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

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25 March 2007 - Vol. # 21

Volunteers ** Police Horses ** Letters to the Editor ** Carriage Horse stables

Tabling on Saturday, March 31 - Christine Quinn's district
tablingThe Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages will be tabling on Saturday, March 31st. It will be at a new location, which we will give to volunteers. We need volunteers to help us get signatures on petitions to the Mayor and City Council -- and to hold posters. This is not a demonstration but an educational event. It is an excellent opportunity to help the horses and get to see how supportive both tourists and New Yorkers are. You can volunteer for one hour or four. We need to know when you will be there so we are sure to have coverage. Please contact Teresa at if you can volunteer.

WHEN: Saturday, March 31, 2007 WHERE: midtown - information will be given to volunteers. TIME: 1-5 PM

More Space to Live and Exercise
NYPD horses get West Side home - By Emi Endo, AM-NY - March 20, 2007 Twenty-eight of the city's 80 police horses, assigned to cover midtown and downtown, have moved up the river several blocks. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly Tuesday unveiled a new $8.7-million stable for Troop B of the mounted unit at Pier 76, at 37th Street on Manhattan's West Side. The troop of 30 officers had to vacate its previous home at Pier 63 at 23rd Street to make way for the construction of Hudson River Park. An esplanade and seating area will go up at the site of the old stables.

Amenities at the new facility, next to a police tow pound, include larger 10 by 10 stalls, a hay loft, a horse shower stall, a saddle room and a 6,500- square-foot exercise ring that is covered and heated. The chestnut and bay geldings can't get too comfortable, though.

The mayor acknowledged the digs are only temporary because plans for the park extend from Battery Park up to West 59th Street, ultimately incorporating the new stable area. "Down the road, yes, we'll have to find another place," Bloomberg said, adding that the city sought ideas for locations.

Better Treatment for Carriage Horses Needed
horse on rampMarch 22, 2007 Re 'Cop Horses Get Posh New Digs' in yesterday's issue: Police horses deserve their new and improved stable. Their large stalls mean that a horse can lie down and really get a good sleep; a generous-sized exercise ring means they can have turn-out time; shower stalls means they can be kept clean. This is in stark contrast to what the New York City carriage horse has. Their stables are in multistoried warehouse buildings. The horse ascends a steep ramp to access his stall -- most of which are too small for him to lie down comfortably. And there is no opportunity for turnout.

Many of our Council Members like to point at the carriage horses as a tourist attraction and seem not to be moved by this lack of humanity toward these hard- working horses. If this is such a desirable tourist attraction, why are stable tours not included in the visitor guide books?--Elizabeth Forel, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Facts not Fiction
Byrne brothers stableThere are five horse-carriage stables in Manhattan that house the horses who work in the carriage industry. They are all warehouse-like multi-storied buildings located on the far west side of Manhattan between W. 37th St. and W. 52nd St. They are not open to the public. Each building should have a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) on file with the Department of Buildings (DoB) -- This is the official document used to certify the legal use and occupancy of a building. It is issued by the DoB and describes how a building may be occupied.

Two of the C of Os on file with the DoB list the occupancy as "stables"; but one lists the occupancy as "storage" and a "garage" and another as a "tenement." And one does not have a C of O at all.

west side liveryAll of these stables are non-fireproof buildings and there is no law mandating sprinklers although some may have what has been referred to as an "inadequate sprinkler system" - and we hope that they all have fire extinguishers. Several years ago, a hearing on a City Council bill that would have mandated sprinklers in stables was canceled and the bill died. Why? - only the "influential" know for sure. There is also only one means of egress for these horses who mostly live on the upper floors that are accessed by steep ramps. While some of the stalls are now box stalls - big enough for a horse to lie down - many of them are still standing stalls. Unlike the new police stable, there is no such thing as an exercise ring or any kind of turn out for these horses. After a nine hour work day, they are returned to their stables and stay there until the next time they are taken out to work.

The reason we tell you this is not to say that if the carriages horses lived like the police horses everything would be fine. This is such an inherently cruel and exploitative industry that the only moral and ethical thing to do for these horses is to ban the carriage horse trade outright. No - our comparison is simply to show you what passes for acceptance by our City officials who like to call it a tourist attraction. It is shameful and a blight on our city.

I Just Want to Throw Up My Hands
stable 1In 2006, Toronto Humane Society President, Tim Trow, wrote to New York City Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, urging him to ban the services of horse-drawn carriages in the city. Toronto banned carriage horses in the 1970s. The response was not from Mr. Bloomberg's office but from Norma Torres, Director of the Office of Veterinary Affairs in the Department of Health. Ms. Torres spews the party line, probably written by a disinterested PR flak. My comments in bold.

OFFICIAL RESPONSE: "New York City has detailed and comprehensive rental horse protection laws as well as an effective enforcement program. [Oh really ? could have fooled us] Each year veterinarians from the Office of Veterinary Public Health Services perform unannounced street inspections of carriage horses and monthly inspections of the five carriage stables. Additionally inspections are performed by the ASPCA, NYPD mounted police and the Parks Enforcement Patrol. [what are their standards and where are the reports?] A street inspection program with the NYPD mounted police has effectively eliminated time and work zone violations by carriage horse operators [is she kidding?] ASPCA field agents are on duty during extreme weather conditions, [yeah like on Valentine?s Day when they did not send the drivers back to their stables during the ice storm until hours after it began] to ensure that horses stop working at temperatures above 89 degrees [She is wrong - it is 90 degrees] and below 18 degrees Fahrenheit. "[Ms. Torres invites people to call 212-676 ?2120 with further questions ? but refuses to take any calls or to return calls.] [As is painfully obvious, the City, through the voice of Ms. Torres, does not entertain the possibility that anything can be wrong with the present system.]

THE FLAMING BLOGGER: The following are excerpts from a carriage driver culled from the Blogs who, when not driving her carriage, follows carriage horse discussions on the internet and trolls in her two sense. She likes to tell people how misinformed they are. Take a look: My comments in bold. "All my 24 carriages horses get turned out at least every 3-4 months, [Hello - What about every day?] as we rotate them on our 50 acre family farm. And our working horses have a wonderful antique carriage house, [Is she kidding? - I want a tour] not ''converted apartments'' as stated from another very misinformed person. We have large box stalls, [the photo tells otherwise] where they certainly can turn around and lie down, they have automatic waterers in their stalls, skylights and exhaust fans at each end of the stable, [wow - think I'll move in] 24 stable staff to provide for the horses, we have plenty of fire extinguishers, a sprinkler system, too. And yes, I have seen the other 4 stables, who have similar living quarters." OR

Chateau stable"The majority of people love our horses, [not according to our petitions] and it shows, as business grows every year,  and a rate increase is well on its way, with the City's Blessing, as the City, appreciates our landmark tradition. [this is a cash only business] The aspca and health department, are on very good terms with all the city stables, and are in constant contact with us and they don't seem to have any problems, which we are very proud of., [Hmmmm - interesting ...] We are licensed, inspected and are well up to the City standards, business keeps increasing, and more drivers are getting their licenses. [Please say it isn't true.] The Carriage horse business, is quite deep and large, we pay huge property taxes, horses live in several multi million dollar stables, [huh?] varied in different locations, we employ drivers, blacksmiths, wheel wrights, engineers, harness makers, and insurances, we are a legal respected business, and recognized positive, by the aspca, health dept, and police dept." [I am overwhelmed.]

PICTURES: 1st - tabling near Central Park; 2nd - horse accessing ramp to his stall; 3rd - exterior - carriage horse stable; 4th - exterior - carriage horse stable; 5th - interior - carriage horse stable showing straight or standing stalls; 6th - exterior - carriage horse stable.

.....Because We're Not!
The inspirational words of these three great individuals keep us going. I hope you are inspired too. MARTIN LUTHER KING: ?He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.?

MARGARET MEAD: ?Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.? ALBERT EINSTEIN: "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look and do nothing.?

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