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

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29 April 2007 - Vol. # 26

Volunteering * T-Shirt Sale * Pedicabs * Letters * Bermuda accident * Spooking

We are taking a break - back on May 12th
The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages will not be tabling this weekend. Please save a few hours to help us out on Saturday May 12th. See you then!

Promote our message to help the horses
The warm weather is here and it is time to wear your t-shirts - ours preferably. Wear it to the gym to educate people about the carriage horses; wear it to table with us - or just wear it because it looks good and is comfortable. We have a sizable inventory of t-shirts (shown above) in small, medium and large - that we want to sell to raise money for our campaign. They run a little big. The slogan on this style is "Show Compassion" "Say No to a Carriage Ride." We also have a few left of the women's cap sleeve t-shirt in size medium, which is to size. It is shown to the left. The slogan on this shirt is "There's No Romance in Cruelty".

We are offering these shirts at $15 including postage - a $5-10 savings from our Internet store. If you are interested, please e-mail me at with the size needed. I will e-mail you back to let you know if it is available. Only checks are accepted. Although all sizes are available, please wait until you hear from me confirming it. At that time, checks should be made out to Coalition for New York City Animals, Inc., P.O. Box 20247, New York, NY 10025.

However, if you want to purchase anything through our store, credit cards are accepted through PayPal. We have caps, t-shirts, sweat shirts; tote bags and a tee for your dog.

Earth Day Smack Down - Council overrides the Mayor's veto - or "follow the money"
pedicabsIt was politics as usual as the City Council voted 37 to 6 to override the Mayor's veto on a bill that would seriously curtail the pedicab industry. Voting "no" were CM Tony Avella, Charles Barron, Helen Foster, Alan Gerson, Hiram Monserrate and Albert Vann.

This bill, which is now law, was originally introduced by Mayor Bloomberg to regulate the burgeoning Pedicab industry. However, after listening to arguments as to why this was not a good bill, he vetoed it and sent it back to the Council to be reworked.

During the Council Hearing - ironically the day after Earth Day - Council Member James Gennaro, went so far as to argue that pedicabs cause pollution by creating more congestion. (he was also seen trying to sell someone a bridge...) We are told that he spent the morning hobnobbing with the pro-331-A lobbyists.

On Saturday, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion argued that the cap of 325 pedicabs citywide would amount to a "de facto ban" on pedicab businesses outside of Manhattan. "What signal does it send to those who are considering investing in a small business in our city - especially green businesses that should receive heightened protection?" Carrion said. "On the day after Earth Day, of all days, this is not a direction the Council should be going." As for Speaker Christine Quinn's undue influence on her fellow Council Members - many concerned about losing their committee chairmanships and other perks - this is nothing new and is typical for NYC government al la the more recent speakers - Vallone and Miller. Quinn claims not to have been influenced by Emily Giske, a lobbyist at a firm hired by the Committee for Taxi Safety to lobby the council on the pedicab bill. (And if you believe that -- I will try to sell you that bridge..... ) Giske is considered by many to be close to Quinn. Read more about the issue below. But first -- read New York Magazine's article "Hansom Cabbies Turn Ugly" - how this issue began - 12/5/2005. This bill, which would have banned the Pedicab industry outright was shelved when the Coalition for NYC Animals persuaded CM. Gale Brewer and CM Leticia James to withdraw their sponsorship.

AM-NY - on Horse Slaughter - April 26, 2007
horse noseNY April 26, 2007- HORSES MUST BE TREATED HEROICALLY Re: "Storied Stable to Leave Central Park" Let's hope that good homes are found for the 45 Claremont horses and that they not go to auction. Horses are generally not sold directly to slaughter houses but take the indirect route of being sold at auction to the highest bidder. This is what happens to some carriage horses who no longer make the cut. At the auctions, representatives of slaughter houses or "killer buyers" buy horses by the pound. More than 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the US last year.

Although recent court decisions have effectively shut down the three foreign owned slaughterhouses in the US, horses are still being trucked to slaughter in Mexico and Canada. The American Horse Slaughter and Prevention Act will settle the matter permanently since it also prohibits the export of live horses to other countries for slaughter. Please call your representatives in Congress to ask that they support this legislation.
-Elizabeth Forel, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Run wild - plough into crowd - 19 injured
bermuda accident - carriageBermuda April 25th - At least 19 people - including a young boy - were injured after two carriage horses spooked and ran amok - dragging a carriage along Front Street during the first Harbour Night of the year. The out-of-control animals ploughed into the back of a dense crowd of unsuspecting tourists and locals watching a performance at about 7.30 p.m., trapping people beneath the wheels of the vehicle. The crowd couldn't hear the horses' hooves or warning shouts because of the loud music so they failed to move out of the way.

A principal of a middle school said "People were screaming; it was surreal, It was bloody. I saw at least eight people lying on the ground, maybe even 12." One of the organizers of the event stated "Nobody could have stopped them. Fortunately down here all the children got out of the way although there was one little boy injured. I saw bone. People just fell. A lot of people got knocked over here." Another witness: "I saw two horses running very rapidly at a full gallop pulling a carriage. The Gombeys were dancing and the crowd was here. Some people were shouting to get the crowd to move but the horses ran right into the crowd and fell. The horses actually ran over the crowd." "A lot of those under the carriage didn't move. I saw at least a dozen casualties. It seemed that most of the injured were visitors but we had a few local injuries also."

horses can be a deadly force
Bermuda - ambulanceAlthough horses are large animals, they are easily spooked - and often by loud noises from traffic or strange objects. No amount of domestication will remove the flight mentality when they feel threatened. And because they can weigh anywhere from 1,000 to over 2,000 pounds, they are a force to be reckoned with. A witness to the tragic accident in Arizona in February that took the life of a little girl who was trampled by runaway horses said "A person is not strong enough to stop a twelve- hundred pound animal." According to PETA "A survey of national carriage horse accidents revealed that 85 percent of all accidents were the result of an animal spooking. Seventy percent of the time there was a human injury, and 22 percent of the time there was a human death.(8) The survey also found that in New York City, which has the highest carriage horse accident rate in the country, 98 percent of the horses who "spooked" became injured."

And in a letter to Mayor Bloomberg, dated January 16, 2007, Holly Cheever, DVM stated "Spooking can happen to even the best trained and well-mannered horse. Their evolution as herbivores (i.e. prey animals) has conditioned them to bolt first and consider the situation later, dictating the need for the driver to be constantly in contact with the horse's head, whether by holding the reins securely from the carriage box or by standing at the horse's head with the reins in hand. The driver must also learn to anticipate potentially threatening stimuli in order to control the horse before it attempts to flee in panic, which is unlikely when the drivers are novices. I have heard New York carriage owners/drivers claim repeatedly that their horses are "spook-proof"-there is no such thing. As you can well imagine and have witnessed recently, the potential for injury is enormous and represents an extreme liability risk for the City as the licensing agent."

Knowing this should be reason enough to ban the horse carriage trade especially in crowded cities like New York. Horses and heavy traffic have been shown to be a deadly mix. Most horses are simply not comfortable working among cars, buses and taxis. What is it going to take for New York City officials to see the light - another serious accident? a human death? Time will tell.

"Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe? Expediency asks the question, Is it politic? Vanity asks the question, Is it popular? But conscience asks the question, Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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