Saturday, January 31, 2009

Horses and people in harm's way

A carriage horse spooked recently in Charleston, S.C. What frightened him? A puddle of water. And a well-trained appaloosa named "Mouse" spooked at the presidential inaugural parade, which was delayed as a result. The slam of a car door frightened him. A close call, and he was injured but is recovering. Surely the inauguration is one of the most controlled events in history (and experts were standing by, which is probably why Mouse is still alive). These reports are not surprising. Every week, we read news accounts of highly trained, "bombproof" horses spooking. And this is why horses don't belong in New York City. Having horse-drawn carriages in the city is not safe. It is inhumane.
Update: By most news accounts, Mouse spooked and backed, kicking, into the grill of a truck, after spooking at the sound of car door slamming. A new report says that Mouse has a pet peeve: horse-drawn carriages, and that one had stopped beside him. The idea is distasteful enough to sentient beings. This parade veteran should stay away from New York City. He would be beside himself.
Photo: Kevin Wolf, Associated Press

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Horse in heavy traffic

Why is this driver using his horse as a battering ram? Bad enough that this horse must work in traffic near the Manhattan entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, and even worse that the poor horses are subjected to this commute daily. Four miles, round trip. Did you know that the horses live so far from the park?

Video used courtesy of YouTube user "DriversRunninScared"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bless his fuzzy li'l heart

From County Antrim to Hell's Kitchen
Word on the street has it that Liam Neeson is moving again, this time to Hell's Kitchen! So smitten was the actor with a carriage horse stable he visited on Manhattan's west side that he said: "I would move in tomorrow!" Granted, it's a fixer-upper, but he has knack for the real estate bargains. (The smaller pic shows his 6,000-foot estate).

Plus, he's got the skills to pay the bills. After a few trips to Home Depot and Lowe's, he'll have the stables looking like home and smelling minty fresh.
His appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" was purely embarrassing. Seems like the ignominious result of a Xanax, a couple of beers, and flack's badly written script. Yikes.
New York City's carriage horses get no daily turnout and live in multistory stables in Hell's Kitchen. No life for a horse.
From the Blogosphere: Joshing Politics; the Central Park Blogger

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A blight on a beautiful city

In the week since Elizabeth Forel's opinion piece (Let carriage horses run free) was published in the New York Daily News, the letters have been pouring in to the newspaper. She raised some fundamental questions, namely, "Aren't we a better, more compassionate people than to continue to allow these horses to be exploited for profit?" Carol D. from Ohio wrote in to say: "Please ban carriage rides. I will not visit New York City again until you stop this inhumane practice." From Ossining, New York, a reader commented: "I get depressed and angry every time I walk by the horses near Central Park." Compassionate people from near and far see that this is wrong. Why do the decision-makers in New York City turn a blind eye to the inhumane treatment of the horses? Why do lawmakers condone such a mismanaged, out-of-control industry?
The ASPCA and Humane Society have deemed New York City's carriage industry to be inhumane. The mayor thinks he knows better? We know he's arrogant, but that is ridiculous.
Tourists by the busloads are deposited at Central Park, where they're likely to be hustled into taking a ride--at any price. Sadly, most of these tourists think the horses live in Central Park.
Photo credit: Donny Moss

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cart horses' plight draws 350

Hundreds in Israel heed call, turn out to help horses
As we saw in so many cities around the world last month on the international day of action against horse-drawn carriages, activists were out in full force. In Tel Aviv, approximately 350 people crowded into a popular venue on December 7 to show support for Hakol CHAI's (Concern for Helping Animals in Israel) campaign to ban the practice of pulling heavy loads through busy city traffic. These horses endure daily horrors, as documented in photos that show the skeletal animals literally being worked to death. Educational outreach at this event was a big success, with people wanting to learn what they can do to help put an end to this misery. Israeli singers Asaf Amdurski, Ram Orion, and Billy Levi performed at the event, which was part of the global coalition Horses Without Carriages International. Read more on the CHAI website.
About Horses Without Carriages International

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fares are negotiable?

"Just be sure to negotiate your price with the driver before you head off," Been There blogger Sissi explains in a post about her recent trip to New York City, where she took a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Apparently this visitor from the UK found out the hard way that the approved fares--which are regulated by New York City--are widely disregarded by the drivers. Yet another way in which the industry is out of control. The length of a ride is negotiable, but fares are set.
The fare you'll be quoted is a mystery. It almost certainly won't match up with what's legal. See for yourself in the video "Tourists Overcharged in NYC" from YouTube user "HorsesinNYC."
The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs advises individuals to report potential fraud issues to the New York State Attorney General's Office Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau at (212-416-8345).
Photo: Donny Moss. December 19, 2008, a day on which many horses working in a snow storm, against regulations.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Few blankets, few breaks

Some objectivity is needed here. Please add your comments. The horses were out on December 19 IN VIOLATION OF THE LAW, on icy streets. The peaceful demonstration was meant to show that the industry is operating with virtually no meaningful oversight. Trotting the horses on icy roads endangers not only the horses' lives, but human lives as well. This brings to mind the gruesome spooking accident that claimed Spotty's life on January 2, 2006. Three people were hospitalized, one critically injured.
Sadly, the ASPCA's apathy is misinterpreted by the public as endorsement of the industry. The huge organization does, however, remind the public to report violations of the laws.

"ASPCA Reminds Public of Laws Designed to Protect Carriage Horses"