Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Self-Regulation: Anything But Appropriate"

Two of the nation's largest humane organizations--the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)--support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City. A spokeswoman for the HSUS denounced the carriage horse industry as unsafe. "Horses do not belong on the crowded, congested streets of modern cities and we are asking the New York City Council and Mayor Bloomberg to put a stop to this cruel industry," HSUS staff attorney Sherry Ramsey said December 8, 2007, at a news conference announcing legislation (Intro. 658) that would ban the industry in New York City. "As we have seen far too many times, mixing horses with busy city traffic is a recipe for disaster," Ms. Ramsey said.

The ASPCA also has joined a long list of supporters
of the legislation introduced by New York City Councilman Tony Avella. Recent events "underscore the urgency to get these horses off the streets," said ASPCA president and chief executive officer Ed Sayres. “As the primary enforcer of New York City’s carriage horse laws, the ASPCA can no longer accept the status quo."

In a news release, the ASPCA reinforced its position and sounded a cautionary note opposing two bills introduced by New York City Councilman James Gennaro; Intro. 652 would double the rates drivers can charge consumers, making the industry more lucrative, and Intro. 653 would remove the authority of the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Consumer Affairs, the police, and agents of the ASPCA to inspect the horses and the stables. Instead, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene would contract with a non-governmental third party to perform this function.

Sayres cautioned that Councilman Gennaro's bills would remove oversight of the industry by law enforcement agents, including the ASPCA’s officers, who have expertise in equine care and a commitment to the welfare of animals. "What’s more, there will be nothing that precludes this industry from self-regulating through the proposed third-party arrangement—which is anything but appropriate,” said Sayres. “As the Comptroller’s recent audit clearly pointed out, this industry needs more effective enforcement, not less.”

Read "The HSUS Calls on New York City to Eliminate Inhumane Carriage Horse Industry"
"ASPCA Supports Proposed New Bill to Ban Carriage Horses from New York City"
Read Intro 658, the bill introduced by Councilman Avella

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