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
… 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.
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...
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.
WHAT PROBABLY HAPPENS IS THIS:
- 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.