Sunday, August 17, 2008

ONE YEAR LATER -- BUSINESS AS USUAL FOR THE HORSES


The letter below was published recently in Our Town and The West Side Spirit - Manhattan neighborhood papers. This reflects our beliefs precisely. So rather than to reinvent the wheel, we print it gain. We ask that the City Council take some action on this issue. For more information, please access the NYC Comptroller's Audit Report on their web site and read the New York Times article that addressed this issue. This horse stands in his own waste on the Central Park South hack line.

8/14/08 -Horses Need Summer Break - - It has been a very hot and humid summer. Uncomfortable for people - but worse for the carriage horses who cannot get any relief. Kept out in the blazing sun, horses can easily overheat. As sweat evaporates from the horse's skin, it acts as a cooling mechanism, drawing out some of the surface heat. But in times of high humidity, it is less efficient. If the air is humid, sweat will not evaporate. There is no shade on Central Park South or Grand Army Plaza where the carriage horses line up to accept passengers - the unforgiving sun beating down on their heads. They stand there waiting - with their blinders and heavy tack, between the shafts of their carriage.

The 2007 NYC Comptroller's Audit of the agencies that oversee the industry found that there isn't adequate shade on the hack line and horses risked overheating on the hot asphalt where they were forced to stand. One year later and nothing has changed. Existing regulations call for the horses to be returned to their stables when the temperature reaches 90 degrees - humidity is not a consideration. It can be 89 degrees with humidity making it feel like 95 and the horses are permitted to work. But equine experts suggest when the combination of temperature and humidity or THI exceeds 130-140, the horses should be off the street. It is time for the authorities to pay attention to the stress experienced by these horses and at least factor humidity into the existing law. Elizabeth Forel - President Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.

1 comment:

Mary Alice said...

So true. The Comptroller of the City of New York detailed the misery, for god's sake. And not one thing has changed. I wonder what it would take to get the attention of those cowards on the City Council? Since most are on the way out, maybe they'll develop some courage and integrity at some point. If a horse spooks and puts a dent in one of the lawmakers' Mercedes, maybe the idea of putting horses into traffic will seem like a bad idea. As for water and shade on the hack line, if a City Council member can find a way to make money on it, it may just happen. Maybe CM Gennaro could set up a concession and sell water for the horses, or something like that.