Monday, October 13, 2008
I have been very busy as of late helping my friends at the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages with their fund raiser, which is tomorrow, October 14th. I hope you can make it. They are a very hard working all volunteer group that is making a difference with this issue. Before they began, there had been no discussion about how inhumane this industry is since maybe 1994.
When I found out that their first choice of venue caved into pressure from the carriage industry and canceled their benefit, I went to work to find another place for them. I never liked the first restaurant anyway. It was an odd space ... much too cramped for their needs. So I called my friends at Mantra and voila! a new venue. And these folks are very supportive of this cause.
So here it is:
Date: Tuesday October 14, 2007
Time: 6PM to 10PM
Where: Mantra986 at 986 Second Avenue between 52nd and 53rd St. - 2nd floor
Tickets: $30 if you pay on line. And $40 at the door. A great deal for great talent and great vegan food from the finest restaurants in New York City ..... and a great cause!!
Their invitation reads: "The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is hosting its second fund- raising party at Mantra986 on Second Avenue in Manhattan to benefit the Coalition's mission of abolishing the inhumane carriage horse industry in New York City. Please join us for an enjoyable and fun-filled evening as we celebrate our accomplishments and raise money to help continue our campaign efforts. And please check out our online Silent Auction catalog. "
Council Member Tony Avella will be a special guest. Donny Moss, director of "Blinders:the truth behind the tradition" will speak about the making of his film. Entertainment includes Fiona Walsh, Irish comic and animal activist who will be the MC; singers Joy Askew and Nellie McKay and comics Ann Design and Liam McNeaney.
"The party will feature an enticing array of vegan hors d'oeuvres from Blossom, Candle 79, Caravan of Dreams, Franchia, Mantra 986, Pongol, Streit's Bakery, VP2, VSpot, Wendy Berkovits Vegan Chef, Whole Earth Bakery and Zen Palate -- a cash bar, and a silent auction of appealing and interesting items to be sold to the highest bidder. All proceeds will support the Coalition's various campaigns aimed at ending the suffering of the carriage horse. "
See you there! Let's Party!
BTW - the horse above is Big Boy Teddy. He is a rescued carriage horses now living in Massachusetts. He is one happy, heel kicking boy.
Monday, September 1, 2008
So once again, we learn that two horses spooked while waiting to deliver a bride and groom to their "fantasy" wedding. Romantic? hardly. What was it this time -- a basket ball, a loud noise; rustling leaves? These 1,500 pound horses nearly caused a very serious accident after they tore down the street in panic, jumping on to a car. That car belonged to a family of several adults and one baby who narrowly managed to get out of the way. It is not known how badly injured the driver or horses are -- although the newspapers seemed to play this down.
City Council: are you paying attention? Or are you too interested in plotting how to extend term limits or abolish them altogether so you can keep your jobs?
Just the other day, an elderly man was knocked to the ground by a spooked police horse in San Francisco at Candlestick Park. The horse panicked when a plastic bag blew in his face and got caught on his bridle. He tore around the parking lot, knocking several people down. The 49ers fan died several hours later.
City Council: Pass Intro 658 - the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages. It is past time to do the right thing. It's only a matter of time before a person dies in NYC. Then who's going to say "I told you so!"
Friday, August 29, 2008
“Horse-Drawn Carriage Ban” is a short well done video by Jennifer Pham and can be seen on You Tube. It features my friend, Elizabeth Forel, who is the president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, a grass roots organization that is responsible for making this inhumane and archaic industry an issue again after years of non attention.
In the film, Elizabeth describes what free horses do … they have tons of personality unlike the carriage horses she describes as unwitting automatons. Free horses roll in the dirt and play sticks. I know the horses she is referring to since I have also met them … Monty, a former Boston Carriage horse - now rescued ,,, and Sugar, his friend, who passed away recently. They are pictured here enjoying themselves.
But before I describe how this wonderful game is played, I offer a blog entry by a bitter member of the carriage industry who says: "E.Forel,please tell me how horses ''play sticks'',I'd like to add that to my editorial in The American Driving Society,and Driving Digest,2 very well known carriage sriving magazines,i'm sure htey would get a good laugh at that."
Her comments speak volumes about how much the carriage industry does not know about horse behavior. Elizabeth goes on to say how the carriage horses are dispirited animals and when they are rescued the light comes back in their eyes.
RULES FOR STICKS: Take two free and happy horses not in the carriage industry. In this case, we have Monty, (white) ....and Sugar (brown). One of the horses must already know how to play this game. Sugar learned it from Abe, who is now also at the Rainbow Bridge. He taught it to Monty.
HOW IT WORKS: Sugar, generally the instigator, picks a twig up from the ground and goes up to Monty and pokes him with it. If Money is in the mood, he grabs the stick in his mouth and what follows is a tug of war. This is what is pictured above. Really fun to watch them enjoying this game and each other.
For those who do not know: NYC Carriage horses work in heavy traffic between the shafts of their carriages for nine hours straight, seven days a week. They do not have any turnout where they can socialize. Instead, they live in multied storied stables where they access their stalls by ascending a steep ramp. It is very sad.
For this person to not get that horses really know how to enjoy themselves is outrageous. And these pictures prove it!
Pictured to the right is a NYC carriage horse...a horse slave. His body is covered with glitter; he is wearing a silly head dress and his hoofs are painted with metallic purple paint. Yes, perhaps the paint is non toxic, but that is not the point. This horse is not free...not even close. After dragging
tourists around all day, he will go back to his stall and stay there until the next day. Now tell me...What kind of life is that!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The letter below was published recently in Our Town and The West Side Spirit - Manhattan neighborhood papers. This reflects our beliefs precisely. So rather than to reinvent the wheel, we print it gain. We ask that the City Council take some action on this issue. For more information, please access the NYC Comptroller's Audit Report on their web site and read the New York Times article that addressed this issue. This horse stands in his own waste on the Central Park South hack line.
8/14/08 -Horses Need Summer Break - - It has been a very hot and humid summer. Uncomfortable for people - but worse for the carriage horses who cannot get any relief. Kept out in the blazing sun, horses can easily overheat. As sweat evaporates from the horse's skin, it acts as a cooling mechanism, drawing out some of the surface heat. But in times of high humidity, it is less efficient. If the air is humid, sweat will not evaporate. There is no shade on Central Park South or Grand Army Plaza where the carriage horses line up to accept passengers - the unforgiving sun beating down on their heads. They stand there waiting - with their blinders and heavy tack, between the shafts of their carriage.
The 2007 NYC Comptroller's Audit of the agencies that oversee the industry found that there isn't adequate shade on the hack line and horses risked overheating on the hot asphalt where they were forced to stand. One year later and nothing has changed. Existing regulations call for the horses to be returned to their stables when the temperature reaches 90 degrees - humidity is not a consideration. It can be 89 degrees with humidity making it feel like 95 and the horses are permitted to work. But equine experts suggest when the combination of temperature and humidity or THI exceeds 130-140, the horses should be off the street. It is time for the authorities to pay attention to the stress experienced by these horses and at least factor humidity into the existing law. Elizabeth Forel - President Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
This poor horse is not even able to lie down comfortably as she sits in this disgusting, dirty, vile stall, which the carriage industry defends. It is located in the same stable on W. 38th St. pictured below.
For those of you who have horses - could you imagine letting your own beloved horse work in this inhumane industry ... to access her filthy stall by way of a steep ramp?
Pictures do not lie.
The stable pictured below in the August 8th blog is one of the worst for NYC carriage horses -- although the other four are not much better. Anyone - particularly a driver in the horse and buggy trade who defends these living quarters for their horses - should quietly get out of the business because it is indefensible.
The picture at the right shows a horses ascending a steep ramp (at one of the NYC stables) to access his stall on the upper floor. This is particularly hard for older horses who may have arthritis - or simply those who have been dragging a carriage around all day. As a frame of reference, the NYC Building Code requires a 1:12 ratio on ramps for the disabled, which means the slope must not be steeper than 1 inch of rise for every 12 inches of length. This ramp (obviously because of space constraints) is much steeper and therefore that much more uncomfortable and inhumane.
A particular defender of the industry (driver/owner) trolls the Internet looking to make comments on various blogs about carriage horses. He has landed here a few times. Most recently he actually defended the steep ramps that the horses are required to use "LOL - hell, out at the Hampton Classic they are put to JUMPS 6 feet high! LOL." Sad.
Throughout his diatribe, he defensively sprinkles "LOLs" and "LMAOs." There is nothing funny about "laughing out loud" or "laughing my ass off" when it comes to these horses. Shame on him.
Defending such an inhumane industry will be their downfall.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Is it a warehouse?
Is it a factory?
Is it a schoolhouse?
Is it a carriage horse stable?
You are correct if you picked the last choice.
Although many people assume the carriage horses live in Central Park - they do not. This is just one of five stables to house carriage horses in New York City, located on W. 38th St. between 11th and 12th Avenue. The others are similar. Horses live on the upper floors and access their undersized stalls by a steep ramp. After dragging tourists around all day, they return to their stall and stay there until the next day. They have no turnout or pasture time.
Life is no walk in the park for NYC's carriage horses.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
First of all - please sign the petition to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC if you have not done so already - click here.
It is always best to send a snail mail letter; a fax is the second choice with e-mail a distant third because they can easily be deleted.
The head of the City Council is Speaker Christine Quinn. Quinn has the power to hold hearings on Intro 658 (the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages) but has chosen to ignore the bill in spite of the tremendous number of calls and letters her office has received.
224 West 30th St -- Suite 1206
New York, NY 10001
e-mail address: You may contact her on line by using this form.
You may also contact Mayor Michael Bloomberg
New York, NY 10007
or on line by clicking here.
If you are a New Yorker, you may also contact your Council Member. Contact information is available here.
Monday, July 28, 2008
E-mails should be sent to the following:
Public Relations Office of the Mayor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Council of the Environment -- email@example.com
The Councilor's Office -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a sample letter. Please change it as you see fit so it does not sound "canned."
I am writing in support of the Italian citizens who are asking the Rome City Council to ban the use of horse-drawn carriages. The only way to put an end to mistreatment, accidents, suffering, and death of horses is to ban this "attraction".
It is time for Rome to move into the 21st century and take seriously its moral and ethical responsibility to these sentient beings while ensuring the safety of its citizens. Surely as a civilized society in Italy's capital, you must do no less.
Carriage horses take away from the experience of being in Rome and I vow not to travel to your city until this industry is ended.
We urge Mayor Gianni Alemanno and the Rome City Council to immediately ban all horse-drawn carriages from Rome.
[your name and city/state/country]
Sunday, July 27, 2008
You gotta love those Italians – they really know how to make things happen!
It was only a week or so ago, when we heard about the Italian animal rights group in Rome – ENPA - calling for a ban of the horse-drawn carriage industry. Activists took to the street giving out fliers to tourists asking them not to take the carriage rides.
Not wasting any time, the Italian parliament has taken up this cause. Our NYC Council, most of whom have no backbone and do whatever Speaker Christine Quinn dictates, are only good at naming streets, giving themselves raises, getting slush fund money for their favorite groups, and collecting a pay check. Pathetic! Quinn has a tight bond with the Queens Democratic party, which got her into power. It is this party that supports the tiny, tiny carriage industry. They can do no wrong Enough said.
The carriage industry in Rome is accused of routinely fleecing customers; illegally working during the hottest period – 1-5 Pm from July to September and generally treating their horses cruelly. Sounds familiar.
Gianni Mancuso, a deputy for the ruling People of Liberty alliance and a veterinary surgeon, demanded to know what the government “intends to do about this scandal.” He claimed that the drivers worked the horses “to death” sending them to slaughter when they were no longer able to work.
ENPA has appealed to the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, to ban the industry and transform their licenses into taxi licenses.
This is the same issue in every city – especially the large ones – that have a horse carriage trade -- New York, Boston, Chicago, Florence, Philadelphia. Horses are exploited to entertain people. They are literally worked to death – wearing heavy tack, blinders, bits and stuck between the shafts of their carriages for hours on end.
We will be following the situation in Rome closely.
Saturday, July 19, 2008