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Testimony - City Council Consumer Affairs Committee

Testimony for Intro 92

My name is Jenny Chou and I live in New York City.  I am a member of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.

What will happen to the horses?  This is a question we have heard many times when we have discussed the issue of banning the horse-drawn carriage industry in NYC.  People are very concerned that the horses may go to slaughter.  Although the US no longer has horse slaughter plants, the horses slated  for slaughter are now trucked over the border to Mexico and Canada.

There is a loophole in the present law – Section 17-729 of the Health section of the NYC  Administrative Code.  It states that horses are to be disposed of humanely but does not provide a definition.  It also requires that sale records be provided to the Department of Health if the sale is made within NYC.  Sales outside of the city are not required to be reported.  Because there is no accountability, horses can easily end up at Unadilla, New Holland auctions or with a broker  - their first step to the slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada.  They have no protection. 

Our records show that approximately 1/3 of the horses in the Department of Health registry disappear from the rolls every year, which represents about 65-70.  The industry will  tell you that they all find nice homes but there is simply no requirement for this in the law.    .

Intro 92 addresses this issue beautifully by creating Section 17-730, which requires that the Department of Health be notified of the transfer of ownership of every horse regardless of were it is.  It also defines “disposed of in a humane manner” to mean either selling or donating the horse to a private individual or a duly incorporated animal sanctuary or animal protection organization who will sign an assurance that the horse will not be sold and shall be kept solely as a companion animal and not employed in another horse-drawn carriage business or as a work horse and will cared for humanely for the remainder of the horse's natural life.

Intro 35, the industry bill, which we oppose does not address this.

Intro 86, the classic car bill, which we accept in concept, does not address this very important issue either.

These horses are privately owned.  They work over 60 hours a week in some of the most congested traffic in the world and  live in substandard conditions.  If the industry were to come to an end – or even if it does not, humane provisions for them must be in the law.  They are just as important if  not more so than jobs or classic cars.