Saturday, December 12, 2009


Hey everyone. Good to be back in the old US of A working the blogs again. I’ve spent the last several months in Europe visiting family in Manchester and my college buddies now living in London and Rome. Great trip. I got to hang out and protest with activists in Rome and saw the carriage horses or Botticelle as they call them there. It’s just as bad as New York City.

Having been home for a while now, I’ve been catching up with what's going down with the carriage horses. I joined the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Friends of Animals on December 5th, which is the international day of action for carriage horses around the world. You can even see me in some of the video that was shot. I am in the back, of course.

The Coalition had access to an undercover investigation done by Animals Angels and it is on their web site. West Side Livery stable on W. 38th Street was the main subject of the rally. The pictures shown here were taken at that stable and are from the report.

Since I have been back, I’ve learned that the ASPCA managed to convince the City Council to delete the section from a dangerous bill, Intro 653A, that would have removed the ability of the ASPCA’s agents to do inspections of the stables. Bully for them, but what about the horses?

News gets around through the Internet and while I was in London, I saw a petition about this very topic. The ASPCA was very sure that they would lose their power. They appealed to the world.

This is a section from one of those letters: "ASPCA agents monitor the care and condition of the horses, checking stalls for proper bedding, size and cleanliness. They also check on feed to ensure that a proper amount is on hand and that it is free of vermin, as well as evaluate lighting, ventilation and unsafe conditions at the stables."

I’m here to tell you that THIS IS A LIE and not to believe the ASPCA! The City Council should not have been so quick to let them continue to inspect the stables since they do not do a good job.

However, the whole thing is messed up because while the ASPCA is incompetent, everyone was afraid that the carriage industry would self regulate. This (if you can believe it) would be worse.

Hey... Don't believe what I say. The proof of the ASPCA's incompetence is West Side Livery. It's one of five carriage horse stables in New York City. The conditions in this stable happened on the ASPCA’s watch. It's a hell hole. However, this is also proof of what would happen and be more wide spread if the industry self regulated. It's a classic example of people who really care (us) being caught between a rock and a hard place.

The pictures from the Angels' report show filthy stables and dirty horses with urine and feces stains. It also shows tie stalls that confine a horse like a veal crate with the horses tethered to their feeding trough. In referring to the bad air circulation at the stable, the Angels' report stated that "only a few fans are installed on each floor and one can only imagine the temperatures there during the hot summer months."

The report also mentioned that they found plastic "water" buckets in the stalls that were empty. It went on to state "The stalls had very poor bedding, a thin layer of sawdust only covering parts of the stall so that the horses were forced to stand on the bare floor." The most important part of the report was about fire protection. "Fire protection is another concern with this stable. The horses have to be untied from the feed troughs and evacuated from the upper floors, which would be extremely difficult. In addition, no sprinkler system and no other fire protection devices were observed except some “fire buckets” filled with sand." Fire protection experts say that the steep ramp found in all multistoried stables would act as a chimney if there were a fire, likely killing everything on the upper floors. Having grown up on a farm, I know how timid and fearful horses can be. They would never escape. They would die.

Thank you incompetent ASPCA. Thank you corrupt City Council.

So, why is the ASPCA still allowed to "inspect" these stables? I understand they made a deal (with the devil) to support this terrible bill in exchange for being allowed to keep their inspection powers.

Only in New York, kids. Only in New York. I might just go back to the UK. I've had it with the incompetence, the fraud, the corruption, and the sell outs.

note: photos courtesy of Animals' Angels via Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages web site.

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