USA: You Could Not Make This Up ! – The Farce That Is Poor Horses In New York City.

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HORSE SENSE:  PITY THE POOR HORSES  – UPDATE ON THE COUNCIL HEARING

Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages   www.banhdc.org Horses Without Carriages International     www.horseswithoutcarriages.org

our campaign is dedicated to banning the inhumane, unsafe, anachronistic and hack line horse-drawn carriage trade  in NYC

On Friday, January 22nd, the City Council Transportation Committee held a hearing of Intro 573-A, the compromise carriage horse bill.  It lasted 7 hours.  To say it was a disorganized mess would be an understatement. 

Many people were upset that most of the members of the Transportation Committee  left the room before the public began to testify.

Much time was wasted questioning representatives from the Administration who did not have answers to important questions.

Most people were given only one minute to testify.  The groups at the hearing included those of us who oppose the bill because it sells out the horses.  Besides most activists, they include the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, Friends of Animals and Catskill Animal Sanctuary.  Those supporting the bill who were at the hearing were NYClass, PETA, HSUS, and the ASPCA.  Other groups were pressured to sign on to this without ever having read the bill.

The participants also included the carriage drivers, many of whom were not happy with the bill; Teamsters, pedicab drivers whose fledgling industry will be decimated at the request of the carriage drivers because they do not like the competition; good park advocates who threatened to sue the City because a horse stable will be built on public park land — and activists supporting or not supporting the bill.

Some of the drivers told unchallenged lies about the number of accidents or that horses are calm in traffic.  Unchallenged because the Committee chair and members do not know enough about this issue to counter these pronouncements.  So once again, the drivers were able to get away with lies. 

At times it seemed liked a side show with a Northern Cheyenne Indian chief, in a full eagle-feather “peace bonnet,” testified  that he communes with the carriage horses and they tell him they love what they are doing.

The chief failed to reveal  that he is also a Bronco rider – a very cruel rodeo sport where a bucking strap is tied around a horse’s groin to make him buck.   

Then at 11:30 a.m.  Council Member Jimmy Vacca, a committee member, tweeted that he was coming out as a gay man.  He left the hearing along with several other members.

You cannot make this stuff up. 

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Links to newspaper articles.

NY Times

NY Daily News

NY Post

Associated Press

These are excerpts from my testimony:

Why does this tiny, tiny so called industry have so much clout in this city?

They are fewer than 200 people and are not a union shop.   What is their power?  They take temper tantrums if they can’t get their own way and can bring the city and the administration to its knees?

Prior to 2013, every poll showed about 75 percent in favor of a ban.  But after the primary, the Daily News ramped up and began a campaign of lies and deception, never allowing the truth to see the light of day.  Most of the rest of the media followed suit.  The Mayor and his administration turned the other way and allowed this faction to control the dialogue.  When those questionable Quinnipiac polls were done, people only had lies on which to base their vote. Street traffic was never the sole reason we advocated for a ban.  There are many other reasons including the sensitive, nervous nature of the horses; the very high turnover , which leads us to believe many of the unwanted go to the kill auctions, and punishing working conditions.  Putting the stables in Central Park, which may be illegal,  is not going to relieve this and may just exacerbate it because all the abuses will now be within the park and not so noticeable.

Besides there is no requirement for turnout to pasture in this bill – a basic requirement for horse welfare. The same number of drivers will remain while using fewer horses, reduced by about half —  still working 9 hours a day, 7 days a week between the shafts of their carriages in the very congested Central Park, where horses have also spooked.

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The owners have the right to sell their horses to whomever they want, which could mean to an Amish farm that keeps the horse for a period of time before sending him to the auctions, frequented by kill buyers who may well purchase that horse and ship him on to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

The new law will not prevent this.    The microchip doesn’t make sense because the horse isn’t going to be wanted at an auction.  Likewise, it’s  a mistake to get rid of the 4-digit hoof number because it’s an important identifying mark.  In 2010, I found Bobby II Freedom, a discarded NYC carriage horse, at the New Holland auction, one day away from being returned to the slaughter pen – He was identified by his hoof number.  This has also allowed us to report horses who appear to be suffering because we can see this number.  The age of the horses to retire remains at 26, but this is past the life expectancy of many, especially drafts.

The temperatures for weather suspension remain at 18 and 90 degrees and there is no consideration for a humidity or wind chill factor – something we have been asking for years.

This is a link to the bill: http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2080746&GUID=0D50DEF7-90D7-4B73-9BF3-25BB8520CEEC&Options=ID

 TO BE CONTINUED …

 

 

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