blinders - the truth behind the tradition

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Mayor de Blasio’s Vow to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages from NYC

October 30th, 2013 · No Comments

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BLINDERS is available on Amazon

July 31st, 2013 · No Comments

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BLINDERS, the documentary film about the plight of the NYC carriage horses and the movement to ban them, is now available for rent or purchase on Amazon.

The recipient of a Genesis Award for best TV documentary, BLINDERS aired on the Documentary Channel and won best documentary at the International Wildlife Film Festival. At the NYC premiere, Alec Baldwin had this to say about BLINDERS and horse-drawn carriages in NYC.

Due to the persistence of activists in New York and other cities with horse-drawn carriages, the plight of urban carriage horses has received widespread media attention around the world. In NYC, it has become a flashpoint in the 2013 race for Mayor, as reported in the cover story in the NY Times.

If you live in an urban area with horse-drawn carriages or oppose the use of animals in entertainment, you can help spread the word by doing the following:
1. Watch BLINDERS and educate your friends
2. Encourage your friends to watch BLINDERS
3. Use the information to assist in your local advocacy efforts

 

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ASPCA admits lapse in judgment

September 6th, 2011 · 8 Comments

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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 →]

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Carriage Horses Worked during NYC Shutdown

August 28th, 2011 · 9 Comments

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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 →]

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