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Some New York workers at worse risk than carriage horses

Many people care about animals and are hard at work looking out for their health, safety and living conditions. Animals cannot speak for themselves and need advocates who can and will speak up for them and their welfare. However, while great passion has been aimed at the pursuit of justice for our furry and feathered friends, workplace injuries and other harm caused to humans should be publicized with an equal or greater fervor.

In the recent talk about the safety and welfare of New York's carriage-drawing horses, the concern for the risks to and welfare of their drivers and other workers should also be made a major focal point. While four horses died in New York traffic accidents in the past three decades, almost two thousand humans throughout the U.S. died on the job in 2012 in the combined sectors of construction, agriculture, fishing, warehousing and transportation.

Increased workplace safety standards for our animal friends is important. But increased workplace safety for mankind is, as well. Some jobs come with inherent risk to life and limb and often at very low wages. Police officers and firefighters knowingly risk their lives to protect the rest of us, and their families should always be well compensated if an on-the-job fatality or major injury were to occur. But a worker in a warehouse has a reasonable expectation of safety on the job yet often requires a significant level of representation in order to receive compensation after a work-related injury.

When accidents occur in the workplace, there are legal remedies available to help victims and their families get compensation for medical costs, funeral costs where applicable and lost wages. Victims of these tragic workplace incidents should not have to suffer financial burdens on top of what they have already lost.

Source: The Guardian, “Animal activism is great. Why can't we get as loud on (human) worker's rights?,” Sadhbh Walshe, April 17, 2014

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