Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, weighed in on the issue following the death in September 2007 of Smoothie, a mare who collapsed after getting spooked by a drummer (a daily part of life in New York's Central Park.) Here's an except.
"The carriage horse owner's association now says it wants to limit music and noise in the area to protect the horses. It's a typical diversionary tactic from the industry. Trying to limit noise that may startle horses on the margins of the park is like trying to stop birds from singing in the hinterlands. It's folly.
The only way to protect the horses is to get them off the streets. If you go to New York, don't patronize this carriage horse business. If you live in New York, let your city council members know you are unhappy with the treatment of these animals."
Read "Big Apple Bustle No Place For Horses," posted Sept. 18, 2007 on Wayne's blog
Read "The HSUS Calls on New York City to Eliminate Inhumane Carriage Horse Industry" (Dec. 8, 2007)
Eds' Note: Many experts have agreed that anything less than an outright ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City would be inadequate. A "Band-Aid" proposal purporting to improve the treatment and circumstances of NYC carriage horses would be, well, folly. Nor is this an industry that is capable of regulating itself. (See December 22 post on Mr. Byrne.)