The New York Times
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

In “Battling to Retain a Touch of the 19th Century” (Public Lives, April 4), you write of “healthy, happy, citified carriage horses,” yet the A.S.P.C.A., the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which you call “the agency that polices the horse-and-carriage industry,” now seeks to ban the industry from New York City.

Why? Because oversight is obstructed by the industry itself. In December, a stable owner was arrested for attempting to bribe an undercover investigator to ignore violations on licenses and how they were displayed.

Are the horses happy? Consider the audit released in September and covered in The Times. It found horses lacking water, forced to stand in their own waste or endure hot asphalt. And according to Newsweek, New York City has the highest carriage-horse accident rate in the country.

Second, a stable owner, Ian McKeever, claims, “We hold New York City’s most important commodity in the palm of our hands: the tourist industry.” But horse-drawn vehicles are outlawed in London, Paris, Toronto and Beijing, and those cities draw visitors aplenty.

The coalition seeking a ban, which includes Friends of Animals, wants New York listed among cities that keep only the humane and respectful aspects of centuries past.

Priscilla Feral
President, Friends of Animals
Darien, Conn., April 7, 2008