KENSINGTON - Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to get rid of the Central Park horses is causing quite a stir.
On one side are animal rights activists who call the tradition inhumane. On the other side is the entire horse-drawn carriage industry.
There are more unwanted horses that end up being shipped to slaughter houses than find loving homes, according to Walker Blankinship, who runs the Kensington Stables near Prospect Park.
Blankinship says what would be more inhumane is having the horses shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter, which is what he says happens to 100,000 horses a year.
While the mayor has promised that horses would be placed in proper homes or sanctuaries, Blankinship says the organizations that take in unwanted horses are already so overwhelmed.
In order to get rid of the Central Park horses, the mayor has to get the members of the City Council on board, which might prove to be challenging. The most recent Quinnipiac poll showed a majority of New Yorkers want to keep the tradition alive and well.
In a written statement, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) says, "The stable owner is putting forth a false choice by saying carriage horses shouldn't be banned because other forms of animal cruelty against horses exist. That's like saying you can't take in an abused dog found on your street corner because some other dog in a shelter somewhere else would have his spot taken. Those who want to adopt a horse want to specifically stop this unnecessary and inhumane practice of horses in dangerous midtown traffic.
NYCLASS has been working closely with animal protection groups including the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, to identify individuals who are committed to providing retired horses loving homes on private farms and in sanctuaries.
The interest has been overwhelming. More than that, though, NYCLASS board members have guaranteed a home for every retired horse. Not one of these horses will go to slaughter."