Saturday, July 21, 2007

ASPCA - What would Henry Bergh think?

The NYC carriage horses and the people of NYC who care about them deserve so much better than what we have been getting.

The ASPCA is feeling the heat of everyone who wants the carriage horse industry to be banned. They recently issued a typically disingenuous statement on their web site, which was really a tweaking of one that was already there. “Official Statement and FAQS n NYC Carriage Horses" – dated 7/17/07. This was a press release but only one equine newsletter picked it up.

They begin by saying that the “ASPCA is not opposed to the use of horses and other equines in pulling carts and carriages for hire, provided that all of the animal’s physiological and behavioral needs are fully met; housing and stable conditions are humane; and their working hours and conditions are carefully regulated as to temperature, humidity, proximity to traffic, rest periods, etc. Working equines should receive regular veterinary and farrier care and be provided a humane retirement when no longer able to work. “ They are fully aware that none of these conditions are being met and will not be with Council Member Tony Avella's bill, which they are supporting.

This bill, introduced in early 2006, would “restrict the horses to Central Park.” It is a dreadful bill and the ASPCA’s statements are deceitful. The Avella bill would restrict the horses to the “area inside or immediately adjacent to Central Park” – which is exactly where they operate now. So this means the horses can still operate on Central Park South and Central Park West; in the park; and going to and from the stables. Most of the accidents have occurred in these areas – the July 4th accident was on CPS. The only way this bill is different from the existing law is that the horses will not be able to go to Times Square or Lincoln Center.

The bill does not address anything else –physiological and behavioral; humane stable conditions; working conditions carefully regulated as to temperature, humidity, proximity to traffic, rest periods and a humane retirement – All the things the ASPCA mentions in the first paragraph of their “Official Statement”

The ASPCA also makes the charge that they have not been successful in passing legislation – despite their best efforts – because the “GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS , INCLUDING THE CITY COUNCIL” have supported the industry.

A few things here – This statement is absurd -- the ASPCA is a multi million dollar organization because of PUBLIC DONATIONS – and yet they cannot build public and political will to do the right thing for these horses? They have neither the will nor the inclination to do so. And if they are charging that the City Council is supporting the carriage industry – let them name names? Which Council Members? We want to know. After all, we elect them.

The ASPCA likes to refer to itself as America's first humane society -- and they have assumed the position of the animal protection organization of record in NYC. The entire statement sounds like a pathetic cop out to me.

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