Letters & Editorials 




IRISH VOICE
5/2/08

A Biased Report

LAST week’s article “Irish Fight to Save Carriages” presented only one distorted view – that of the carriage industry.  To suggest that this is a racial or ethnic issue is disingenuous and not facing what it is really about — animal cruelly, exploitation and safety to pedestrians. All the major animal welfare organizations are in favor of a ban.  This includes the ASPCA, HSUS, PETA and Friends of Animals.  Surely, they must know something about animals.

These drivers do not “own” being Irish, nor do they own the streets of New York City as one of them suggests.  Many people in the movement to ban horse-drawn carriages are Irish, including natives, first and second generation.  It is insulting to hear us accused of making racial slurs, particularly when the writer of the article, April Drew, did not interview any of us.  These are lies to appeal to the Irish people who read the Irish Voice, to garner sympathy by playing the race card, to create a conflict where there is none.  

When the carriage industry is not making up stories or using intimidation, they resort to calling us names — terrorists, radicals, extremists and now racists. 

Carolyn Daly is a paid spokesperson for the industry who fabricates stories in the attempt to make her case, including that we know nothing about horses, that the streets are odor free or that the horses work a 40 hour week when the law states that they may work nine hours a day, seven days a week.  

The family from Tennessee materialized by Ms. Drew has no idea how the horses are really treated.  They do not see where the horses sleep at night – small stalls accessed by steep ramps in multi-storied warehouses.  They do not know that these horses have no turnout. They are not aware that the horses do not have access to water in the winter when Parks Department turns off the water that fills the troughs.  And they do not know that the horse pulling their carriage may go on to slaughter when no longer wanted.  In short, they do not have a clue.  

The Irish Voice and the author of this biased piece owes its readers an apology for such a distorted, inflammatory, race-baiting article.

Elizabeth Forel 
Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages 
New York, New York

No Horse Sense

THE obscenity of having horses haul humans around the streets of an over-crowded city is not an Irish issue – or even an issue about the jobs of Irish immigrants.   This is an issue concerning animal welfare, nothing more, nothing less. 

The drivers’ “right” to keep a job ends where the abuse of these horses begins.  Living in cramped brick warehouses and being forced out in terrible weather in horrendous and dangerous traffic is abuse, no matter how the drivers try to whitewash it. 

As a person born and raised in Manhattan many decades ago, I resent driver Tommy Hughes in last week’s Irish Voice story claiming that only outsiders object to this horrible industry.  There are many, many locals born in this city who find this a very dirty business, and will continue to be a voice for these horses. 

We will not be so easily dismissed.

Judy Purcell 
Glen Oaks, New York

Other Cities See Sense

THE carriage horse issue is not an Irish thing.  It is about the inhumane use of horses in heavy traffic, where horse vs. car “accidents” (waiting to happen) happen more often, every year.

Thank God the tourists are starting to wake up to the fact that when they pay a driver to take them in his carriage, they are supporting the abuse of those poor horses, and they skip that when they visit us here in New York City. 

Carriage rides have been outlawed in cities from Paris to London, Canada, and all the way to China.  The days are numbered for those inhumane rides in New York. 

I would suggest that all the carriage drivers send their horses to retirement farms and let them graze, trade the carriages in for rickshaws, and pull the tourists around in heavy traffic, dodging taxi cabs on their own steam for a change. 

J. Jones 
New York, New York

Not a Racial Issue

I FIND it interesting that April Drew’s article in last week’s issue was titled “Irish Fight to Save Carriages.” I find it equally interesting that the spokeswoman for the carriage industry, Carolyn Daly, is transparent in her attempts to make this a racial issue. 

My father’s family, the McCalls, hail from Cortlandt, New York, a community built and settled by the Irish, and I am a proud Irish offspring.  I am also an animal rights advocate. 

My Seneca native mother rode horses as a young girl with no saddle, and my grandfather  got all of his horses and cows into the barn at the end of the day without ever touching a single animal. 

I know a little something about horses.  Horses don’t care if you are Irish, Indian or purple.  They want to be in pasture, all day, all year, unless they are sick or it is very windy out. 

They don’t want to be tethered 24/7 in a tiny stall where they cannot turn left or right, followed by more restraint hauling a carriage.  They don’t like strangers, they fear loud noises and sudden movements. 

Essentially all the elements that make up New York City are what horses fear and dislike.   New York City is a cruel environment for horses no matter who the carriage drivers or owners happen to be.

Susan Davis 
Astoria, New York

We Love Our Horses! 

AS the owners and operators of horse and carriage stables in New York City, we thank the Irish Voice for reporting straight from the horse’s mouth a very fair and accurate portrayal of our business. 

We realize a very vocal but small fringe group of animal “rights” activists in our city continue to be opposed to our livelihoods and want to put us out of work, but please know they have nothing whatsoever to do with our business, nor have they spent any time with us or our horses. 

They speak primarily from an animal extremist/PETA agenda, and we believe they have unfairly and mean-spiritedly slandered our industry beyond any acceptable free speech levels.

We strongly believe that calling for a ban on an Irish working-class New York City industry that is 100 years old and highly popular with tourists and New Yorkers and considered 100% humane is dishonoring tradition and decency.  We also believe New York City Councilman Tony Avella, who introduced the bill to ban the horse carriage industry in our city and eliminate 450 good jobs, is acting irresponsibly and offensively, and is abusing his elected office for his own personal political agenda. 

For the record, our beloved and well cared for horses are not just our livelihoods, they are a part of our lives and families.  We adore each and every one of them, and are proud to report they are deemed in excellent health and condition by the many governmental animal welfare and health agencies that regulate our business as well as own stable veterinarians. 

Our industry has not received a single violation for animal cruelty, and we take great pride in caring for our unique and precious horses.  It is, and will always remain, extremely rewarding to care for such grand and beautiful animals, and we know how very lucky we are to work each and every day with our equine partners. 

We respectfully ask for Irish support against a ban on the horse-drawn carriage industry.  We need our jobs to support our families and continue our livelihoods. 

We also firmly believe that if you love a horse, give it a job. Those words could not be truer in a society where more and more farms across the globe are abandoning these beautiful animals for economic and other hardships. 

We will never do that to our horses.  They will work with us as long as the City of New York allows our popular and beloved service to continue. 

Carolyn Daly 
The Horse and Carriage Association of New York 
New York, New York