Unintended Consequences: Save The Horses! (Send Them To The Glue Factory)
New York's new Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday:
"We are going to get rid of horse carriages, period. We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape. . . . They are not humane. They are not appropriate for the year 2014. It's over. So, just watch us do it."
The quote is from an NRO piece by Jillian Kay Melchior explaining that the ban will hurt tourists, the drivers, and the horses:
And while the new mayor has made no secret of the scorn he bears for the property of New York City's richest residents, in this case he's also disregarding the rights of small-business owners like Malone, who are struggling to remain in the middle class.
Malone owns his own carriage and two horses, and uses his earnings to support his wife and three kids. His father, an Irish immigrant, drove horses in Central Park before him, teaching his son the trade from age 9. Before that, four generations of Malone's family worked as blacksmiths in Ireland, "so you can say horses are in my blood," he says.
"I'm a New Yorker -- I don't scare easy," Malone adds. "But don't get me wrong. Any time it's not in your hands, it's scary. . . . What it would mean to me personally would be the end of my lineage. It would be unconstitutional, un-American to steal my business, to take my horse away from me. And I'm 44, been doing this for 26 years. That pretty much makes me unemployable for anything else."
Malone may fare poorly if de Blasio gets his way, but his horse could fare even worse.
Horses are expensive -- with food and boarding, they can cost thousands a month -- so they're particularly vulnerable in the bad economy. And a horse's unemployment crisis can have deadly implications; the fact that no slaughterhouses are currently in operation in the United States, far from preventing horse deaths, has resulted in the outsourcing of slaughter for animals that have become too pricey for their owners. Up to 100,000 American horses are shipped to their demise in Mexico and Canada each year.
"A lucky horse is a horse with a job and a purpose," Malone explains. Central Park's tourism circuit employs about 200 horses. If the industry were banned, these horses would be jeopardized, and even if their high profile won them a new pasture home, they'd almost certainly displace other horses around the country, causing more slaughters -- a fact acknowledged by de Blasio's predecessor.
Contrary to popular belief, the Central Park horses are well cared for, says Christina Hansen, a Central Park carriage driver and the founder of Blue Star Equiculture, a nonprofit group that helps provide for and pasture homeless and retired horses.