Following this weekend's crash
, the carriage horse debate surfaces in the headlines once again. CityRoom takes a look at the status of the industry after two years of getting audited by the city comptroller's office. They note that while certain things have improved, "the two agencies that oversee the business have acted too slowly in putting reforms into effect."
This is all according to a new report from the office of Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. that criticizes the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Consumer Affairs; together the agencies maintain the well-being of the animals, and license horses, drivers, carriages and stables. "In the new assessment, the comptroller’s office found that the two departments implemented 7 of the 11 recommendations made in the 2007 audit." One of the 7 was an advisory board proposed two decades earlier. With little progress and such a slow pace, it's no wonder groups like the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages exist.
Dan Mathews from PETA, another critic of the industry, made a statement about the audit, saying in part: "After 25 years the city is still trying to figure out how to identify horses properly so that drivers don’t illegally double-shift them. They don’t even touch on other issues, such as compelling drivers to keep the horses in stables when freezing weather or violent storms are forecast, or to document the many accidents involving horses that don’t make news. We hope this report convinces the city to go the way of Paris, London, Toronto and Beijing and conclude that big city traffic and easily spooked large animals don’t mix. The horse-drawn carriages need to be banned outright."