Sunday, June 29, 2008

2 miles the hard way--on steamy pavement

Wait long enough for a break, and you may be able to catch a glimpse of carriages coming up 10th Avenue. The buses around the Port Authority Bus Terminal and Lincoln Tunnel are lined up like jetliners on the runway at LaGuardia. This is how the horses commute from the West Side Livery and Central Park Carriages stables in the west 30s. That's right, they have to go to 59th Street to get to work. This video shows the part of New York that most tourists do not see. But they should.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Life in the Big City

Non-New Yorkers may be under the illusion that carriage horses live inside Central Park, get daily turnout, and have a pretty good life. This really is an illusion. Take a look at the video "Horses in NYC Traffic" on YouTube, posted by "horsesinnyc." A real eye-opener.
You may be new to the carriage-horse issue, or perhaps you have experience with horses. In any event, you will see that it is inappropriate and inhumane for horse-drawn carriages to operate in New York City.
Support a full ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City
Learn more -- Visit the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Friday, June 20, 2008

How long will horses be mistreated?

Film documents gruesome accidents
There's a lot of buzz in New York City today about the Blinders screening last night. The Central Park Blogger comments on the ultimate irony: even Beijing has banned horse-drawn carriages, but New York City has stubbornly refused to do so. It does boggle the mind.
Read "Blinders Screened" (Central Park Blog post, June 20, 2008)
Blinders is the new documentary from independent filmmaker Donny Moss. View the trailer on the Blinders website

Photo credit: Charles Eckert (January 2, 2006)
Support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in NYC (Intro. 658)

Happy endings for the few

Some worn-out New York City carriage horses are fortunate enough to be rescued from the auctions in New Holland, Pa. After much physical and emotional rehabilitation, Lilly O'Reilly was one of these "happy ending" horses. Lilly has since passed away, but she was well cared-for since her rescue and adoption, and loved by many.
Photos courtesy of Cheryl Syriac, Central New England Equine Rescue
Lilly Rose O'Reilly was rescued before the last US slaughterhouse was shut down.
Read more of Lilly O'Reilly's story

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Blinders" Director to be Honored

Award-winning film to be screened in Toronto
Blinders, the documentary that reveals the inhumane realities of New York City's carriage horse industry, will premier in Canada on June 19 at the ReelHeART International Film Festival. Filmmaker Donny Moss will be honored by the Toronto Humane Society, which has long advocated tirelessly for New York City's carriage horses.
Blinders, Winner of "Best Film" in the Point of View category, International Wildlife Film Festival, 2008. Visit the official Blinders website

Monday, June 16, 2008

Off topic (again), on target

The connection? Mistreatment, early death, inhumane slaughter
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)--Thoroughbred racetracks in the U.S. reported more than three horse deaths a day last year and 5,000 since 2003, and the vast majority were put down after suffering devastating injuries on the track, according to an Associated Press survey. Eight Belles was one such horse, and another was George Washington (pictured). Read more
The AP lays it all out in this important story about the horse racing industry. It does not address the little-known fact that an estimated 10% to 15% of horses sent to slaughter are race horses.
Story by Jeffrey McMurray, AP. Photo: Getty Images

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Strike up a conversation about horses

Dog tags are here!
Show your support for a ban on horse-drawn carriages by wearing a dog tag embossed with the name of a current or former New York City carriage horse. Great conversation starters! Some tags honor a working carriage horse (Scarlett, Romeo, Trottolino, and Prince) and others immortalize certain horses that were casualties of the job (Smoothie, Juliet, and Spotty). Your tag will have either the working carriage horse's ID#, or the former carriage horse's date of death and the letters "R.I.P." All tags have the URL for the website of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages (NYC), which is making the tags available. These are great gifts and wonderful to wear.
Each dog tag includes an 18-inch bead-chain (you can also attach your tag to a keychain). Each tag is $10. Your purchase shows the world your support of a ban on horse-drawn carriages in NYC, and it also helps the horses by making possible the work of the coalition. PayPal or check accepted. To get your dog tag, click here to make a donation to the Coalition via PayPal (be sure to specify that you want to receive a dog tag).

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Political entrenchment 101

Why haven't horse-drawn carriages been banned, you ask?
Many thoughtful, rational residents find it incomprehensible that New York City still allows horse-drawn carriages on the streets and ignores the inherent dangers, to say nothing of the inherent cruelty of this industry. And it is an industry, complete with profit margins and difficult decisions about when the "equipment" has outlived its usefulness. Some, like Bud (pictured), are casualties of the job itself.

For those who are new to this issue, perhaps a review is in order. There are some shameful connections between those who supposedly would reform this cash industry and those who are profiting from it. Among them, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs, a Bloomberg appointee who oversees the Dept of Health, is married to lobbyist Thomas McMahon, whose lone associate in his firm, Jean Kim, is lobbying for the carriage horse industry. Gibbs' brother-in-law also has been representing the carriage industry. Does this seem right?
As you can see, efforts at meaningful reform are doomed to fail--a complete joke. Then there's the corrupt Christine Quinn, speaker of the City Council and renowned animal-hater, who scares away any council members who would support the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages. Just run a Google search of "Christine Quinn slush fund" and read about some of her recent shenanigans.
Take Action! Call City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and tell her that you support a ban on horse-drawn carriages, a measure that is endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Humane Society of the United States, to name a few organizations. You'll speak with an aide, no doubt, as Quinn will probably be on the phone with her $600-an-hour lawyer.
Not a New York City resident? Call anyway!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Compassionate Visitor to NYC

Carriages romantic? Reconsider
Becky, a horse owner in Kentucky, has been following the plight of New York City's carriage horses. In a comment on The Central Park Blog, she described the way her own horses are cared for: they get ample rest after a short ride, a good cooling down, and plenty of turnout. It paints a picture that is in stark contrast to the lives of the carriage horses, who are warehoused in standing stalls or small box stalls during the precious few hours that they are not hitched to the carriage. Granted, space is at a premium in Manhattan, a situation that exacerbates the problem of the welfare of these horses--most of whom live on upper floors and must climb steep ramps inside the stables. Not to mention the traffic and the creative solutions that some drivers employ, such as U-turns on Central Park South.
"Horse owners in KY have been arrested & charged with animal cruelty for less than they’re doing there," Becky observed in her post on The Central Park Blog. "When I visit Central Park this summer I’m certain I’ll view the carriages much differently - & won’t be paying to get in one."
Do your travel plans include a visit to NYC and a ride in a horse-drawn carriage? Please reconsider, and make sure you have the facts to make an informed decision. A full ban is supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Friends of Animals, and a large coalition of organizations.
The editor also wishes to recognize the superlative gutlessness of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who could do something about this industry--but won't. Maybe he had his spine removed? Every time he speaks, I am reminded of the famous headline: "Mush From the Wimp."
Photo courtesy of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Horses Working Through the Heat

Heat Wave This Weekend
New York City is in the midst of a heat wave, and you can be sure the horses are out in the searing heat and humidity. By law, the carriage horses are not to be working whenever the air temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Because the law does not take "heat index" into account, the high humidity is not factored into the equation. The risk is serious. Horses can die of hyperthermia in just a few hours, and the burden of heat stress to the horses is not necessarily reflected in the official weather bureau readings. As an example, the air temperature as recorded by the weather bureau can be nearly 50 degrees cooler than the actual asphalt temperature at street level, a Cornell University study found. The New York City Department of Transportation has found that asphalt surfaces can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Compounding the risk is the problem of inadequate water supply for the horses.
Photo courtesy of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

You can see how working outside in these conditions poses clear risks. So, when you see a carriage horse working when temperatures are 90 or higher, call the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to file a report (and good luck getting through). The ASPCA's offices are closed on weekends, so when excessive heat is forecast on a Friday for the upcoming weekend, call the ASPCA (212-876-7700, ext. 4450) and urge that a Humane Law Officer be on the job at the park. It is important to let the ASPCA know that you are concerned about the health and safety of the horses. Put the phone number into your phone "Contact" list and keep an eye on the horses this summer. Until there is a ban, let's do all we can to help the horses.
Support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tickets online now for Blinders!

"Blinders," the documentary by independent filmmaker Donny Moss, is being screened locally this weekend. Don't miss your opportunity to see this important film, which exposes the truth behind the tradition of New York City's horse-drawn carriage industry.
Buy advance tickets online for screenings on Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, at the Staten Island Film Festival (SINY).
Blinders, Winner of "Best Film" in the Point of View category, International Wildlife Film Festival, 2008
Upcoming screenings in Toronto, Great Barrington, Mass., Great Neck, NY -- more information
NEW! TRAVEL INFORMATION for the Staten Island Film Festival (SINY)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Romantic? Not

Chessbluff writes of romance and horse-drawn carriages:
If you need a carriage ride to fall in love with each other, then maybe you need to consider your options. Like, look for another partner! Get a cab, and leave the horses alone."
Well said. Check out his post: "New York City. Horse-Drawn Carriages. Animal Cruelty" at the "On Loving Animals..." blog.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Off-topic, of interest

Horse slaughter is a grisly and inhumane business, and your federal lawmakers need to hear from you in 2008 if this extreme cruelty of inhumane export and slaughter is to end. A cable sports show (Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, #134) takes a look at issues of export and slaughter of thoroughbred race horses for profit. Tune in to HBO2 for "Slaughter of Thoroughbreds," being re-aired on Monday, June 2. Check air times here.
Read "Saving Horses, One Thoroughbred at a Time" (New York Times, May 17, 2008) "They are young. So why not find them new jobs?" says Laurie Condurso-Lane, horse rescuer. She speaks of trying to outbid the kill buyers, one horse at a time. But the rescuers can't save all the horses. Advocates say about 15% of horses sent to slaughter are racehorses who didn't live up to expectations. Some have labeled these horses "stable to table," a grisly reference to the horse meat industry.
Take Action: Ask your federal lawmakers to support HR 503/S. 311, which would
both end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and prohibit their export for slaughter in other countries. Carriage horses, race horses, and all other horses would be protected by this measure.
Photo: B.J. left, and Fishy, fast friends. Credit: Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times