Meat Free Monday__Beyond your Plate!

Hi everyone!  Happy Monday!

I hope you and yours had a great weekend!

In most countries around the world, May 1st is Labor Day, or International Workers' Day.  I used to have the day off while living in China.  Here in the States though, we celebrate Labor Day in September, and have resisted changing our Labor Day to May 1st since the 1920s, as this labor day has long been associated with the socialist and communist movements.  In recent years, people have taken to the streets to protest capitalism and fight for economic equality and better protection for workers.  Today I'm not going to talk specifically about human workers.  Instead, I'd like to give light to a local problem in New York City regarding animals who are exploited in the name of profit. 

I'm talking about the poor horses in Central Park.  If you've ever had intentions on taking a "romantic" carriage ride around the park, please reconsider!  I live right next to the park. These horses are being worked to the bone; they're out all day and night, sometimes still being run at 1 or 2 am. They're forced to work in extreme weather conditions, in heavy city traffic and they're dirty. 

Look at their manes and hooves compared to the beautiful NYPD horses:

They live in this "stable" next to Dewitt Park on 52nd and 11th, under fluorescent lighting and with windows that are half the normal size.  The building is three stories high and can accommodate 70+ horses.  How could they possibly ever escape if a fire broke out?!  

Confining large animals in this manner is unnatural and inhumane!

It should also be noted that the prices for the carriage ride went up in May 2010, from $35 + tip for the base ride and $10 for each additional 1/4 mile to $50 + tip for base ride.  The price increase was supposed to fund larger stalls and more resting time for the horses, but that doesn't appear to have happened.

Furthermore, the drivers are aggressive to the protestors that hang out outside Central Park, and repeatedly tell them to shut the F up, even in front of elderly and small children. Which leads me to ask; If the drivers were proud of what they were doing, would they need to tell any protestors to shut up?  Kuddos to the protestors for having the nerve and the integrity to stand up for what's right, even if it means compromising someone's profit.  

I know it's hard to believe, but there are people who believe in dignity for all living creatures.  

If you want to enjoy Central Park, I would recommend a boat ride on the lake or ride on a CitiBike through the lower loop path!  It's cheaper and better for your health and the health of innocent horses who belong on a pasture, not on the streets of NYC.  If you must go on a horse in Central Park, ride on the carousel!

I humbly believe that as a global society, we need to re-think our attitude that animals are to be used for human satisfaction.  I grew up eating meat, but I can promise you after 10 years of abstaining from meat, I'm still alive and running well, and I don't miss it.  I also don't miss the circus, Seaworld, "petting" wild animals, riding elephants, etc.  Gandhi said it best, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated".

Even if this post inspires just one person to take action to help protect animals, I know that's one person closer to a more peaceful world.



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