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

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Current Issue:  26 August 2007 - Vol. # 46

Post Card Campaign ** Volunteer ** Air America Radio ** Audit Report on Oversight of Carriage Horse Industry

next Saturday, September 1st
volunteers - Ausust 2007 - #2The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages needs volunteers to help get signatures on petitions to the Mayor and City Council -- and to hold posters. We are also asking passersby to participate in our post card campaign to Mayor Bloomberg. This is not a demonstration but an educational event. It is an excellent opportunity to help the horses and 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, September 1, 2007 WHERE: midtown - information will be given to volunteers. TIME: 1-5 PM.

If you would like to participate in our postcard campaign, please contact us at Tell us how many you want and provide your mailing address. The card is addressed to Mayor Bloomberg and asks him to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry. We ask that you have your friends, family and coworkers sign the card and mail it in. To date, we have sent thousands of post cards to Mayor Bloomberg from New Yorkers and tourists alike. You may read more about it in a previous newsletter by clicking on the link above.

this Saturday, August 25th
Listen to GO VEGAN WITH BOB LINDEN this Saturday, August 25th when Teresa D'Amico of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages is interviewed about the carriage horse issue in NYC. You can listen to the stream on Air America, Saturday at 2:00 PM EST at or on the radio in New York on Saturday at 10:00 PM EST at WWRL 1600 AM. It will be podcast and archived at

Comptroller's Office issues report dated June 27, 2006
carriage horseThe NYC Comptroller's Office issued an "Audit Report on the Licensing and Oversight of the Carriage-Horse Industry by the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Consumer Affairs". The NYC charter - Chapter 5,Section 93, gives the Comptroller's office the responsibility to audit city agencies. The audits provide a means of ensuring that City agencies are complying with the applicable statues that govern their operations. While the audit determined that the DoH and the DCA generally have adequate controls and generally comply with applicable rules and regulations, several problems were identified.

The report noted that the Administrative Code statue includes a requirement for an Advisory Board to have been established - but the DoH has failed to establish the Board since the enactment of the statue. The Comptroller's report recommended establishing such a board and the DoH Commissioner, Thomas Frieden, has agreed to do so. Let's hope this is a good thing because the danger is that the Commissioner will stack the board with lackeys who will attempt to give the appearance of deliberating on issues but in effect will simply keep the status quo.

The Audit goes on to say that "both agencies' efforts in monitoring and overseeing the carriage-horse industry raise concerns." In the entire year 2006, the DoH veterinarian did not examine the condition of any of the horses in the field and DCA inspectors did not perform the required number of inspections of the horse-drawn carriages. So for all those government officials who claim that there are adequate rules and regulations and that they are being enforced - they do not know what they are talking about!

The Audit pointed out several issues that are very problematical. It is our contention that they add to the evidence that it is impossible to operate the carriage horse industry humanely in NYC. They are: "there are no water spigots in the areas carriages wait to pick up passengers, which makes it difficult to obtain drinking water for the horses and to clean up the dust that accumulates." [it is feces and urine] "There is inadequate drainage where the horses line up; thus the horses are left to stand in pools of dirty water." "During the hot months, the asphalt where the horses line up becomes very hot. Other materials, such as concrete, would be easier on the horses' hooves. In addition, on hot days, there is little shade for the horses, which could cause them to overheat."

These are excellent observations and one wonders why an audit was not done prior to this date; also why no government official ever made these points an issue. Our Coalition has previously pointed out that the horses do not get watered when they are on the Central Park South hack line and that when they enter the park, it is up to the discretion of the driver whether or not he will allow his horse to drink from the water trough. It is also unhealthy for the horses to stand in pools of dirty water -- horses doing so over a period of time have a good chance of contracting thrush, which can lead to painful and debilitating hoof damage. And the point about the asphalt being hot is well taken. It can actually be about 40 degrees hotter than the air temperature, which is tested to determine when the horses will be sent back to the stable.

Certificates of Health for 2006 were compared with 2005 and in 57 of the 135 certificates reviewed there were differences that included age, color, breed and the name of the horse. This precaution was taken to ensure that horses are not being switched or that one license number is not being used for several horses. Sloppy record keeping - or something else? - Whatever - the Comptroller's office stated that they were "still troubled by the large number of certificates with differing information."

license plateThe Auditors found a carriage plate number - 1303, which was not included on the DCA's list of 68 carriage licenses. The DCA did not have any explanation for this. We have also found two plates - 1129 and 1165, which also were not on the DCA list. Our complaint goes back to January 2007 when we wrote a letter to the DCA commissioner, which he has ignored.

There are only supposed to be 68 carriages working in this industry. The DCA cannot seem to get a handle on the actual number. It is possible that there are several more because they simply cannot do a proper job in monitoring it.

The Audit is not listed on the Comptroller's web site -- others are. The Audit number and name are: #MH07-092A and is called "Audit Report on the Licensing and Oversight of the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Consumer Affairs." Comptroller's office - 212-669-2797. You may call and ask for a copy or wait until it is up on our web site - under "news."

Contact Mayor Bloomberg and your Council Member and tell them about this report if they are not aware of it. Once again, ask them to support legislation that would put an end to this inhumane industry.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

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