Weekly updates about issues and actions concerning New York City's Carriage Horses

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21 December 2006 - Vol. # 13 B

A few more things before we take a break
letters ** Virginia Beach &#$/^ ** holiday card update ** action needed ** the boys

pedicabs and retirement
AM-NY - PEDICABS ARE SAFER - December 14, 2006 ---- Mayor Bloomberg, to the delight of the horse-drawn carriage industry, is proposing legislation to ban pedicabs (bicycle-led carriages) from city parks. It's a matter of public safety, according to the mayor and City Council sponsor Leroy Comrie. Really? Let me get this straight -- cars, buses and horse-drawn carriages would be allowed in Central Park but not pedicabs? Would you really feel more secure riding in a 19th- century contraption that is dragged by an old, underweight horse for nine hours a day than a sleeker, updated model that is propelled by the legs and free will of a lithe 20- or 30-something? The City Council should pass Intro. 75, sponsored by Councilman Alan Gerson, which is truly about public safety. It regulates the pedicab industry to ensure the safety of the public, without snuffing out the competition.

--Jill Weitz, Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages

NEWSDAY - ALL OLD HORSES DESERVE TO RETIRE - December 18, 2006 ---- It is good news that the City of New York will do the right thing by providing for the retirement of its police horses, soon to be transferred to new pastures ["Off to greener pasture," News, Dec. 8]. But, while the city does not have a legal responsibility for its carriage horses because they are privately owned, it certainly has a moral one, which it chooses to ignore. Given every break by the city, including the use of city-owned stables and allowing a cash-only business to exist, this industry gets rid of horses when they are no longer useful - too slow, too old or too sick. Some may be fortunate enough to retire to a farm - but most go to the auctions, where they are exposed to kill buyers. More than 100,000 horses are slaughtered in the United States each year - and this number includes former carriage horses.

--Elizabeth Forel

council has second vote after pressure from industry
In early November, the city of Virginia Beach voted 5- 5 to disallow carriage horses on the boardwalk. In city government, a tie is a loss because a motion needs a majority to pass. In the weeks that followed, one of the Council members lobbied the head of the Virginia Beach SPCA and persuaded her to hold her objections after making the contract more acceptable to them.

On December 11, another vote was held and this time it passed 9-2 with only one councilmember and the mayor voting against having the horses on the board walk. Although many people spoke out against this, including Jackie Vergerio of Peta - who also read letters from Elizabeth Forel/Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Holly Cheever, well known equine veterinarian - it did not seem to matter. Please write to Mayor Meyera Oberndorf, the mayor of Virginia Beach at