Sunday, March 30, 2014



Roger retires:  In the last week,  the Daily News,  a right wing bastion of support for the carriage trade,  has run several stories about Roger – a carriage horse owned by driver Ian McKeever.  At 21, Roger is finally being retired after 17 years in the business.  According to the News, he is going to a farm in Syosset, Long Island.    They recently published this letter from “Rogerto Mayor deBlasio.      

I'm very glad for Roger but I do wonder about him being in this business since the age of 4. 
Romantic?  NO  - Dangerous?  YES
Many experts would say that was too young and he was not fully grown at 4 years.    - especially for a draft horse to begin in this kind of business.   

Yes, it makes a good story to say he was rescued from slaughter.  But to work for 17 years?  Come on.   Roger was the same as all the other horses – he worked 9 hours a day, 7 days a week only to come home to his stall and not have any access to pasture to graze and socialize with other horses; to mutually groom each other to relieve stress from a long day’s work. His "exercise" consisted of pulling tourists around Central Park and dodging cars in traffic. But a good amount of the time he was standing at the hack line waiting and waiting and waiting for customers -- not even free to scratch an itch.  This is neither "exercise" nor humane. 

I hope he can adjust to his new life.  He certainly deserves it.  And I also hope he is not
worked and made to pull anything.   At 21, Roger is considered to be “old" and should have been retired several years ago.    

Roger has brought good attention to this abusive and exploitative industry and in the hands of the supportive Daily News, a tabloid that cannot separate fact from opinion, it seems to be working. 

But this is not the whole story – far from it.  
Corporate Welfare:  In 2001, the City of New York leased a stable on W. 45th St. to Ian McKeever and his partner. - -charging him a subsidized rent of only $5,000 a month for a stable that could easily have brought the City $60,000 a month.   This is all according to Mr. McKeever as reported in the NY Times when the City decided to sell the property to a real estate developer in 2010.    In 2001, the City also paid for outfitting the stables to the tune of about $500,000.  This happened under Mayor Bloomberg’s administration.  

In other words, the City had been subsidizing a private business to the tune of almost $1,000,000 (including the fit out) over this period of time. 

Is this right?  How many other private businesses do you know of that were subsidized like this?  If someone does not have the capital to make a go of it in a business, they either borrow with the intent to pay back with interest or they do not move forward.  That is capitalism.  But to be subsidized – on the tax payer’s dime?!

There is something very wrong with this picture and the media is not reporting on it.  Instead they continue to try to manipulate the facts and choose the ones to present to you.  Don’t fall for it.

The carriage driver/owners as a whole are conservative in their politics, which means they do not like government interference or control.  But what about corporate welfare?  Is that supposed to be OK.?

But that’s just money and business.  There is something worse going on. 

Missing Horses?:  At that time, the NY Times listed the names of the horses owned by Mr. McKeever who were being sent to a “farm."  Molly, Chestnut, Max, Patty, Jeter and Bosco.   But  as of January 2014, only Molly is still on the Department of Health list of horses. 

What happened to the others?  Did Mr. McKeever bring them to auction?  Or did he find good placement for them as he did for the popular and photogenic TV star, Roger?  At the time, the ASPCA offered to help him with placement for the horses but he refused. 

Perhaps he would like to tell the public what happened to these horses. 

The City of NY does not keep records of horses sold outside the city. 

Bobby II Freedom
Big turnover of horses in business:  Last spring I released a report that showed a turnover of 529 carriage horses in the NYC business over a period of 7 ½ years – averaging about 71 horses a year.  Where did they all go?   This was a very well documented report, yet the media was not interested in covering it. 

So the public continues to assume -- because the media said so --  that the horses remain the same from year to year and when a ban occurs, they will all go to slaughter.

Were these horses too unattractive; too slow; too jittery, too weak; did they have health problems?  Were they nervous in traffic?  Some of them lasted several years in the business so this is not a case of trying the horse for a month and then deciding that he or she did not work out.    I recall a horse named Beauty associated with West Side Livery stable.  Tape was added to his blinders to prevent him from having any peripheral vision because he was so nervous.  He is no longer in the business and there is no record of where he went.     

Bobby II Freedom - I do know what happened to one of those horses - Bobby II Freedom.  In June 2010, I became aware of a NYC carriage horse at the New Holland kill auctions in Pennsylvania.  Joining forces with Equine Advocates, Bobby was rescued and is now living the good life at their sanctuary in upstate New York.  Bobby had been dumped by his owners from West Side Livery stable who wanted to replace him for a newer model.   This is Bobby's story.  

The public deserves to know the truth about the business and the media is not telling them.  



Unknown said...

There has to be a way to track these horses. I am so sorry that ASPCA is no longer involved. How can the police keep any records. This is such a rogue industry and WHERE did all of these horses go? If they went to a farm, do you think the drivers will pay for their boarding? All the money these horses have made for them and to let them retire peacefully would be wonderful but I doubt it.
I hope the Huffington report or Mother Jones does some stories and also follows up to make sure Roger is not sent to slaughter. He deserves to live in peace.

dhintexas said...

It would seem to me that if NYC is subsidizing a "privately owned" business on the tax-payers dime, each NYC taxpaying citizen would have vested interest in "their" money thus allowing them the right by law through ownership investment, to receive periodic and detailed accounting's of any capital investments using taxpayers money.