Monday, January 28, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name...

For Carolyn...

No good deed goes unpunished. The effort to ban horse-drawn carriages on grounds that they are fundamentally inhumane is derided as the devil's work for idle hands. Never mind that this miserable industry endangers the animals as well as the public. The nose-to-tailpipe existence of the horses, the disastrous combination of mixing horses with traffic in the nation's most congested city, and the cumulative ill health effects of working horses in immoderate weather and conditions are well documented.

The good news is that efforts nationwide by humane activists to end the mistreatment of animals are gaining momentum. Larry Copeland of USA Today quotes an animal law specialist as saying there is "an explosion of interest" nationwide in all manner of issues affecting the treatment of animals, from exposing the horrors of puppy mills and dogfighting to the torturous practices that are common in factory farming.

The article leads with a mention of the efforts to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York (the legislation is Intro. 658, sponsored by Councilman Tony Avella). Despite Mr. Copeland's decision to refer to individuals who work on improving the treatment of animals as "animal rights activists," he is right about one thing--the grassroots efforts are making a difference.

From a tactical standpoint, it does not seem a good idea to describe oneself as an "animal rights activist." It plays right into the other side's most beloved tactic--to marginalize all humane efforts by portraying opponents as misguided loners who think all living creatures should having voting rights, or such. But it's not so bad. I sincerely wish all animals could vote. Anyway, Carolyn, and Larry, let's stay on topic, please.

Read "Animal Rights Groups Pick Up Momentum" (USA Today, January 28, 2008)
Make your opinion known. Call NY City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at 212-564-7757 and leave a brief message. Better yet, send her a letter: 224 W. 30th Street, Suite 1206, New York, NY 10001
and ask her to support Intro. 658, and to oppose industry bills Intro. 652 and Intro. 653.

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