Even though Russell Simmons is releasing his sixth book, The Happy Vegan, this fall, the hip-hop icon is not too busy to speak out against animal cruelty in peaceful protests. This week, he rallied against horse-drawn carriages outside New York’s City Hall, perched in an antique-styled electric car (or eCarriage) proposed to replace horse-drawn carriages. Simmons called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to “deliver on [his] promise” to ban the the use of horses for entertainment in New York City and compared its support to pro-slavery advocacy: “There [were] people for slavery, remember? Slavery was fine.” He later supported his statements by posting an excerpt from The Happy Vegan on his Facebook page, saying, “I don’t make the slavery comparison lightly. Slavery is the system that stripped my ancestors of their pride and possessions and brought them to this country in chains… I want to ensure that something as devastating to both the human and the animal condition as eating animal products is ultimately judged just as harshly as slavery is today.” Numerous animal protection organizations such as NYCLASS, ASPCA, and Humane Society of the United States have offered to provide lifetime housing and care for all retired horses if, or when, horse carriages are banned in New York City; they have also suggested the approximately 300 carriage drivers continue giving tours in Central Park, driving cruelty-free, horseless eCarriages.
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