I am appalled that the article, “The Last Roundup?” (April 4), did not even mention the reasons Mayor de Blasio and other rational and compassionate people are pushing for a ban on the horse-drawn carriage industry.
These horses, many of them former draft or racehorses, doing a second lifetime of work for man, work nine hours a day, seven days a week, in all temperature extremes, with very minimal restrictions and no consideration for wind-chill or humidity. They get no turnout time, and often don’t get a drop of water in winter, when the troughs freeze solid.
So, while Ariel, the driver, claims (in a manipulative reference to a Talmudic imperative) that he feeds his horse before he feeds himself, I assure you that especially in winter, when we’ve heartbreakingly witnessed the horses trying to lick ice in the street, his horse is not getting adequately watered (which is even more important than food).
At the end of their exhausting day, the horses struggle through chaotic and unyielding New York City traffic, and often get startled and dart, resulting in accidents in which both people and horses get hurt (or worse). If they don’t drop dead from illness or exhaustion, when they are no longer useful to the industry, they are often sold at auctions, sometimes ending up dying a horrifically painful death in a slaughterhouse. That is their “reward” for their lifetime(s) of work for man. All this is a flagrant violation of tsa’ar ba’alei chaim [the prohibition from making animals suffer], and cannot possibly be acceptable according to our Jewish values. It’s time that this outdated, unsafe and cruel industry be banned and the horses sent to sanctuaries to live out their lives with dignity and in peace.