I’ve never liked horse-drawn carriages. (That includes mule-drawn carriages like we have in New Orleans.) I’m sure I’m projecting a bit, but the animals always seem unhappy and uncomfortable. They spend their days lugging around tourists to provide a hokey, olde-tyme experience, but how genuine can that experience be when the carriages are surrounded by honking cars and scooters? And, sorry to be rude, but many of the people riding those carriages look like they could use a bit more exercise anyway.
But that’s not the only problem. As PETA shows in its new video, many carriage drivers openly express racist, homophobic, and misogynist views whenever they’re questioned about the safety of their animals.
I’ve never experienced this in New Orleans — in fact, I’ve known many drivers over the years, and for what it’s worth, they’ve always seemed very tied to their animals, they’ve treated them with care and respect, and from what I’ve seen, they’ve been happy to talk to passersby about their animals’ health and safety. (That doesn’t excuse the practice, it’s only to say that the attitude is a little different here.)
This is a new approach for PETA and one that could pay off in its push to ban carriages in New York, especially in the wake of riots around the country and the South Carolina shootings, when hate speech has become a topic of national conversation again.