Monday, July 21, 2014



Carriage Horses are accidents waiting to happen.  Politicians and Decision Makers – do you want to gamble with people’s lives?
July 2014 -- The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is sponsoring a new ad, that targets

city officials and asks if they are willing to gamble with people's lives considering that humans have been killed in accidents involving carriage horses.  

 The ad can be seen in City & State, a publication that reaches government officials--decision makers who are responsible for public safety.   See P. 10  
In the debate on whether or not to ban horse-drawn carriages, the media and politicians have lost sight of a fundamental truth.  The very nature of a horse makes this majestic animal unsuitable to work on the crowded streets of NYC because they are serious accidents waiting to happen.  Although gentle by nature, at 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, they can become uncontrollable, unwitting weapons when spooked. As prey animals, their nature is to respond to upsetting stimuli in a fight or flight manner. Horses are predictably unpredictable and there is no such thing as a "bomb proof" horse. Unfamiliar sudden movements or loud noises will often trigger an innate anxiety in a horse, which may lead to panic and fear. “

Many of the NYC horse spooking accidents have come close to leaving dead people in their wake. There have been serious human injuries, including a few carriage drivers who were hospitalized in a coma. And of course, horses have died and been seriously injured in spooking accidents - but this does not seem to have convinced  politicians that the industry needs to be shut down. 

''Spooking' can happen to even the best-trained and well-mannered horse... there is no such thing as an unspookable horse, nor can the average driver control the horse once he bolts.'' said international horse expert and equine veterinarian, Holly Cheever D.V.M.


A few years ago, a carriage driver was trying to make an illegal u-turn with his horse, Oreo, on Central Park South. Oreo spooked when he encountered a big truck rumbling up the avenue. He bolted into traffic, lost his driver and ran up on the sidewalk - narrowly missing pedestrians. He continued to run down the street to 11th Avenue. That - as with Pumpkin, a recent accident - was a close call. 

When an out of control powerful horse comes running at you, he is not saying "excuse me, excuse me, sir, coming through." No - he is frantic and just wants to hot tail it away from the source of fear. He will trample you if you are in his way.

 For city officials to continue to allow this to happen is a huge mistake and very irresponsible.

In 2010, in Salzburg, Austria, a French tourist was knocked down and trampled by a runaway carriage horse who spooked and bolted. She died from her injuries. 

In 2007, there were two incidents each involving 5-year old girls and carriage horses that ended badly. In Tucson, little Brielle was sitting on a horse in a parade when several carriage horses behind her spooked. She was knocked from her horse and trampled to death. Later that year in St. Petersburg, Russia, another young girl fell from a carriage and was killed when the horse spooked and bolted. 

Here are a few other noteworthy accidents:
In 2012, in the UK , a Swiss tourist fell from a carriage after the horse spooked and bolted, and died from her injuries. 

Iowa - In 2010, horses spooked in a parade and ran into the crowd, trampling and injuring 24 people - some seriously and killing a woman passenger who was thrown from the buggy.  

This is PETA'S list of accidents around the world:   

Animal Aid, is an animal rights group in the UK that has been working on this issue for years.  They report that:  There are numerous documented cases of both animal and human injuries, sometimes fatal, after carriage horses have become 'spooked'. A US survey of national carriage horse accidents revealed that:
  • 85% of all accidents were the result of an animal spooking
  • 70% of the time there was a human injury
  • 22% of the time there was a human death


Thursday, July 17, 2014


Horse Sense 2  

 The Carriage Horse Issue:  challenging and disputing the rampant lies of the carriage trade - a  new mini-blog focusing on one issue at time  

What!  40,000 signatures?!  … This is the best the Daily News could do?!

The NY Daily News reports that they delivered 40,000 petition signatures to City Hall on Wednesday  in opposition to a ban on horse-drawn carriages.  Several Teamsters and carriage drivers showed up with bags of petitions for a photo op.  This was intended to intimidate and strong-arm  Mayor deBlasio into giving up on a ban of horse-drawn carriages – an important campaign promise.   Furious that the mayor did not drop everything he was doing and kowtow to the carriage and union elite, the DN's cover headlines said "You're an ass, Mr. Mayor."  

How embarrassing.  And this is supposed to be a grown-up newspaper? 

Is 40,000 a lot of signatures?  It depends.   

The NY Daily News is owned by billionaire, Mort Zuckerman who also serves as Editor-in-Chief.  Mr. Zuckerman does not support Mayor deBlasio's progressive policies and endorsed his rival, Christine Quinn, in the Primary.  Quinn came in a distant third. 

In their media kit, the Daily News reports that 16,793,000 people access and print circulation is 516,165 for a total of 17,309,165.

But the petition signatures represent only .002% of its readers – a minuscule, embarrassing number. 

The Teamsters, which “represent” the carriage drivers in an odd local that includes owners and drivers and does not provide any union benefits since it is not a union shop and not everyone belongs, report that they have 1.4 million members nationwide.    

On the other hand, compared to the mega wealthy, gargantuan  Daily News, which continuously uses its bully pulpit on this issue,  and the enormous, massive, and also wealthy Teamsters Union, which also continues to use its bully pulpit through mailings and cable television,  the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, is barely a blip on the radar screen …  a grass roots all-volunteer not-for-profit organization that started the campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City  in 2006 and operates on a shoe string budget. 

Yet without the aid of a tabloid newspaper and expensive mailings, 70,000 people signed our paper petition (not on line) directed to former Mayor Bloomberg and former Speaker Christine Quinn in support of a ban.  132,292 people signed the on line petition in support of bill in the NYS legislature to  ban NYC horse-drawn carriages and 11,781 people signed the current on line petition directed to Mayor deBlasio to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC – for a total of 214,073  people who want this inhumane and abusive trade to be shut down. 

214,073 signatures  is more than 5 times what these huge bulldozer organizations managed to get through lies and deceit. 

There are approximately 20,000 people who get the Coalition weekly newsletter – either indirectly or directly. 

These petition signatures represent a little more than 10 times its readers – a much more impressive number than those of the Daily News and Teamsters. 

So with all of their many assets, which include money, people and a bully pulpit  – a newspaper with significant readership and a union with many, many  members and also a bully pulpit,  the Daily News and Teamsters were only able to get .002% of its members and readers to sign a petition. 

What a joke!

CONCLUSION:  A viewpoint that consists of yellow journalism, bullying/intimidation and a “money talks” philosophy does not always work. 

Compassion, ethics, and honesty often win in the end.

Legally this horse should not have been working in adverse weather conditions, which  includes heavy rain. 


Sunday, July 13, 2014


 Horse Sense 2  

 The Carriage Horse Issue:  challenging and disputing the rampant lies of the carriage trade - a  new mini-blog focusing on one issue at time  

 BOGUS:   polls showing 60% of people opposed to a carriage horse ban

(c) Mary Culpepper  
Since 2006, every poll taken about a carriage horse ban has shown between 75 and 80% of respondents in favor of a ban.  So what happened?  In a nutshell – the Daily News has been allowed to control the dialogue with their half truths, specious omissions and outright lies.  This is not the way a newspaper is supposed to behave.

If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truthOften  attributed to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, it has a lot of truth and should be fair warning to thinkers that the same thing is happening in NYC.   

Mayor deBlasio won the mayoral primary in September but he was not endorsed by any of the local newspapers.   The editorial boards in NYC are mostly right wing conservative and were not happy about this.    The Daily News began a hatched job on the mayor – ripping into him almost every day – publishing the most bizarre yellow journalism articles filled with lies and exaggerations.  Mort Zuckerman had enjoyed privileges at City Hall under Mayor Bloomberg that he expected to continue under a Quinn administration. 

When it seemed that Mayor deBlasio was serious about banning the horse-drawn carriages, The DN took the lead on this issue going so far as to launch a petition.  The editor in chief of the DN is a transplant from Rupurt Murdoch’s failed UK paper.   Other editorial boards, including the NY Times, NY Post, AM-NY and TV stations like Fox News, NY1, and Pix 11 followed.  Many reporters have continued to promote the drivers’ lies as their opinions shift into supposedly fact driven articles.  The carriage trade hired the infamous anti-animal Cavalry Group to fight this battle for them.  This is the anti-animal lobby group that supports puppy mills, horse slaughter and a weakening of animal cruelty laws around the country.  The Teamsters have also joined the fray, going against the first pro union mayor in decades – a very foolish action. 

There’s been no fact checking, no investigative journalism and gratuitous dishonesty.  Unfortunately, people will often believe what they hear on TV or read in the newspapers without questioning. This is why the media is so powerful.   We have been cut out of interviews and ignored.  The truth about this inhumane and very unsafe industry is not getting out there. 

The Daily News does not care about the horses or the drivers.  Instead, they are being used as poster children - a metaphor for deBlasio’s progressive agenda.  If the right wing media can get deBlasio to cry uncle on this issue, this will open the door to other things.  And he will likely lose the next election because he flip flopped. 

So when you hear about the Quinnipiac poll showing 60% of respondents opposed to a ban – you must also realize that these polls were taken after an extended brainwashing period.  Polls like this are meaningless to critical thinkers. 

Will Mayor deBlasio be strong enough to stand up to this and keep his word -- or will he cave?  Only time will tell. 

Do you want  Mort Zuckerman/disgruntled Daily News owner; the Teamsters; Liam Neeson;  and the carriage drivers running NYC - or do you want the man you voted for - Mayor deBlasio? 

Please wake up to this.  Nazi Germany happened because people were not paying attention.