Reading the positive and affirming comments about NYC carriage horses by equine veterinarians onsavenyccarriagehorses.com for me reinforces the disingenuousness of those who would seek to end a 150+ year-old, beloved NYC tradition.
A native New Yorker, I know well the constant renewal that NYC embraces, as neighborhoods fade, then rise again with successive waves of immigrants and the ever-changing nature of our industry and economy. Still, New Yorkers jealously guard those traditions and practices, which are and remain quintessentially New York, and our carriage horse tradition is exactly of that sort.
The human partnership with working animals runs long and deep and the carriage horse remains a touchstone to that past, allowing us to remember a simpler time, when that very partnership was essential to life itself. We many are grateful that there remain pockets of animal stewardship that allow us to remember and embrace what has come before. How fortunate we are in NYC to still have carriage horses to remind us of those traditions.
Expert equine veterinarians have already made clear the excellent care and husbandry NYC carriage horses receive and there is little need for me to repeat their wisdom. I do want to point out however, the cynical way in which the claims to the contrary are being used to further both real estate investment opportunities for a few, as well as fundraising and publicity for activist organizations bent on their Luddite vision of the place of animals in human societies.
The activist organizations of which I speak, NYCLASS, ASPCA, HSUS and others, are not novices in their attempts to ban all manner of traditional uses of animals by human beings, terming them as cruel, neglectful and unnecessary. Faced with objective criteria demonstrating the complete lack of alleged cruelty or neglect, they fall back on unnecessary as though opinion is enough to end the debate.
There is an obvious difference between those who profess to care about animals and those few who actually care for them. Those who care for them have real skin in the game, know far more about animal husbandry and have much more invested personally than those who simply write articles, lobby, file lawsuits or raise funds from comfortable offices in Washington DC or on East 92nd Street.
As said by former New York Senator, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” The opponents of carriage horses ought to be reminded of that in their pursuit of an ideology that does not include animals in most of their existing mainstream roles in American society. Thankfully such people are in the minority and with effort and some luck, will stay that way.
Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MPH
Staten Island, NY and Canton, CT
This article was originally published by NAIAOnline.org