A City Council proposal to extend hours that horse-drawn carriage operators can provide rides to tourists around Independence Park is drawing opposition from animal rights activists.
Brandon Gittelman, legislative director for Peace Advocacy Network (PAN), is asking Councilman Mark Squilla to drop his proposal to extend the operating hours for horse-drawn carriages.
“The horse-drawn carriage industry is a dangerous and harmful practice that puts tourists, residents, drivers, and horses at imminent risk of serious injuries,” said Gittelman, who points to Philadelphia’s several horse-drawn carriage accidents in recent years that have left horses and drivers injured.
Squilla wants to launch a pilot program to extend the hours when horse-drawn carriages transport tourists to include the afternoon rush hour -- from 3:30 to 6 p.m, reports WHYY-Newsworks.
Squilla says they should be able to work those hours during the summer because of increased demand from tourists.
"We have a lot of requests from tourists and people who come into the city that it's sort of a dead time for them and the carriages are not available," he said. "So we are going to try it and see how it works."
Under the proposal, if the schedule change proves dangerous or interferes with traffic on the streets, the pilot would be halted.In addition operators would not be allowed to work the horses in the case of high temperatures or other extreme weather conditions.
Peace Advocacy Network (PAN) is seeking an outright ban on horse drawn carriages in Philadelphia.
PAN has scheduled a peaceful protest to support the ban on horse-drawn carriages on May 26 from 12 to 2 p.m. on the east side of 6th Street between Market and Chestnut (near the horse-drawn carriage lineup).