September 6th, 2011 · 7 Comments
Over the years, I have witnessed NYC’s carriage drivers working their horses in extreme weather conditions – from heat waves to thunderstorms to blizzards – even though the law states that carriage drivers “shall not allow a horse to be worked in snow, ice, heavy rain or other slippery conditions.” Recently, I saw the drivers working during the city shutdown in the rainy hours leading up to the arrival Hurricane Irene. (see story below)
NYC carriage horse working during snowstorm
During inclement weather, dozens of New Yorkers, if not more, call the ASPCA and ask them to take the horses out of harm’s way. We’ve learned from experience that, without these calls, the ASPCA will typically allow the carriage drivers to continue working. Is the ASPCA bending over backwards to accommodate the carriage drivers, or is it gross incompetence?
Given the ASPCA’s willingness to allow the carriage drivers to work in adverse conditions and their unwillingness to use their considerable power and influence to take these horses off the streets of NYC, I can’t help but wonder whose side the ASPCA is really on. Seeing an ASPCA humane law enforcement officer “high five” a carriage driver during a blizzard only reinforced this concern — as did Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that the “ASPCA has convinced me that these animals are treated humanely.”
After years of defending their decisions to allow the carriage drivers to work in adverse weather conditions, the ASPCA has finally admitted to a lapse in judgment around Hurricane Irene: “In retrospect we feel we should have imposed the suspension earlier on Saturday to better ensure the safety of the horses.” (see full statement below) However, the ASPCA is simultaneously shifting the blame to the city: “The city has abandoned its responsibility to monitor the carriage horse industry, and so the ASPCA has stepped in to do our best to protect these beautiful animals.” This comment is utterly disingenuous. The ASPCA has not “stepped in.” On the contrary, they have fought tooth and nail to protect their role as enforcers of humane law.
But why does the ASPCA fight to preserve their humane law enforcement power when they readily acknowledge that they can’t do the job? If the ASPCA put the same amount of energy into banning horse-drawn carriages in NYC as they have into preserving their enforcement powers, then the horses would have probably been taken off the streets many years ago. [Read more →]
Tags: ASPCA, horse-drawn carriage
On Saturday, August 27th, 2011, sections of NYC were evacuated for the first time in history, and the largest public transportation system in the country was shut down due to Hurricane Irene. With conditions deteriorating, Mayor Bloomberg instructed New Yorkers to stay home for our own safety and so that emergency vehicles could easily navigate the streets. Downpours occurred throughout the day.
In spite of all of the above and the law which states that carriage operators cannot work during “ice, heavy rain or other slippery conditions,” dozens of horse-drawn carriage operators were working until at least 4:45 p.m., many hours after the City was virtually shut down. They then had to make the long, difficult trip through the wet streets of midtown back to the “stables.”
As usual, the ASPCA, which collects an untold amount of money from donors in the name of helping the carriage horses, allowed the carriage drivers to leave the stables in the morning and to work all day in the wet streets in spite of the law and in spite of pleas from animal advocates.
The horse-drawn carriage industry is enabled by the ASPCA, which claims to support a ban, and empowered by NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has blocked all efforts to take these horses out of midtown, killing bills in committee before they see the light of day. [Read more →]
Tags: ASPCA, Christine Quinn, horse-drawn carriage
Tags: Blinders, Donny Moss
February 1st, 2011 · 4 Comments
Carriage horses working during "weather emergency"
February 1, 2011
Pamela Corey DVM
Director of Equine Veterinary Services
424 East 92nd Street
New York, NY 10128
Dear Dr. Corey:
In response to your message below, perhaps the following reasons explain why people around the country complain to the ASPCA about your handling of the carriage horses:
- The ASPCA is silent when your voice is needed the most. At the Mayor’s public hearing on the carriage operator rate hike bill, Bloomberg stated, “The ASPCA has convinced me that the horses are treated humanely.” Why weren’t you at that critical hearing in front of the cameras to correct him and to testify in support of a ban? He could have vetoed the bill. (see video below).
- The ASPCA didn’t show up to NYC Council Member T0ny Avella’s press conference announcing the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages. Why? Because you were absent in the press at that critical moment, NYers were left with the misimpression that it was just a bunch of animal rights extremists who support of a ban.
- The ASPCA pulled out all the stops to preserve your industry oversight when a bill was being considered to take it away from you. Why don’t you put that energy into fighting for a ban?
- The ASPCA wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars of your donors’ contributions on a lobbying firm that you ultimately fired instead of just using your board of directors, influence in the City, celebrity spokespeople and PR machine to publicly demand a ban.
- The ASPCA has fostered an environment where carriage operators are comfortable defying your authority and the law. What, if anything, are the consequences for them?
- The ASPCA allows the industry to state to the press that the ASPCA has never issued a cruelty summons. Could that possibly be true?
- The ASPCA continues to give the public the impression that you’re monitoring the industry and protecting the horses when, in fact, your presence is sporadic at best and your absence is palpable on weekends, when the horses are working the most.
- The ASPCA has publicly thanked Christine Quinn for pushing two marginal bills through the City Council at the expense of the carriage ban and other meaningful bills. [Read more →]
Tags: Blinders, Donny Moss, horse-drawn carriage