Monday, April 28, 2008

Good People

Has it really been nearly five months since Cornelius Byrne, owner of Central Park Carriage Stables, was arrested on accusations of offering an undercover investigator $100 to overlook seven alleged violations at his stable? Apparently. As carriage drivers delight in saying, the arrest had nothing to do with any treatment or mistreatment of the horses. Rather, the issue was said to pertain to licenses. For example, the same identification number allegedly was used for two different horses. Read the release from the New York City Department of Investigation.
Go figure. It boggles my mind to contemplate the logic of such. Maybe the city audit of the industry (2007) can shed some light on intricacies of licensing. The drivers also claim to love the audit, because it places blame elsewhere (ie, on lack of oversight). Which is why the ASPCA, HSUS, and many other humane organizations have joined forces as part of a coalition to ban horse-drawn carriages outright--because conditions cannot be made safe for the horses and regulation is not a viable option. Photo credit: Steven Hirsch

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sola, perduta, abbandonata

An observation on the work horses' appearance
Could the horses from Central Park Carriages and the storied West Side Livery look any more pitiful and forlorn trudging up 10th Avenue? Probably not.
In late 2007, equine veterinarian Elizabeth Kilgallon looked at video that had been taken with a hidden camera for CBS 2 HD. Among her observations: some of the horses looked to be crammed into standing stalls so tight they can't turn around or lie down. She also noted the horses seemed to be standing in their own urine, manure, and on very little bedding. "I think the bare legal requirements have been met, but I don't think this is the best way for them to live," Dr. Kilgallon was quoted as saying after viewing the video.

Support a ban on horse-drawn carriages in NYC. Call your City Council member today.
What has City Council Speaker Christine Quinn done for horses, dogs, or cats lately, anyway?

Ed's note: There are many worse things that I could say about the one stable in particular, as readers well know. I took the high road here but may reconsider in the future. Rest in peace, Juliet.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Horses spook, turn-of-the-century edition

In 1901, horses spooked--as they still do in 2008.
Read an article from the New York Times archives about a horse that spooked at a blowing newspaper.
How many more dangers, distractions, and noises exist in New York City today?
Support Intro. 658, the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City

Raising the bar for public relations...

I would die of shame and embarrassment if I were a dumb (d-u-m?) flack and had to be quoted as saying idiotic nonsense such as this:
"No one wants to replace clip-clop, clip-clop with chitty chitty bang bang..."
This is so bad that I won't even attribute it. It's painful to read it even now.

More later. And carriage people, welcome! Keep reading! Stay off the streets!

Spring has sprung, and I have been taking notes on weight violations, etc. How to proceed... also, I saw a near-miss today in beautiful Clinton. Interesting how taxicabs don't give a damn about the horses. For the life of me, I cannot understand how you guys and gals think it's a good idea to "drive" horses in city traffic.

If I were you I would get out your calculators and do some computation. There are better ways to make money than to warehouse thirsty, tired horses that have to drag around fat people for 9 hours a day and must live on cheap, poor-quality food. Humane treatment wouldn't be a concern with "green" model-Ts and other classic automobiles. Those you can run until the wheels fall off!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tragedy averted, this time

A carriage horse spooked in Cincinnati on Saturday night, tossing the carriage driver and losing the passengers. The horse dragged the overturned carriage for two blocks before being stopped by police. The driver suffered a back injury and a female passenger suffered a head injury. Police returned the horse to its stable; it was not immediately clear whether the horse had any injuries.

The latest news of a horse-drawn carriage accident is not surprising; rather, it is predictable. Putting horses into traffic is a recipe for disaster and often has tragic consequences.

Photo credit: Adam Eger for The (Cincinnati) Enquirer

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A sight for sore eyes

It's great to see the impactful and brilliant Manhattan Mini Storage ads! It's simple and it's wonderful: MMS will donate $25 on your behalf to one of 5 organizations when you rent. The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is among them, along with Planned Parenthood of NYC, Animal Haven, The NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, and Citymeals-on-Wheels. All wonderful organizations. This is a tremendous ad campaign from a company with a social conscience.
I love all of these ads! This one will have an impact in making more people aware of the cruelty of the horse-drawn carriage industry. In a predictably vulgar fashion, some in the carriage industry behaved very badly upon learning of this campaign. Carriage people would do well to keep it real and always be mindful of laws that prohibit menacing behavior. Cheers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Scary people, some of these drivers

Did I mention the carriage driver who wrote to me and warned me to "watch my ass"? The comment was so silly I did not publish it. Now, now, there'll be no threats here.

See cruelty investigators being roughed up on the hack line
Apologies, carriage people, I know how much you hate the P-word, but check this and other recently added video of the many problems with this hateful cash-only business. Say, I bet you don't like the IRS, either! That's how they finally took down Al Capone--tax evasion! Not that I'm saying you don't pay taxes...
Support Intro. 658--the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. I would recommend calling City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, but she's busy with her scandal and all.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Classic Quinn...and a prayer

Now, except for my singular rants on my favorite topic--the much-needed ban on horse-drawn carriages--I try not to get political here. No, really. I'll let others do that.

In the spirit of reconciliation, the blogger "Politiko" of Room Eight has posted a prayer for Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has a wee problem right now: She has dug her own grave, politically speaking.

Here follows an excerpt from "A Prayer For the Most Honest Person Mayor Bloomberg Knows":
"If Mayor Bloomberg, the greatest Mayor of any City ever in the History of the World says that Christine Quinn is "the most honest person" he knows, then she must really be something special and should get through this and become our next mayor." Read more
Nothing good can come from hating animals. In fact, these are the people who typically devalue life, objectify individuals, and behave in unbelievably arrogant manner because they deem themselves to be "above it all." My motto (as stated by Esther Dyson) is: Make new mistakes. Onward, Quinn.
Also see "Immoral or Incompetent?"
Say what? The Coalition for Informed Individuals?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Change for the better

Kathy's cheerful blog on all things "girly" came to my attention when she wrote about her upcoming visit to New York, and her Top 10 list of things to do--including a carriage ride. After we talked by email, she changed her plans and decided against a carriage ride.
"You didn't bring me down. You made me aware," Kathy wrote following her visit. "I saw buckets of food. But no water for the horses. Where was the water?!!!! I know I'd be thirsty after hauling fat people around the park all day!"
I hear this from so many tourists and visitors to New York City. Most informed individuals will not willingly support the mistreatment of animals. New York City is a great place to visit and a great place to live, in spite of its embarrassing shortcomings such as a failure to ban this miserable industry. Other world-class cities have already done so.

Kathy is fortunate to have not witnessed a gruesome accident. She also was spared other sad sights of blatant abuse that we sometimes witness, such as a driver slapping his horse's face for spilling a few crumbs of food.

Quinn's Mayoral Bid

Quinn controls a $60 billion budget ... big oops
The Associated Press tells us that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn's mayoral aspirations may be "complicated" by revelations that the council, under her leadership, allocated millions of dollars to fake organizations. These are said to include the Coalition for Informed Individuals, Friends of the High Line, and Senior Citizens for Equality. Nearly one-quarter of the money reportedly was allocated to organizations in her midtown district. The probe into the misappropriation of funds may lead to her political demise.

This is bad news for her beloved horse-drawn carriage industry, but good news for the rest of us.

Ms. Quinn received a score of "0" on the 2007 New York City Council Humane Scorecard published by the League of Humane Voters of New York City. This report looks at council members' voting records on animal protection issues. These not esoteric issues of little consequence to us all; rather these are issues that matter--such as pet-friendly housing and humane education in the schools. Needless to say, she supports the horse-drawn carriage industry. She has insider connections, you might say.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Keep Writing! It'll Keep You Off the Streets

Peeba76, a carriage horse driver, has joined the HorseWatchNYC readership and I welcome his (or her) colorful opinion. Peeba76 is a prolific writer, having added a few pithy comments to the biased New York Sun article focusing on Manhattan Mini Storage, which has weighed in on the issue in support of a ban on horse-drawn carriages. Peeba76 refers to those who support a ban as "misguided, self-important idiots" and "NUTS." Don't even get Peebs started on PETA. (There, there, they'll be no talk of that organization on this blog. Or very little). For some reason, being called silly names always amuses me, because it's so meaningless with respect to the topic.

Say, Are You Coming, or Going?

I see the same carriages so often it's difficult to tell if they're coming back or going out. In business, the idea is always to optimize the profit margin. This is particularly true in a cash-only business.

A spiffy royal blue carriage, for example, was seen coming back to Shamrock Stables in the rain around 1:30 pm on Monday, and then heading back out again around 6 p.m. To be fair, it had been a drizzly day and the driver of carriage 1110 needed to get his full 1 or 2 shifts in. Cash is cash, dontcha know.

My goodness! Peeba76, your comment was so vile that I forgot to post it! Something about calling me an idiot and telling to watch my ass! (Which I always do, especially around your stable). Careful, big guy (big gal?), there's a law against menacing behavior. Now don't carry any big sticks or make threats.--Alice
p.s. It was the same horse, a beautiful dark horse. I think you know the one.