Last Friday night, the local News NY1 aired a report about fatalities at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, linking horse racing with the contentious Central Park carriage horse issue. On the face of it, it’s not a stretch to consider the issues together; both, after all, raise issues of equine welfare; both have made headlines recently; both have been the subject of scrutiny by animal rights advocates.

The report shows a clip of Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose vow to ban the carriage horses was a central tenet of his mayoral campaign, looking somewhat befuddled in response to what appears to be a statement by a reporter about the number of equine fatalities at Aqueduct.

“That’s a statistic I had not heard before, and obviously concerns me,” said the mayor. “I need to find out more about it.”

Josh Robin spoke with Friends of Animals’ New York director Edita Birnkrant, whose organization supports a ban on carriage horses. She raised concerns about carriage horses ending up in slaughterhouses when they can no longer work, and though she never mentions Thoroughbreds, Robin concludes, “Critics believe carriage horses have a miserable existence while alive. To be sure, they also want to see horse racing reformed, but they acknowledge focusing on horse carriages. They see a strategy: ban the more-visible carriage horses first, making it easier for race horses to follow their lead.”

Their lead … into being banned?

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