Animal rights group targets carriage horses in the Big Apple

Christmas in New York is a special time and if you're visiting from out of town with someone you're in love with, there is no more romantic gesture than hopping aboard a horse and carriage to take a ride around Central Park or other NY landmarks.

Sure, it gets a little cold. But the driver has blankets you can use for warmth - in addition to the heat generated from being close to your special companion.

I took that ride once and it was unforgettable. I imagine it's even better during a warm summer's evening. The clippety-clop of the horse's hooves on the pavement a fitting accompaniment to the music your heart is making with your loved one.

Leave it to the animal rights loonies to want to ruin all that. They want to replace the horses with electric cars:

On Thursday, in a fourth-floor conference room of Manhattan's Hippodrome - where circus horses once performed - Jason Wenig set a model of it across the table from the car's sponsors.

"Brass is going to be everywhere, and it's going to be shiny and beautiful," said Mr. Wenig, who runs a customized car design shop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

NY-Class, a nonprofit group that lobbies for the removal of the carriage horses from New York City, revealed the car for the first time on Thursday.

NY-Class, which stands for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, paid $12,500 to have the two-foot-long lime green model built. It is based on turn-of-the-20th-century cars. Lanterns perch on its sides. Tiny baskets that would carry a driver's lunch or extra blankets hang from it. Its convertible top rolls back in sections. The car is intended to hold up to six tourists.

Since its founding in 2008, NY-Class has been promoting "replacing" the city's carriage horses with 68 electric cars, one of several proposals by animal-rights advocates over the years to get rid of the carriage horse industry, which they say is inhumane.

So much for romance. Then, there's the best reason not to make the change:

"I don't think there are any kids out there that are going to want to pet and kiss the fender of a car," said Cornelius Bryne, owner of one of the city's four carriage horse stables.

I don't know about that. It's hard to say what these animal rights activists would show their love for.