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

Current Issue - Past Issues

11 February 2007 - Vol. # 15

Lobbying *** What you can do *** Letters *** YouTube slide show***AETA

on a bill to ban horse-drawn carriages

rsized into parkThe Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages has begun to lobby City Council Members to ask for their support on a bill to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC. We are looking for people to join us in meeting with the following Council Members who are part of the Transportation Committee: Joseph Addabbo, Howard Beach Queens - zip-11414; Andrew Lanza, Staten Island - zip-10312; Michael McMahon - Staten Island - zip-10301; Darlene Mealy - Brooklyn, zip-11213; Larry Seabrook - Bronx - zip 10467.

If you live in one of these zip codes, then one of these council members is probably your representative. Please consider joining us at a meeting with them. These meetings are CRUCIAL in getting support for our bill since it will probably be heard in the Transportation Committee. If you have time for nothing else - Please join us in these meetings. Contact Elizabeth at Since most of us work at other jobs, meetings are generally held at 250 Broadway, across from City Hall at 4-5:00 PM. It is close to many subway lines.

contact your Council Member & the ASPCA

henry berghPlease contact your NYC Council member to ask that they support legislation that will put an end to the horse- drawn carriage trade in NYC. Visit the council web site and let your views be known. Even if you previously contacted them months ago, it is important to let them know the issue is still alive. If you have not already done so - please sign our petition to ban the horse carriage trade in NYC - and please forward it to everyone you know.

The ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866. A prominent New Yorker, Bergh cared about the grave injustices to animals and did something about it. In explaining his philosophy of animal protection, Bergh said "This is a matter purely of conscience; it has no perplexing side issues. It is a moral question in all its aspects." Dubbed "The Great Meddler" by the media, it was not unusual to see Mr. Bergh on the street scolding someone about beating his horse, or intervening on behalf of animals in other ways. He would patrol the streets often going on raids. He personally arrested violators of NYS cruelty laws, which he had been instrumental in getting passed. He had power and prominence, and frequently had entanglements with commercial interests in defending animals. Today, we would have said he had chutzpah or moxie, was fearless and got things done. He was a true defender of animals - particularly horses - and I do not doubt he would have joined our cause and taken a lead role if he were still alive.

But today's ASPCA presents a different picture. We are very disappointed with their continued and unexplained resistance to supporting a ban against the horse-drawn carriage industry. We can go it alone in our campaign - but it would speed things up if the ASPCA would step up to the plate and take an active role in bringing this industry to a halt. It is clearly the most humane and sensible thing to do. There is absolutely no justification for supporting the status quo or more regulations. More laws on the books just means more to regulate and it is virtually impossible to regulate the myriad of regulations on the books now. Besides - whether it is lobbying for more regulations or a ban - both will be difficult and take time. I, for one, prefer to put my time into what is right rather than trying for a weak compromise where no one -- especially the horses -- wins.

From the ASPCA web site: ?The ASPCA is not opposed to the use of horses and other equines in pulling carts and carriages for hire, provided that all of the animals? physiological and behavioral needs are fully met, housing and stable conditions are humane and their working hours and conditions are carefully regulated as to temperature, humidity, proximity to traffic, rest periods, etc. Working equines should receive regular veterinary and farrier care and be provided a humane retirement when no longer able to work.? .........THESE PROVISOS ARE CLEARLY QUESTIONABLE AND THE ASPCA MUST REALIZE THAT - BRINGING THE ENTIRE STATEMENT INTO QUESTION AS BEING DISINGENUOUS. (For example, horses are herd animals. They need to socialize with other horses and to have access to turnout - neither behavioral need is being met. In addition, multi-story stables, which are accessed by ramps, are not considered humane. Also - humidity is not a factor in the present law; and it is near impossible to monitor whether horses are getting the required 15 minute break every two hours) .........AND .......

"In 1999, when we proposed comprehensive new legislation to improve the lives of New York?s carriage horses, no one on the city council would introduce it." While the ASPCA did make a comprehensive proposal to the City Council when Peter Vallone was Speaker, it was eight years ago. And it was for more regulations (difficult to enforce) - not a ban. We now have new Council Members and our Coalition has found a positive response to our proposed legislation. There have also been many more accidents and more reason for the ASPCA to join with us in asking for a ban of the industry. Our Coalition has PROOF in the form of tourist's and New Yorker's signatures (over 8,500) that people no longer want this industry in NYC.

Our grass roots, under-funded all volunteer campaign has made remarkable progress in one year - but in order to move forward more quickly, we know that this is an issue in search of a another Mr. Bergh - a leader with chutzpah, resources and influence -- and the will to get things done.

Please contact Ed Sayres, president of the ASPCA, and ask him to take an active stand in supporting a ban of this industry. His e-mail address is: I know that many of you are very angry about this issue -- but please be polite - rudeness will hurt our cause.

"Cold Brutal to Horses" - 2/8/07

"The brutally cold arctic wave that has hit the area has also affected New York City's carriage horses. The present law allows them to work when it is 18 degrees or above -- but there is no consideration for wind chill, which makes the temperature feel like single digits. Yesterday at noon, it was 19 degrees, with a wind chill of 5. Who is monitoring whether the horses are out when it is colder than 18 degrees?"

"The other day the ASPCA had only four agents in the city attending to other animal emergencies. The first line of defense against cold weather is a horse's thick winter coat. But because of an unseasonably warm December and January, many horses were not able to grow this natural coat. Snow and sleet causes their coats to get wet and compromises their ability to keep warm. How many horses on the street wear protective blankets? This Charles Dickens industry has no place in modern-day New York City."--Elizabeth Forel, Manhattan

on carriage horses
SpottyThis effective slide show - "Carriage Horses: Driving into Nightmares" was produced by a young woman who lives in Chicago, which also has a horse-drawn carriage trade. Please take a moment to view it - it is powerful. Many of the images are off our other web site Coalition for New York City Animals and are of NYC carriage horses.

The image above is of Spotty, the NYC carriage horse who died after being involved in a horrendous crash on January 2, 2006. He is being dragged off to be euthanized.

presentation in NYC - Save the Date

NO AETAOdette Wilkens, the executive Director of the Equal Justice Alliance, will be speaking about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act on Saturday March 10, 2007 at 3:00 PM at 242 E. 53rd St. in Manhattan - sponsored by the NY Companion Bird Club. Due to limited seating, please RSVP if you are planning to attend.

More to come on this event............. For now, just save the date. It is sure to be an interesting afternoon.  

Thank you for caring about the horses, Elizabeth Forel - Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc. for the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages