Monday, December 31, 2007

NY Sun: "The Objective Standard"? Oh, My!

Truth is stranger than fiction...

The editorialist at The New York Sun dismisses Councilman Avella's courageous legislation as "horse pucky." (Oh, no, he didn't! Yes, seriously!) This assertion would appear to be based on a letter from the ever-quotable Shamrock Stables owner, Ian McKeever, who has taken to calling Mr. Avella "a horse's ass." In a recent letter to the Sun, Mr. McKeever is said to have described the carriage horses as being in "excellent health and condition," according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and "our own independent veterinarians." That's good enough evidence for the Sun, it seems, to throw its full support behind this cash-only business that the city also endorses. (Say, what's the latest on Cornelius Byrne, who was arrested on charges of offering a bribe to an official to overlook seven violations at Mr. Byrne's stable?)

In the interest of accuracy, Mr. McKeever's statement requires clarification. In 2007, the ASPCA fully supports the ban that is proposed by Councilman Avella, as does the Humane Society of the United States and a host of other respected humane organizations. These decisions are not made lightly and are based on a review of best available evidence that in 2007 is incontrovertible.

Depending on who is speaking, a visit that Mr. Avella made to Shamrock Stables about two years ago is described in very different terms. Mr. McKeever takes every available opportunity to recount his recollection of the visit by Mr. Avella: "He was very happy and had nothing negative to say." Councilman Avella sharply dismissed that assertion; he calls it a "total lie." On that visit, Mr. Avella said recently, he visited stables, inspected conditions, and submitted follow-up questions that he says were never answered.

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