Monday, July 23, 2007

The Need for New Leadership at the ASPCA

What is preventing the ASPCA from calling for a ban? The Toronto Humane Society did in Toronto and was successful. In fact, they are advocating for the NYC horses much more aggressively than our own ASPCA! es/2006/09-14a.asp d=19

I question the effectiveness of the ASPCA if it has been working to get legislation passed for more than 20 years, and hasn’t been successful. They blame it on 1) The city council–a body that has turned over in the last 20 years, which means that they could have been BUILDING political will among new council members and mayors over this long period AND 2) “Industry interests.” Why can’t this multi-million dollar organization match the political savvy of the carriage horse industry….or the Toronto Humane Society?

Maybe it’s time for new leadership at the ASPCA.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

ASPCA - What would Henry Bergh think?

The NYC carriage horses and the people of NYC who care about them deserve so much better than what we have been getting.

The ASPCA is feeling the heat of everyone who wants the carriage horse industry to be banned. They recently issued a typically disingenuous statement on their web site, which was really a tweaking of one that was already there. “Official Statement and FAQS n NYC Carriage Horses" – dated 7/17/07. This was a press release but only one equine newsletter picked it up.

They begin by saying that the “ASPCA is not opposed to the use of horses and other equines in pulling carts and carriages for hire, provided that all of the animal’s physiological and behavioral needs are fully met; housing and stable conditions are humane; and their working hours and conditions are carefully regulated as to temperature, humidity, proximity to traffic, rest periods, etc. Working equines should receive regular veterinary and farrier care and be provided a humane retirement when no longer able to work. “ They are fully aware that none of these conditions are being met and will not be with Council Member Tony Avella's bill, which they are supporting.

This bill, introduced in early 2006, would “restrict the horses to Central Park.” It is a dreadful bill and the ASPCA’s statements are deceitful. The Avella bill would restrict the horses to the “area inside or immediately adjacent to Central Park” – which is exactly where they operate now. So this means the horses can still operate on Central Park South and Central Park West; in the park; and going to and from the stables. Most of the accidents have occurred in these areas – the July 4th accident was on CPS. The only way this bill is different from the existing law is that the horses will not be able to go to Times Square or Lincoln Center.

The bill does not address anything else –physiological and behavioral; humane stable conditions; working conditions carefully regulated as to temperature, humidity, proximity to traffic, rest periods and a humane retirement – All the things the ASPCA mentions in the first paragraph of their “Official Statement”

The ASPCA also makes the charge that they have not been successful in passing legislation – despite their best efforts – because the “GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS , INCLUDING THE CITY COUNCIL” have supported the industry.

A few things here – This statement is absurd -- the ASPCA is a multi million dollar organization because of PUBLIC DONATIONS – and yet they cannot build public and political will to do the right thing for these horses? They have neither the will nor the inclination to do so. And if they are charging that the City Council is supporting the carriage industry – let them name names? Which Council Members? We want to know. After all, we elect them.

The ASPCA likes to refer to itself as America's first humane society -- and they have assumed the position of the animal protection organization of record in NYC. The entire statement sounds like a pathetic cop out to me.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I was at the hack line today for several hours. It was very hot and the horses do not do well in hot weather. I had a thermometer with me that read close to 100 in the sun. The ASPCA air conditioned van passed driving west on Central Park South at 2:30. It did not stop. Not even to take the temperature. So much for monitoring the horses. The horses do not have ready access to water and some appeared thirsty. As they pass the filthy water trough in the park north of the 6th Avenue intersection, some of the carriages stop to water their horses; others do not.

The weather projected for tomorrow and Monday is in the 90s. Horses are supposed to be sent back to their stables when it reaches 90 degrees. Humidity is not a factor. Will the ASPCA agent(s) be there to monitor the temperature? Will they send the horses in? Only they know for sure. Their number is 212-876-7700 - x 4450.

Friday, July 6, 2007


On July 4, 2007 a carriage horse named Bud spooked on Central Park South and ran into traffic crashing into a cab. His back legs were injured and bloody. The cabby went to the hospital and a motorcyclist was hit by the carriage.

This is the second time in one month that a spooked horse was involved in an accident. On June 2, a horse was hit by an SUV in midtown.

When is our Mayor and City Council going to take this issue seriously - when a human dies?

Other major cities like Paris, London, Toronto and Beijing have banned the carriage horse trade from operating in their cities. And many American cities have followed suit. They all recognized that it is dangerous to both horses and humans alike and inhumane.

Carriage horses do not belong in the traffic congestion of NYC. If you feel the same way, contact your council member and the mayor.