The Boston Herald, in “Rein Dance: Horse-drawn carriage owners fight push for ban” (Monday, 21 May), reports that Friends of Animals, in addition to working to abolish horse-drawn carriage tours of New York, “will crack the whip on Boston” next.

“These are two international cities that will get along just fine without carriage rides,” said Edita Birnkrant, New York City campaign coordinator for Connecticut-based Friends of Animals.

The article continues:

“People only see the surface of it, where it looks so romantic. It’s a complete life of misery for a horse: noise, traffic, pollution. They’re like animal slaves. It’s their whole lives until they either die or just get too old or sick to work anymore. I’m surprised more of them don’t drop in the street,” [Birnkrant] said.

Manhattan has been beset by carriage tragedies. Last year, a horse got spooked and had to be euthanized after it collided with a cab. In 1999, a horse was electrocuted stepping on a manhole cover.

In Boston, a horse-drawn carriage was rear-ended by a truck in 1997, and the animal broke a leg fleeing.

Friends of Animals has taken the stance that, “Horses are not objects of entertainment for tourists.” London, Toronto, Paris and Las Vegas apparently agree. They are among major metropolises that have already taken the reins and banned buggies.

The Boston carriage industry’s response? “We are regulated by the state and we are here in the public eye all the time.”

One owner, who describes treating the horses well, actually tells readers about one of the horses: “If he didn’t like it, he’d leave.”

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opposes the use of horses in Boston and calls Manhattan a “tough” location, yet is “not opposed to the use of horse-drawn carriages in general.”

Friends of Animals’ Birnkrant says: “The only answer, the only right thing to do, is to get the industry out of New York,” Birnkrant said. “We’re not being flexible on that.”

If New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg agrees to end the custom, Birnkrant said Friends of Animals would advocate phasing out carriage rides over a year’s time so the horses could be placed in appropriate sanctuaries and drivers would be helped with new job training.

Award-winning court and crime reporter Laurel J. Sweet wrote the article. Click here to read the full article and rate it for its value to readers.