Liam Neeson defends NYC Carriage Horse industry

Kelly Kip
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:57 pm

BaroqueAgain1
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:52 pm

Don't have the time to watch a video...but do any of the people who want the carriages gone have the perfect way to handle all the horses who will be out of a job if this happens?
I believe most strongly that horses must be given the best and most humane care, but I'm not opposed to a horse working for a living. Since these horses are working in the middle of New York City, they are under the scrutiny of a huge population...it would be like a thousand animal welfare workers watching the horses every day. And I doubt that a New Yorker would be shy about stepping in and raising a ruckus if they thought for a minute that one of the horses was being abused.
Last edited by BaroqueAgain1 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
a Flying Brick
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:09 pm

good comment, Baroque. Never thought of that aspect. Maybe the owners/drivers or whoever could agree to do more for the horses in order to reassure the horses will be well cared for.
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Ballerina
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:51 pm

Don't necessarily want the gone - just keep them in Central Park.
Catalina
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:56 pm

Ballerina wrote:Don't necessarily want the gone - just keep them in Central Park.
That sounds like a workable idea.
Kelly Kip
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Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:02 pm

a Flying Brick wrote:good comment, Baroque. Never thought of that aspect. Maybe the owners/drivers or whoever could agree to do more for the horses in order to reassure the horses will be well cared for.
They already ARE well cared for. The Mayor won't even meet with the Carriage Association to work anything out.
gravano
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Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:06 pm

Yeah, I'm with Kip on this one. I don't like how the mayor is handling this at all.
It's a complicated issue and because the carriage industry represents such a small percentage of the voting public, he's not gonna take the time to listen to them.
Kelly Kip
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:52 am

gravano wrote:Yeah, I'm with Kip on this one. I don't like how the mayor is handling this at all.
It's a complicated issue and because the carriage industry represents such a small percentage of the voting public, he's not gonna take the time to listen to them.
It's not complicated at all. The carriage industry has been well regulated for years. deBlaiso want them gone to repay big campaign donors, who want the land where the stables are for development.
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Ballerina
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:22 am

Kelly Kip wrote: It's not complicated at all. The carriage industry has been well regulated for years. deBlaiso want them gone to repay big campaign donors, who want the land where the stables are for development.
Interesting! But I never once thought his motivation was for the welfare of these horses. They are treated well. I just think they belong in Central Park away from engine traffic. They are at far less risk in the park.
Sheepish
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:54 am

I've been on the carriage drivers side of this for a long time. Just about every anti argument is a flat out lie that any small amount of unbiased research can disprove.
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Kelly Kip
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:05 pm

Ballerina wrote:
Kelly Kip wrote: It's not complicated at all. The carriage industry has been well regulated for years. deBlaiso want them gone to repay big campaign donors, who want the land where the stables are for development.
Interesting! But I never once thought his motivation was for the welfare of these horses. They are treated well. I just think they belong in Central Park away from engine traffic. They are at far less risk in the park.
I agree somewhat that the horses would be better off environmentally in the park, but how would that move cut the driver's business? The Mayor is not looking for a compromise, just the opposite. He wants to ban them totally. The "welfare" argument is just a front.
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Ballerina
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:24 pm

Kelly Kip wrote:
Ballerina wrote:
Kelly Kip wrote: It's not complicated at all. The carriage industry has been well regulated for years. deBlaiso want them gone to repay big campaign donors, who want the land where the stables are for development.
Interesting! But I never once thought his motivation was for the welfare of these horses. They are treated well. I just think they belong in Central Park away from engine traffic. They are at far less risk in the park.
I agree somewhat that the horses would be better off environmentally in the park, but how would that move cut the driver's business? The Mayor is not looking for a compromise, just the opposite. He wants to ban them totally. The "welfare" argument is just a front.
It's a really big park. That's where the carriage rides use to be - not sure when or why they chose to take things to the street unless the passengers started using it as transport to another location. If that is the reason, it could very well affect business. Bill and I took a carriage ride and we specifically asked the driver to take us through Central Park. It's way prettier, a lot cooler on a hot summer day, and we weren't distracted by the engine hub pub and exhaust fumes around us. Most of the drivers line up along side the Plaza Hotel which is right across the street from the park. Drivers do take care of their horses, but they are at risk on the crowded streets of New York.
gravano
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Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:52 pm

Kelly Kip wrote:
gravano wrote:Yeah, I'm with Kip on this one. I don't like how the mayor is handling this at all.
It's a complicated issue and because the carriage industry represents such a small percentage of the voting public, he's not gonna take the time to listen to them.
It's not complicated at all. The carriage industry has been well regulated for years. deBlaiso want them gone to repay big campaign donors, who want the land where the stables are for development.
It's very complicated unfortunately. The general public perception is that this is a cruel practice. Using animals in traffic- and exhaust-choked downtown Manhattan to pull tourists. This is why the mayor thinks it's OK to do what he's doing. He thinks he has the moral high ground. Liam Neeson has a different perception, and it's an Irish one. He knows you can't just have horses for pets; you have to give them jobs. But most Americans simply have no interaction whatsoever with animals other than as pets or the Big Mac they paid 99 cents for.

Racing has to make a similar argument, and it could happen sooner rather than later. If casinos and politicians turn their back on horse racing, the way some did with Greyhounds (claiming the practice exploits animals) then racing will have to convince the public that what they do is in the best interest of the horse.
gravano
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Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:59 pm

“He should have manned up and come,” Mr. Neeson said (about de Blasio).

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/nyreg ... f=nyregion
horsefan
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Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:23 pm

De Blasio is a clown and already a terrible mayor - apart from this issue. How about the police horses? They are city horses and move around in traffic. Are they next? Please....
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Ballerina
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Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:33 am

horsefan wrote:De Blasio is a clown and already a terrible mayor - apart from this issue. How about the police horses? They are city horses and move around in traffic. Are they next? Please....
They are used for crowd control, parks patrol, ceremonies, and parades.
horsefan
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Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:56 pm

Ballerina wrote:
horsefan wrote:De Blasio is a clown and already a terrible mayor - apart from this issue. How about the police horses? They are city horses and move around in traffic. Are they next? Please....
They are used for crowd control, parks patrol, ceremonies, and parades.
You are correct, Ballerina. I have a place in Manhattan and understand the function of the police horses but thanks for letting folks who aren't familiar with NYC know.

My point simply was that there are other working horses in NYC and leave it to De Blasio to find a reason to get them out of the city as well.
Kelly Kip
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Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:09 am

Very nice blog post by Jon Katz, author.

Carriage Horses: Ride In The Park. Truth, Arrogance, And The Horses.

I met Stephen Malone at the Clinton Park Stables on Wednesday, we rode together in his carriage pulled by his horse Tyson, I told him I liked his office very much, and he smiled, turning to me, the sun glinting off his polished top hat. I felt for the people jammed in all of those towers looking down on us.

Lots of the drivers had top hats, but nobody looked as spit-spot as Malone, he is old school, he cares about style and appearnce. A big, genial Irishman, it would be easy to underestimate Malone, but that would be a mistake. He is open while still being cautious, he is honest without being foolhardy, his easy-going manner belies a man whose feet are firmly on the ground and who possesses a shrewd sense of power and politics. He always knew what to say, and never said the wrong thing.

Just as the carriage horse controversy is about much more than horses, Malone is much more than a driver, he has become the figurehead and spokesperson for the carriage trade as they battle the mighty armies gathering around them – the mayor, the City Council President, the A.S.P.C.A., the Humane Society of the United States, a millionaire animal rights ideologue with millions of dollars to give to politicians and an angry and obsessive army of followers, a slew of celebrities saying very strange things about the horses, and some billionaire real estate developers hovering like vampires over the stables: once on the edge of Hell's Kitchen, now in the middle of the hottest real estate market in New York City.

Malone has some allies also. The powerful Teamsters Union – the union began representing horse carriage drivers - Liam Neeson, a vast army of horse and animal lovers all over the country who are appalled at the campaign against the carriage horses and, according to the latest survey, three out of every four New Yorkers. He also, he says, has a lot of supportive City Council members, he won't say how many.

Still, those are pretty powerful odds for a bunch of working-class immigrants who like to ride horses around Central Park – I have not encountered any millionaires around the stables – but if Malone is frightened or discouraged, he has learned how to hide it. The drivers come from everywhere, but there is an Irish streak in the carriage trade. I have many Irish friends, and have written about many Irish politicians and writers in my career, and there is one thing that every single one of them has in common – they are happy to fight, used to fighting, and the bigger the odds, the happier and more joyous the fight. The Irish have been fighting powerful armies and enemies forever, it is almost routine for them, even if it is never pleasant.

I love my rides in the horse carriages, I am embarrassed that I always saw them as something tourists from Iowa and Japan did, not urban sophisticates like me. My carriage rides have opened my eyes to the city in a new and sometimes magical way. The clip-clop of the hooves on the road seems to invoke some ancient and timeless feeling, and from the park, I have the time and perspective to see the skyscrapers in a way I have never seen them before, they rise up above the trees and meadows like mystical cliffs, the majesty and power and history and promise of the city is revealed. I see the gargoyles and cornices and water towers, the hawks diving after pigeons, the gold leaf gleaming in the sun.

I noticed that Tyson, like the other horses I have seen in the park, doesn't need to be told where to go. Malone, like the other drivers, holds the reins but as we moved up the West Side from the stables, Tyson seemed to sense the traffic, he stopped when the lights were red, started moving when they were green.

We walked past all kinds of noise and mayhem – grinding garbage trucks, screeching taxis, horn-honking angry commuters, utility crews with jackhammers, pile-driving cranes on construction sites, steam pouring out of excavation holes and manhole covers. Two fire engines with ear-shattering air horns roared past us on either side, Tyson didn't flinch, even when I did. The horse seemed a lot calmer than many of the people around him. Most of the commuters ignored the horses, a lot of people waved at Stephen Malone, gave him the thumbs up, yelled at him to "hang in there." I saw one or two people glower at us. I am always astonished that driving a horse drawn carriage is the most controversial job in New York City right now.

The only time Tyson snorted was when we past a cement mixer grinding away three feet from him, I am told that every equine in the world hates a cement mixer. Malone said something quietly to him and Tyson shook his head and moved on.

It's odd but every time I ride in Central Park, I see a part of New York that I didn't quite grasp and love even more – the people walking and running, the grand hotels, the towering West Side apartment houses, the gorgeous East Side museums, the famous shops, the contrails and clouds in the sky, the statues and paths and fountains of the park. The park is a magnificent testament to the civic pride and promise of a great city, I walked in it a thousand times, until my carriage ride I never saw it at all. There is something quite wonderful about these calm and gentle animals, if the city leaders were awake, they might think of bringing the horses elsewhere in the city, there is no better or more meaningful way to see it – the pace, the simplicity, the open view. People feel good around them, they smile and wave to them, pull out their cameras and cellphones, that is quite visible.

It was a beautiful thing to see when we broke into the open and trotted into the park, the quiet and peacefulness there was almost magical in contrast with the din of the city. I always thought riding in a horse drawn carriage was something of a cliche, this way of looking at the city, but then I realized something I have noticed before, cliches are cliches because they are often so true. In the midst of the great cacophony, a great swatch of nature, a man in a top hat, a carriage, a big and beautiful horse, a world almost shockingly in balance.

"Do you think you will prevail?," I asked Malone.

"Yes, I do," said Malone, "I am certain of it."

"Why?," I asked him.

I could see that he had been waiting for the question.

First, he said, because we are telling the truth. Secondly, he said, because the people against us are so arrogant and the people of New York are on our side. And finally, he said, because of the horses. They belong here, they always have and they always will.



http://www.bedlamfarm.com/2014/04/05/ca ... he-horses/
PJMIII
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Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:33 am

Great post KK. Thanks for sharing it.
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Ballerina
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Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:09 am

Article focuses on getting to Central Park which is where these carriage horses belong.
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