry safer and more humane. They set standards for stall size, how horses could be tied up and what gear was needed during inclement weather.
They also made sure the horses get a break, a respite from pounding the pavement in Midtown.
They're doing it in Pennsylvania.
"They loaf around out in the pasture, just taking it easy, being lazy, like being out on the beach," said farmer Norman Martin.
Despite the new rules, some council members and advocates are still calling for the city to put the industry out to pasture and to replace it with electric cars.
They say the carriages are inhumane for horses and are a safety risk for tourists and drivers.
"It's clear, just like everything in this city, people don't follow the regulations, and as a result we see these very exhausted horses out there," said City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.
The ASPCA has issued 206 citations to the horse carriage industry since 2007, and 62 percent of them were related to the safety and welfare of the horses.
At the Clinton Park Stables in Midtown, manager Connor McHugh said anyone that questions the treatment of these animals only has to walk down Central Park South.
"They just keep trotting out that stuff, saying the horses are maltreated, but it just hasn't been proven in any way shape or form. It's just not true," said McHugh.
The health department requires horse carriage owners to prove their animals get the five-week siesta. So far, 12 owners have not submitted proof of such stays. They have been issued warnings.
Here on the farm, Martin said more horses have been looking to board since the law went into effect last year.
The horses are used for some light farm work in Lancaster County, but only when absolutely necessary. For the most part it, it's all rest and relaxation.
by Courtney Gross