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Letters & Editorials

Will This Mayor Care About Carriage Horses?

February 12, 1994

To the Editor:

David N. Dinkins, in one of his final decisions as Mayor of New York
City, vetoed an ill-conceived City Council-passed bill that would have
weakened the law that protected the city's carriage horses throughout his

A sunset provision voided that protection on Jan. 1.

The purpose of the sunset provision was to mandate a humane and pragmatic
review of the effects of the expiring law on the horses and the public.
Both the public and the horses were well served.

During the law's existence fewer carriage horse accidents occurred, even though
significantly more carriage horse drivers were employed.

Obstructions related to carriage horse traffic were reduced, a fact gratefully noted
by business community representatives and city traffic and health department officials, who protested in public hearings the weaker provisions of the proposed bill, which the full Council nonetheless passed.

Despite an obvious need for legislation at least as protective as before,
entrepreneurial interests, little concerned with horse carriage-related city traffic problems and the humane needs of carriage horses, have persuaded the usually humanely vigilant head of the City Council, Peter Vallone, again to advocate carriage horse legislation that is still significantly weaker than the former law.

Were David Dinkins now Mayor, horses at the mercy of our legislators would have a protective champion.

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani will soon have a chance to demonstrate the extent of his humane sensitivity. Let us hope that it is equal to the standard that was established by his predecessor.

Tenafly, N.J., Feb. 2, 1994

The writer was president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1978-91.

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