NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Animal rights activists want horse-drawn carriages to ride off into the sunset.

Dozens rallied Saturday at Central Park to protest what they call safety hazards and animal cruelty.

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“It really isn’t a safe environment for anybody and we have to use our powers of human empathy to relieve horses of this grinding work,” said assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

Rosenthal said she feels sick inside when she sees the horses and carriages on the side on the road. “The horses have to work in the heat, in the winter,” she said. “I was looking at them today, their feed was filled with pigeons.”

She said places like Biloxi, Mississippi and Beijing, China have banned horse and carriage rides and because the city council refused to act on the ban, Rosenthal said they will fight for the ban on a state level.

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“There is only a few weeks left in the state legislature so we will be building momentum and start fresh in January,” she said.

Rosenthal said it is not a tourist attraction because tourists will come to New York City even if there are no carriage rides.

The stable that operates carriages in Central Park released a statement saying, “We are regularly inspected by the Department of Health, ASPCA and the Department of Consumer Affairs year round. Our horses are the best treated horses in the country.”  

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