Breathing space

Below is the letter I wrote & emailed to the NYC Council members, before it was announces this morning they would not bw voting on the carriage horse ban bill in disguise. I have a lot more to say on this topic, but the industry has found a bit of breathing space in the Council’s refusal, for whatever reasons, to bring the awful, stinky bill to a vote, despite their ‘progressive’ mayors leaning. So, a battle won, but not the war, not until the carriage horses and their industry are fully protected against the onslaught they’ve faced these past few years. 

New York City Council Member

Re: Bill Intro 573-B, NYC Carriage Trade

To Whom It May Concern:

This passionate letter is in regards to Bill 573-B, which is set to be voted on this upcoming Friday. I know your offices must be buried under contacts about this issue, and many other besides. Tough luck, it’s what you signed up for! On this issue I have a stake, so I hope whichever intern is reading this is inspired to learn something, or do your own digging on this wide reaching issue, which is about so much more than “horses suffer in our city.”

I write to you wearing a collection of hats; mother, tourist, employee, American taxpaying citizen, former horse owner and carriage driver, and someone who has a solid background in sustainability, horse behavior, care, training and rescue. My words have merit on the issue of working horses in cities, beyond those of a bystander.

So with all my experience, knowledge and qualifications lend weight to the following statement: I completely support the New York City Carriage Horse industry, as it stands now, governed and regulated by multiple government agencies, a law-abiding, tax paying, safe and historic industry.

Destroying such a thriving business, either through the passage of this possibly illegal, highly suspicious bill, or any other attempt by Mayor DeBlasio to either cut back or completely ban the carriages should never have been or continue to be considered. That this ‘deal’ has gotten as far as it has brings shame and mistrust upon the entire city government, that any elected official could consider arbitrarily removing the rights of a perfectly legal establishment. Please disregard the pleas and money pouring in from animal rights activists, who claim that work for animals leads to suffering; most of them have zero experience with working animals, and every veterinarian, horse trainer, or other horse expert who have examined the NYC carriage horses over the past decades have pronounced them, again and again, among the luckiest, healthiest, best cared for animals in the world.

I could continue to cite such proofs and facts regarding the safety and care record for this industry, but all of this is publicly available. A simple Google search, phone call to one of the overseeing agencies, or visit to any of the current horses stables would be far more effective than any words written on this topic.

To sum up: Everyone who is in any way qualified to speak for either the drivers or the horses behalf would rather have them as they are now, a thriving, safe, profitable and independent business. For my part, I think more horses in a modern city can only lead to good; healthier, happier people, horses earning money for their excellent care (instead of an uncertain future or ride to Mexico on a slaughter truck), in the public eye and guarded by modern regulations is the safest place for horses to be. The horses bring joy, a connection to the natural world, a connection to a way of life most modern people have forgotten. They should be pulling carriages, delivering farm fresh food and flowers, hauling away recycling, giving rides and plowing snow, not being banished from the public eye. With modern welfare regulations in place, may there always be room in one of the world’s greatest cities for equines, who have been our partners for millennia.

My former team of been there, done that, worth their weight in gold hard working Belgian draft horses, Bobby & Tucker! 

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After years of borrowing horses, working to ride and catch riding, I finally have my own horse, a spicy chocolate mare...but also a demanding day job (who doesn't?), a nerdy husband, a soccer loving kid who needs to be parented (by me, duh), and the ultimate trail buddy, a chocolate Labradork!

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