Sunday, August 17, 2014



Only time will tell

The Teamsters and  Working Families Party (WFP) have ganged up on Mayor deBlasio,  trying to get him to change his mind about banning the horse-drawn carriage industry.   

And they are trying to put the fear of god in the City Council with veiled threats that they will not get behind them in the next election.   
NYC stable - small stall

All this for a tiny questionable business.  

It begs the question WHY? 

This is the letter the WFP sent to the City Council dated August 8th.  

This is a shameful bully tactic perpetrated by a political party that is obviously only concerned with jobs and people and does not incorporate  higher ideals such as what is best for the City as a whole, the safety and well being of all its residents (not just the carriage drivers) and compassion for animals ... something that the three individuals below understood in depth:

"A human being is part of the whole called by us ‘universe' - a part limited in time and space. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstein

illegal u-turn - a common occurrence

"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”     Mahatma Gandhi

But back to reality ...

I will break down this  letter piece by piece:

1.  The WFP  claims that the carriage drivers are "workers who play a pivotal role in generating millions of dollars  in revenue as one of the top three tourist attraction in the city.”

This is pure fantasy and an embarrassment to even claim this in
typical for NYC carriage horses in traffic
writing.  One of the "top three tourist attractions ?"  

Look at any site - check this one out as an example.    NY C Tourist
These are the top tourist attractions in NYC and you will not see the horse-drawn carriages listed.  

Top of the Rock; Natural History Museum; Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum.  Museum of Modern Art; Sea Air Space Museum; Central Park Zoo; Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center; Liberty Island, Ripley's Believe It or Not; Madam Tussuad's Museum; FAO Schwartz; Ground Zero; Citi Field; Carnegie Hall; Lincoln Center; Cooper Hewitt Design Museum; Times Square

Scroll down the NYC Tourist page to see "The Most Famous New York Attractions."  

This  is what it says about Central park and there is nothing about the carriage horses. 
"Central Park:  the biggest and most beautiful park in New York City is Central Park NY.  Spanning 843 acres and offering tons of things to do in NYC for tourists - including the famous Central Park Carousel and the Wollman ice Skating Rink - Central Park is the perfect way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of New York City."     

 2.  The WFP claims that the industry generates millions of dollars.  Talk is cheap.  They need to prove this and show us the tax returns for these many small  businesses - both from owners and individual drivers.   It is a cash only business and it is doubtful that the workers  report what they earn.    When an industry is said to generate so much in revenue, the implication is that they are paying  income taxes to the City of NY based on that revenue.  In this case it is just rhetoric to make the industry sound viable.    Until the WFP, the Teamsters or the carriage trade itself can prove how much they pay in taxes, along with reliable audited statements, they are just whistling in the wind and making it up as you go along.   

3. The WFP claims that the legislation passed in 2010 brought significant improvements to the lives of workers while formalizing best practices for working with horses.  They failed to explain  what "best practices for working with horses” is.   I guess they thought it sounded good on paper.  

The 2010 law required that horses get a 5-week furlough each year.  The problem with this is that the Department of Health (DoH) failed to require a list of the farms where the horses go; nor did they did require inspections.  A former ASPCA veterinarian was quoted in the NY Post in October 2011: "Dr. Corey, the director of equine veterinary services of the ASPCA's Dr. Corey, the director of equine veterinary services of the ASPCA’s humane law-enforcement department, said, “We have observed some horses returning to New York City after furloughs on a farm in worse condition than when they left.”

We have heard from several sources that some of those horses are sent to farms to work for the Amish farmers in exchange for the drivers being able to report to the Department of Health that the horses actually went on furlough.   There is no way to prove it because the DoH does no oversight.  The DoH continues to look the other way.  

And of course it goes without saying to anyone who truly knows and cares about horses that they need daily turnout to pasture -- something that is not available for them  in NYC.  

Yes, the drivers may have increased their income by about 45%, but the horses' stall increased in size only by 2 feet.  

4.  "Adored by their owners."   Just because the WFP  puts this  in writing to the City Council does not make it true.  I do not see any evidence of these horses being "adored."  If they were, there would not be such a huge turnover of horses in this trade - about 71 per year or a third of the horses working.  That is a huge number.  Because there is no concerted effort to place all of these horses -- as we would do - we believe that many are laundered through the Amish on their way to the kill auctions and then go on to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered for food.  The existing law, which was endorsed by the carriage trade, requires sales records be submitted to the Department of Health only if the horse is sold within NYC.  But if a horse is sold outside the city as most are - the only thing required is to notify the DoH that the horse is no longer working.  These horses are out of site out of mind.  

The Department of Health has been complicit in all of these new and old regulations and appears to be a willing partner, resistant to making humane changes for the horses.   

5.  The WFP claims that the horses get multiple  breaks during the work day, and stables with more than adequate space complete with  circulation fans and automatic waterers.

This is not correct.    Although the law requires that the horses get a 15 minute break every two hours, there is no one in authority to enforce this law.  The ASPCA stopped doing law humane law enforcement in January 2014, turning it over to the NYPD.  The latter  - from our experience with street cops - does not know the many regulations and therefore does not enforce them.  Again -- no thanks to the Department of Health.  

During the holiday season, the horses are worked non stop with no breaks.  If there is a choice between giving a customer a ride for money or giving the exhausted horse a break  - the money will win every time.  

As for the claim that the stables have "more than adequate space" - this is also not correct.  Experts recommend stalls be a minimum of 144 square feet for standardbred horses and even more for drafts as most of the carriage horses are.  Instead, the stalls can legally be 60 square feet - less than half what they should be.  This is like cramming a 15 pound cat into a child's shoe box.  

Susan Wagner, president of Equine Advocates, was recently interviewed on Wild Horse & Burro radio.  She addresses the carriage horse issue at about 26:21 minutes into the show.  


If Mayor deBlasio gives in to the demands of the Working Families Party and the Teamsters, he will be as good as mush.  

He will have lost his backbone and many people will see him as an emasculated loser who does not keep his word -- a typical politician who cannot be trusted.  This will help to erode public trust in the political process.   He will become ineffective - nothing more than a puppet of the unions and WFP.  He will be putty in their hands and  will lose his bid for reelection.   

One wonders why these organizations  are so dense as not to see this - or is it all contrived and they actually have their eyes on another candidate for mayor in 2017 and want to continue the chipping away of  Mayor deBlasio that their partner in crime - the NY Daily News -  started.  

We hope Mayor deBlasio continues to be his own person and stands strong.  

We can only wait and see.   


Visit us on Facebook: No Walk in the Park 

Twitter: BanHDCarriages 

On line:  Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages 



Zizi said...

When was the last time the WFP supported a candidate, that no other party supported, and won an election? or succeeded in bullying any elected official into doing anything? These losers are climbing on to the "Daily Noise" BS bandwagon to try to drum up attention to their own candidates and to grab some free PR! "Rots a ruck"!!!!

Tomro Lau said...

Horses do not belong in traffic. A simple concept. Mayor DeBlasio, stand up for the horses - for those whose blood has stained Manhattan streets already (Doreen the Mare) and those living on Daily Death Row awaiting injury by cars and buses. Be the man we know you to be: compassionate and unswayed by those who seek to continue to endanger carriage horses. If one loves a horse, one does not put him in harms way in city traffic.

Anonymous said...

No horses in traffic in 2014. Manhattan streets are stained with enough equine blood. Doreen the Mare, Smoothie, Charlie and numerous others over the years. Mayor DeBlasio ran on the promise of ending this barbaric industry. BAN HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES NOW. The animals live daily on Death Row dodging the Grim Reaper in the form of buses and cars. Protect the horses and get them safely into sanctuaries.

Anonymous said...

Those that live near Central Park South and 59th street I know you have to have a heart and want this to end! The time is now and steam is building up to stop this, please join the movement and help to stop this cruel and horrible industry. Call your NY City council area rep and ask them to please vote to ban this today!

Anonymous said... everyone should read this