University’s Center for Community Action and Research rallies in defense of carriage horses

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Austin Sanderson

Members of the Center for Community Action and Research here at the University attended a rally on Thursday Feb. 8 in support of saving Central Park horses from what they consider animal cruelty. The incident that directly inspired the protest took place on Feb. 4 when a carriage horse named Arthur was startled by an opening umbrella and uncontrollably ran down Central Park South. The handler was not able to stop the horse and in the process, three people were injured and three cars were damaged.

The rally was not only in response to this isolated incident, but also to the overall treatment of horses that work around the city. Animal rights activists have been calling on the removal of house carriage for years citing the horses live in, what they consider, deplorable stable conditions and work seven days a week. Many activists also believe that the nature of Midtown Manhattan with the concrete roads and loud sounds do not create a suitable environment for the horses.

Ashley Kuenneke who attended the rally and is also the programs coordinator at the Center says that the issue is with the lack of accountability of the owners. Kuenneke explained, “The horses are property of the owner… there is no sure way the tell what the owner does with that horse. While at the time of the rally it was unknown if Arthur was being sent to a slaughter house however, WNBC has reported that Arthur will be taken to the Blue Star Equiculture animal sanctuary in Palmer, Massachusetts.”

The CCAR worked with the organization who organized the rally, the New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets, to bring attention to the issue. This organization is looking to get a bill passed by the city council that would remove all carriages from the city. They are also working towards a law that would require a horse to be sent to a sanctuary farm upon retirement instead of a slather house. Mayor Bill De Blasio campaigned on the promise of removing horse carriages from Central Park, but has hit roadblocks from the city council, preventing the carriages from being taken off the streets.

There are many ways one can get involved if they are interested. Later this month the CCAR will be hold a “Call your Representative” event where students can call their city council representative to encourage them to pass a bill that would address the horse carriages. For more information, the Center for Community Action and Research is located in room Y31 in One Pace Plaza.

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