Sunday, April 19, 2009


from the web site of the NYC bar:
Yay or Neigh: Should the carriage horse industry be banned in NYC?

Monday, May 11, 2009 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
42 West 44th Street, NYC
Animal advocates have called for an end to the carriage horse industry, arguing that the congested New York City streets are no place for horses. Supporters claim that horse carriages are a legitimate industry that is vital to tourism. A panel of experts will discuss the proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages and other issues relating to carriage horses.

LORI BARRETT, Deputy County Attorney, Office of the Nassau County Attorney; CHRISTINE MOTT, Christine Mott, Esq.

DR. HOLLY CHEEVER, DVM; ELIZABETH FOREL, President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages ; DONNY MOSS, Documentary filmmaker, Blinders; MARTHA ROBINSON, Associate General Counsel, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; STACY WOLF, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel, Humane Law Enforcement, ASPCA


The Bar Association's Committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals is not an animal rights organization and always tries to present both sides of an issue. So noticeably missing are representatives of the carriage industry and Council opponents of the bill such as David Weprin, John Liu, James Gennaro and David Weprin -- or anyone from the Department of Consumer Affairs. Not sure why Council Member Tony Avella is not listed since he introduced the ground breaking bill to ban the horse drawn carriage industry.

I believe the list of panels is a work in progress, however.

I do hope the opposing council members have the courage to defend their position at this event.

Friday, April 10, 2009


from New York Views - a Sporadical ... a blog by Lizzie

In today’s New York Times (4/9/09), Nicholas Kristoff proclaimed that “animal rights are now firmly on the mainstream ethical agenda.” The piece, entitled Humanity Even For Nonhumans is reprinted below. For those of us who have lived this lifestyle for years and have suffered the slings and arrows of detractors - this is wonderful news coming from such a conservative paper

… and yes it is .. when it comes to animal issues.

Some of the blog entries after this article referred to old religions like Buddhism and Jainism, which certainly revered animals. But they are not mainstream and Mr. Kristoff is recognizing this “profound difference from past centuries.”

In a testimony I gave at the January 30th hearing of the City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs regarding two pieces of legislation concerning the NYC carriage horse issue, I referred to an article published in the Harvard Crimson last year entitled Compassionate Campaigners how animal voters were shaping the 2008 presidential election. Written by Lewis Bollard, this opinion piece talked about the new electorate who care about animals, and how they see a politician’s attitude to animals as a broader reflection of his compassion and character. Bollard calls them news-savvy, socially integrated, and politically active. They are the people who sent over 300,000 e-mails to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell successfully urging him to drop convicted dog fighter Michael Vick from the league. They’re politically active, and willing to use their votes to protect the defenseless. So it comes as no surprise that there was such wide spread interest in the puppy for the Obama family – and and not just any puppy - but it must be one from a shelter.

Yes the times are changing and the paradigm is shifting.

Why is it that these kinds of progressive and ethical ideas grab hold in the grass roots first and take so long to move through the government, corporations and those with the power and money.


April 9, 2009 OP-ED COLUMNIST Humanity Even for Nonhumans By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF One of the historical election landmarks last year had nothing to do with race or the presidency. Rather, it had to do with pigs and chickens — and with overarching ideas about the limits of human dominion over other species. I’m referring to the stunning passage in California, by nearly a 2-to-1 majority, of an animal rights ballot initiative that will ban factory farms from keeping calves, pregnant hogs or egg-laying hens in tiny pens or cages in which they can’t stretch out or turn around. It was an element of a broad push in Europe and America alike to grant increasing legal protections to animals. Spain is moving to grant basic legal rights to apes. In the United States, law schools are offering courses on animal rights, fast-food restaurants including Burger King are working with animal rights groups to ease the plight of hogs and chickens in factory farms and the Humane Society of the United States is preparing to push new legislation to extend the California protections to other states. At one level, this movement on behalf of oppressed farm animals is emotional, driven by sympathy at photos of forlorn pigs or veal calves kept in tiny pens. Yet the movement is also the product of a deep intellectual ferment pioneered by the Princeton scholar Peter Singer. Professor Singer wrote a landmark article in 1973 for The New York Review of Books and later expanded it into a 1975 book, “Animal Liberation.” That book helped yank academic philosophy back from a dreary foray into linguistics and pushed it to confront such fascinating questions of applied ethics as: What are our moral obligations to pigs? John Maynard Keynes wrote that ideas, “both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” This idea popularized by Professor Singer — that we have ethical obligations that transcend our species — is one whose time appears to have come. “There’s some growth in numbers of vegetarians, but the bigger thing is a broad acceptance of the idea that animals count,” Mr. Singer reflected the other day. What we’re seeing now is an interesting moral moment: a grass-roots effort by members of one species to promote the welfare of others. Legislation is playing a role, with Europe scheduled to phase out bare wire cages for egg production by 2012, but consumer consciences are paramount. It’s because of consumers that companies like Burger King and Hardee’s are beginning to buy pork and eggs from producers that give space to their animals. For most of history, all of this would have been unimaginable even to people of the most refined ethical sensibility (granted, for many centuries those refined ethicists were also untroubled by slavery). A distinguished philosopher, Thomas Taylor, reacted to Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1792 call for “the rights of woman” by writing a mocking call for “the rights of brutes.” To him, it seemed as absurd that women should have rights as that animals should have rights. One of the few exceptions was Jeremy Bentham, the philosopher who 200 years ago also advocated for women’s rights, gay rights and prison reform. He responded to Kant’s lack of interest in animals by saying: “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” In recent years, the issue has entered the mainstream, but even for those who accept that we should try to reduce the suffering of animals, the question remains where to draw lines. I eagerly pushed Mr. Singer to find his boundaries. “Do you have any compunctions about swatting a cockroach?” I asked him. “Not much,” he replied, citing reasons to doubt that insects are capable of much suffering. Mr. Singer is somewhat unsure about shellfish, although he mostly gives them the benefit of the doubt and tends to avoid eating them. Free-range eggs don’t seem offensive to him, but there is the awkwardness that even wholesome egg-laying operations depend on the slaughtering of males, since a male chick is executed for every female allowed to survive and lay eggs. I asked Mr. Singer how he would weigh human lives against animal lives, and he said that he wouldn’t favor executing a human to save any number of animals. But he added that he would be troubled by the idea of keeping one human alive by torturing 10,000 hogs to death. These are vexing questions, and different people will answer them differently. For my part, I eat meat, but I would prefer that this practice not inflict gratuitous suffering. Yet however we may answer these questions, there is one profound difference from past centuries: animal rights are now firmly on the mainstream ethical agenda.

This beautiful photo above is from Sharing our Earth with all Species a blog by Carmen Mandel-Cesareo, a professional photographer, author and conservation advocate

Monday, April 6, 2009


As reported in the most recent newsletter of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages:

"Manhattan" is an 18 year old Belgian gelding who has been identified as a NYC carriage horse by the number engraved on his left front hoof. According to the web site of Gentle Giant Draft Horse Rescue in Maryland, he was rescued from a slaughter auction on January 19th. He had a condition known as Laryngeal Paralysis, where half of his vocal cords ceased opening enough to allow him to breath comfortably. He has since had surgery and is healing.

The web site indicates that the Rescue did some research and found that Manhattan last worked as a carriage horse in NYC in the fall. We doubt the accuracy of this information (since it was the carriage industry that probably furnished it) because it would have been 3-4 months later that he was purchased at the slaughter auction. What was he doing in all of that time? We believe that he was worked to exhaustion during the Christmas holiday period and then dumped. That time period makes more sense.

Of course this information flies in the face of the industry claims that none of their horses go to slaughter. Sure...

## ##

Well put, Coalition! The industry likes to say that they retire all of their horses who can no longer work ... that they have a place for them to retire.

But that would be physically and financially impossible.

Each year about 70 horses or 1/3 of the total number of horses in the NYC trade, leaves the horse registry managed by the Department of Health, which oversees the industry. Let's do the math. If the drivers would "adopt" all of these horses ... in five years, they would have 350 horses; 10 years - 700 horses ... and on and on.

Where would they all go? How could they afford to pay for their upkeep?

It simply does not make sense. And it is time to stop all the lies.


- some of the horses who are "retired" - the favorites - are kept by the owners or they find a home for them ... but this is not the majority since keeping horses is both expensive and time consuming.

- the majority of horses who are no longer wanted are taken to auction or to a broker -- or maybe to the Amish - not exactly known for their compassion to animals. The driver/owner needs to recoup the value of the horse he is getting rid of so he can purchase a new one to work in NYC. This is a business after all, not a not-for-profit horse rescue. Selling the horse is the obvious solution.

- However, some of the horses going to auction are purchased by killer buyers who frequent auctions like New Holland and Unadilla and ship them off to slaughter.

- The driver/owners can say what ever they want about where their horse go. Without proof, it simply does not fly. This is the law in black and white. It is from the NYC Administrative Code - Title 17.

§ 17-329 Disposition of licensed horse. The department shall be notified of the transfer of ownership or other disposition of a licensed horse within ten days thereafter. Such notice shall include the date of disposition and if sold in New York city, the name and address of the buyer or other transferee and such other information as the commissioner may prescribe. A horse shall not be sold or disposed of except in a humane manner.

Notice that the law is written in such a way that it favors the industry. It does not provide a definition for "humane." And it only requires that records of horses sold within New York City be submitted to the Department of Health. But if the horse is sold outside NYC, sales records are not required to be submitted.

Now, doesn't this seem strange to you? Why would records be required for a sale in NYC when it is mostly drivers who buy each others horses -- and not required when sold out of state?

Here's the answer.

The "no sale records" required policy is necessary to protect the industry selling their horses at the auctions. They know that if this became public knowledge, it would not go over well with people. How many horses actually go to auction is not know because of this glitch.

But sometimes, as in the case of “Manhattan” we find out about it.

We are very glad Manhattan appears to be getting well.