No place for a horse …
Teamsters and carriage drivers put horse in harm's way by using him in the Climate March ... and it was illegal.
The first ever People’s Climate March was held in NYC on Sunday September 21st. It was wall to wall people – estimates of 350,000 – some were as high as 400,000. Lots of noise – bands, drummers, rolling crowd whoop – when that happened, it was so loud, I had to cover my ears. I got there at 10:30 and it was not until 1:00 pm that we began to move – by baby steps. It was exciting and exhilarating - a great time for people.
But never for horses.
At 3:25 into this video from the March organizers, a moment of silence is held followed by sounding the “climate alarm,” which translated into people shouting as loud as they could, banging drums, using noise makers. This happened many times during the march. I call this a “rolling crowd whoop” because it started at the front of the march and made its way back. During the march, there was a mix of chants, bands, drums, parade noise – sometimes so loud it would rattle your ear drums.
It was no place to bring a horse.
this is an example of the constant noise level of the march - video taken on 42nd St.
It was no place to bring a horse.
The People’s Climate March organizers said there would be no horses in the march -- for obvious reasons.
But that did not stop the carriage drivers. There they were with a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of the crowded march. The horse did not look relaxed. The horse did not have a choice. Talk about narcissistic, selfish and greedy. And cruel. Very, very cruel.
On Sundays, the horse-drawn carriages are allowed to work only in Central Park until 7pm, after which they can go into certain areas of the city.
Drivers must apply to the Department of Transportation for a variance if they would like to work their horse carriage outside of the existing regulations. They did not. This was confirmed by the Manhattan Borough Commissioner. She told me that no request was made and if it had been, they would have denied it because of the danger of a 2,000 pound horse in the march.
§ 19-175 Variance for special events. a. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 20-381.1 of the code, the owner or operator of a horse drawn cab may apply for a variance from the provisions of section 20-381.1 for the limited purpose of carrying out a contract to provide a horse drawn “cab” for the “filming” of a “movie,” “television show” or “commercial; or for a wedding, parade, or other special event as shall be defined by the commissioner by rule. The commissioner shall grant such variance when he or she determines that the issuance of such variance would not have an adverse effect on vehicular or pedestrian congestion, commencement of theatrical productions or public safety.
b. A variance application shall be in such form as prescribed by the commissioner and shall be submitted to the commissioner no fewer than three business days prior to the date of the event for which the variance is requested.
c. The commissioner may require the payment of an application processing fee in an amount to be established by rule.
d. The commissioner shall issue a document specifying the variance. Whenever a horse drawn cab is being operated in accordance with a duly issued variance, such variance shall be carried by the driver of such horse drawn cab and shall be produced upon the demand of any police, traffic, parks or other enforcement officer authorized to enforce section 20-381.1 of the code.
e. Use of a variance by any person other than the person to whom it was issued, or for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was issued, shall subject the person using such variance to a civil penalty of not less than five hundred dollars.
This is a very serious offense but I can guarantee that no one will be fined because of the fear of Teamster retaliation. The carriage drivers put everyone at risk -- the horse, them and the many march participants. Since our campaign began in 2006, we have documented many spooking accidents in which people have been trampled by spooked and bolting horses and died from their injuries.
Horses are very sensitive creatures and their nature should be respected. They have acute hearing and don’t like loud noises. The danger of putting a horse in this kind of noisy parade environment is that he could spook and bolt, hurting himself and others. But even if he did not spook, it was cruel to subject him to such a stressful environment to make a point about jobs.
Many of these drivers do not deserve to be the custodians of such precious animals - animals they consider property - like a car or television. The horses are clearly a means to an end – to bring in income - and when they do not make the grade anymore, most are laundered through the Amish farmers on their way to auction and then slaughter. The law does not require records for horses sold outside NYC as most are.
Because they have no shame and are insensitive to being hypocrites, the drivers carried signs that read “ Teamsters – climate justice” and “Teamsters – green jobs.”
These are the very same Teamsters that support the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been called the pipeline to environmental disaster. Does anyone see the hypocrisy here? Teamsters marching in an environmental issues parade. This is how the march was unfortunately co-opted by special interest groups that have no interest in environmental justice but just want the photo op.
This is from Common Dreams - 10 Reasons to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline.