Liam Neeson defends NYC Carriage Horse industry

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Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:44 am

Central Park and horse-drawn carriages go together just fine, and are a wonderful thing to preserve.
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Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:49 pm

The latest news has de Blasio backing off on seeking the ban until the end of the year, at least. ... -1.1754825
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Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:33 pm ... -park.html

Liam Neeson takes his case to the Times. You're screwed de Blasio!

Blue Jeans
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Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:25 pm

The recent runaway carriage horse in downtown Savannah didn't help matters any! I'm just south of Savannah, so this video is not new to me, but it might be to others. ... n-savannah ... n-accident

Earlier this spring, Paula Deen suddenly closed her brother's Bubba's Oyster House restaurant on Whitemarsh Island ... and now a runaway carriage horse to frighten the visitors away from downtown Savannah ... spells trouble for the local Chamber of Commerce.

Oh, and to top it off! The Budweiser Clydesdales didn't show up for this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade, which happens to be the main reason most folks attend that gala event. :(
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction. ~ Cowboy saying

There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing. ~ Will Rogers
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Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:20 pm

Whoa there: NYC carriage horse ban is stalled ... 24214.html

"The next blow came when a series of city unions — who usually are de Blasio's staunchest allies — broke with the mayor, urging him to reconsider his decision in order to save not only the industry's hundreds of jobs but a profitable source of tourism."

"New York's Daily News launched a front-page campaign called "Save our Horses" that filled its pages with pro-carriage stories and an online petition that has recorded more than 11,000 signatures."

Glad to see the push-back!
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Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:03 pm

Interesting photo series from Yahoo on the Central Park carriage horses. ... slideshow/
Blue Jeans
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Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:41 am

Yikes! It happened again on Tuesday of this week in downtown Charleston! :( ... o-accident

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A day after what police described as a spooked horse ran free down Market Street and crashed into a building, a carriage company's operations manager explained what led to the incident.

According to Benjamin Doyle, the operations manager at Palmetto Carriage Company, the horse was drinking water from a large trash can before going out on tour. The trash can is used by Charleston Carriage Works to hold water and is kept at the loading area where passengers get on and off the carriages.

"The horse bent his head down and hooked his bridle in the trash can, pulled the bridle up over his head just enough to release the bit and drop the blinders," Doyle said.

Doyle says the horse equates losing the blinders and bit with freedom because that's how they end their day.

It was made worse, he said, because the carriage comes into view and the horse is not used to seeing what is behind him.

"They're agitated because the equipment is shifted and it's a very quick panic," he said.

Doyle said the driver of the carriage did a great job Tuesday trying to keep the passengers safe, but added she was pretty helpless without the bit in the horse's mouth to control it.

There was a little bit of damage to the market building, but the city market's assistant director Lee Gilliard said they are working with the businesses in the market and insurance to make sure everything is fixed.

"We estimate right now it's probably no more than $!,000 or so. We'll go through the proper steps getting the estimates," Gilliard said.

Gilliard said the accident happened as vendors were closing up for the day, adding that everyone with the city is glad that no one was walking outside the building at the time of the incident.

There were three people on the carriage at the time of the accident, police said. They and one other person standing in the market had a few cuts and bruises, but there were no serious injuries.

Shortly after the accident, a Facebook page named "Stop Charleston Carriage Rides" was formed. It's headed by Sarah Swingle.

"Our main concern is the safety of the public and the horses because carriage accidents like the one that happened [Tuesday] do happen, no matter how careful the drivers are because those horses are easily spooked, and that's not something that can be trained out of them," she said.

Swingle says she would like to see the carriage rides end immediately. She hopes the Facebook page will start the talks on banning horse-drawn carriages, much like the ban being discussed in New York City.

Others, like taxi driver Reynolds Pommering, says he errs on the side of caution and always yields to the horses.

"Don't do anything sudden. If that horse seems like he wants to turn right or left to go in front of you, just hit the brakes, stop, and let them go," he said.

Officials at Charleston Carriage Works released a statement saying they would examine their practices to see waht they could do differently to ensure safety. The owner said the horse involved in the accident was not injured.<
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction. ~ Cowboy saying

There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing. ~ Will Rogers
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Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:46 am

Blue Jeans
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Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:55 am

gravano wrote:The cover of the New Yorker ... ide_ss_0=1
They're better off sticking to 'dog cartoons', huh? :lol:

From wiki:
>The most reprinted [cartoon] is Peter Steiner's 1993 drawing of two dogs at a computer, with one saying, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog". According to Mankoff, Steiner and the magazine have split more than $100,000 in fees paid for the licensing and reprinting of this single cartoon, with more than half going to Steiner.<

Oh, and as if we didn't know, even if it took them almost 80 years .... :roll:

From wiki:
>In its November 1, 2004 issue, the magazine for the first time [magazine debuted Feb. 1925] endorsed a president candidate, choosing to endorse John Kerry over George W. Bush. This was continued in 2008 when the magazine endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain, and in 2012 when it endorsed Obama over Mitt Romney.<
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction. ~ Cowboy saying

There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing. ~ Will Rogers
Kelly Kip
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Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:02 pm

Story about an incident on Thursday, which the media totally got wrong. ... is-abused/
Kelly Kip
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Sat May 24, 2014 3:29 pm

New blog post by Jon Katz:

Carriage Horse Awakening: Do People With Animals Have Rights? ... ve-rights/
Kelly Kip
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Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:50 am

Latest Jon Katz blog post:

The Carriage Horses. Behold: Jesus And The Pharisees In New York City

Jesus Was A Carriage Driver

When Jesus lay suffering on the cross in Jerusalem, his father could not bear to witness his son's pain. He heard Jesus beg him not to forsake him, and he responded. God left a body on the Cross but transported his son far ahead in time and space, to New York City in 2014 A.D.. There, he told his only son, "you will be safe from harm." He sent Jesus's beloved little donkey along with him, he told him that any man with a donkey or a horse will have good work to do, earn an honest and secure living.

A working animal, his father said again and again, was worth more than gold.

God decreed that this journey always be a secret, even from the prophets writing the Bible.

Jesus was bewildered at first by the chaotic life he found in New York City, he could not believe the rents or the price of bread, but he was not as shocked as one might think. The streets of Jerusalem were filthier and much more dangerous and crowded than New York with horses, donkeys, carts, goats and sheep, wild dogs, raw sewage, farmers and peasants and Roman soldiers.

Jesus found himself Central Park with his beloved donkey, his father had told him to look for the horses, they would guide him. His father told him this was not like the Roman Empire, it was a free place with no Kings or Emperors, people were free to live as they choose as long as they abided by the laws. The drivers of the horses knew him as one of theirs,a free spirit, perhaps a troublemaker, a lover of animals. They took him in instantly, he felt at home with them.

According to the legend of the donkeys' cross, as recounted in "The Donkey Companion," by Sue Weaver, a poor farmer near Jerusalem had owned this donkey of Jesus, he was far too small to do much work. He told his family he was going to kill the little donkey – in those days, as in these, animals who did not work did not live long - but his children, who loved the donkey, begged him to sell it.

It was wrong, they told their father, to give away or harm a donkey just because he might not be able to work hard. They believed in the right of animals to survive. The farmer tied his donkey to a tree down the road and soon, two men approached and asked if they could have the donkey. It can carry nothing, the farmer warned them.

"Jesus of Nazareth has need of it," replied one of the men, and the farmer handed the donkey over. They took him to Jesus, who stroked the poor creature, then mounted it and rode away. Jesus rode the donkey every day for the rest of his life, into Jerusalem and all around it. On the day called Palm Sunday, Jesus led his followers into the city riding on the back of his small donkey, who he came to love and who served him faithfully and well and who had no trouble carrying Jesus and his worldly goods.

The donkey so loved his master he followed him to Calvary. Grief-stricken by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but would not leave. It was then that the shadow of the cross fell upon the shoulders and back of the donkey, and every donkey in the world carries the sign of the cross to this day.

Jesus was grateful to have his donkey in New York. An outsider, a free spirit, someone who loved nature and the outdoors, someone who loved giving pleasure to people, Jesus was drawn to the carriage trade, the long chosen work for the free spirits of New York, the sons and daughters of immigrants, the ones who could not live in tiny cubicles, who need to be with people and outdoors and who loved working with animals. Just like Jesus himself. And people loved the donkey. Children came over to touch him, young lovers wanted to ride in his cart, the people in the cubicles came out every day to touch the donkey and smile. Jesus put flowers all around his cart, a plume on his donkey's forehead, bells on his collar.

The donkey was too small to pull many people in a carriage, that was the work of the big horses, but he could pull a cart filled with vegetables, he could give rides to children. Jesus put a sign on his cart that read: "King Of The Donkeys" and he went to work in the park every day, just like the carriage drivers did.

He was different from the other vendors in the park. He gave his sweet fruit and candy to children, and to the poor. Each morning, he met the disabled in the fountains of the park, and he and his donkey worked to heal them. He gave the homeless his cloak on cold nights and he sometimes went to beautiful hotels and museums and chastised the the rich, scolding them for ignoring the poor and destroying the natural beauty of the world, his own father's creation.

Jesus was soon enough beloved by the ordinary people, the working people, the poor and the young. He continued his work begun in Jerusalem. He began to preach on behalf of the poor, provoked the rich for being selfish and heartless, challenged the greed of the real estate developers who were, he said just like the rich and lazy priests of the Old Temple. People called him a radical, a socialist, marked him as dangerous.

As loved as he was, Jesus was still Jesus, he was always an outsider brought into the world to give the poor reason for hope. His only friends were the carriage drivers, they were troublemakers too, for the most part. They did not care for the rich or powerful either.

Jesus was at peace. He knew his father was smiling down on him, gratified by his good heart and charity and good work in the park with his donkey.

When the demonstrators came, Jesus first thought they must be pilgrims seeking prayer. He went to greet them and offer them some fruit, but they spat on him and shouted at him and called him names like "murderer" and "abuser" and "cruel," they yelled at him to go home, to stop abusing his donkey, they shouted at the children and the poor to stay away from him, they broke into his stable at night and set his donkey free, but his loyal donkey would not run away.

He turned to his donkey and said, "look, the pharisees are here too." He well know the self-righteous, angry and hypocritical sects.

The police came, and told him his donkey could not work all day, could only carry a handful of apples, he could not give rides to children, it was cruel to the donkey. They said he must have a blanket and could not work in the rain or snow. They said he had to have five weeks of vacation a year, rest after every two hours of work, and Jesus was incredulous, he had never known a working animal to have more than a month off of work. In his world, it was the working animals who kept people alive.

But no one listened. The pharisees grew louder and angrier and more cruel. People drove by in cars and shouted false and hurtful names at him, they claimed they saw photos of his donkey working on something called Facebook, don't you know, they shouted, that is cruel for animals to work? His donkey, they said, should be in the wild, roaming free in nature. They said his ribs were showing, he must be starving. They said his head was down, he must be said. They said he brayed in the morning, he must be lonely.

Jesus could hardly believe what he was hearing. He wanted to the other cheek, but the people confused him, made him a little crazy, although he tried not to be angry. "Have any of you ever seen a donkey before?," he shouted before asking his father for forgiveness. The children begged him to start a blog, defend himself on Facebook, but he refused. Jesus kept his donkey in a horse stable, in a stall where he could be dry and warm and rest.

"Do you know what it is like out there in the wild?," he would the pharisees, but they would never listen or respond. "My little donkey would be eaten by wolves or starve to death in the desert!" A powerful political leader in New York named Stephen Weinstein-Gutierrez-Carrino- McDonough, who came from a tribe Jesus came to know as Brooklyn came to the park and shouted at him that his poor donkey was lonely, and need to socialize with other donkeys and have dinner with them every night. "Can't you see?," shouted the pharisees, "he is depressed, he is chained to your cart, it is his prison, his cell! He longs to be free in nature?" Where, Jesus wondered, has a donkey ever been kept, but tied to a cart, in a stall, in the history of the world?

"Have these people lost your minds?," wondered Jesus, whose father had sent him all kinds of books when he moved to New York City. "DId Sancho Panza's donkey Rucio have dinner with other donkeys and socialize with them?," he would shout."He rode all over Spain with his donkey, just as my donkey and I rode through Jerusalem and Platero rode all over Europe with Jose Jiminez and won a Noble Prize! And what about Shrek?" My donkey, he said, eats with me every night.

Every day the police came at the behest of the pharisees with new regulations, the number of protesters grew. People called reporters came to him, mocked him, asked him to defend his cruelty and abusive ways. They called him a thief, a cheat, a callous and unfeeling man, things Jesus had never been called in his life. They shouted at him to go home, never imagining where home really was. He could not imagine how working with a donkey could cause such trouble and hatred. It had never even happened in Jerusalem, where he was hated by many, where no one had ever complained about the donkey. There were thousands of them, they worked all day everywhere, everyone knew how much they loved to work, the donkeys and the horses were more precious than money.

Jesus grew want and fretful. He became anxious, angry, sometimes he was stoned, the park was filled with angry pamphlets accusing him of crimes. They claimed he beat, his donkey, starved him, overworked him. The children were suddenly afraid to see him, the poor fled from him, the office workers were warned to stay away or they would become associated by him. He asked to speak to the pharisees, to the leaders and prophets and high priests of the city, but no one would talk with him or meet with him.

One day the protesters came and they were joyous, emboldened. The rich pharisees, the owners of land, the wealthy leaders of the city had chosen a new Emperor, and he said the first thing he would do when he began to rule would be to ban Jesus and the donkeys and the horses from the city. They would be banned forever.

In particular, he had asked that the man who called himself "The King Of The Donkeys" be brought to him at a place called City Hall, where his fate would be decided. This was all too familiar to Jesus.

The carriage drivers came to warn him that he was soon to be banished from the city, or worse, that his beloved donkey would be taken from him and sent to a farm where he would never be allowed to work with people again, see children, do anything but eat and drop manure. And the little donkey would never see Jesus again, no more fruits or vegetables, no more working with children and the poor, he could not choose his work or live his chosen life.

Was it true?, Jesus asked the carriage drivers, that Jerusalem was a freer place than New York City in 2014?

Jesus pondered this news, he and the donkey went to the quietest part of the park, he meet with the children, the lovers, the tourists and the poor and he knelt down in prayer and cried out aloud, "O Father, why have thou forsaken me? Get me out of here."

And the trees shook and the sky turned dark and the birds were silent and the children and the poor and the people of the park heard a great booming voice asking "are you sure? Do you know the fate that awaits you?"

"Yes, father," said Jesus, " I do. I'll take my chances with the Romans, father. There is more than one way to be crucified." ... york-city/
Kelly Kip
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Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:30 pm

The Carriage Horses: Are We Worshipping Animals, Hating People?

A small but fit animal rights demonstrator recently hitched herself to a carriage and ran through Central Park to demonstrate the cruelty of horses pulling carriages. It was a puzzling thing to do, mostly because it convinced me and others that she didn't seem to grasp the difference between a 1,500 draft horse and herself a skinny human being. She did pretty well, though for all that, I imagined it would be much easier for a big horse.

The stunt also revealed something else that was perhaps unintended, and that is the increasingly controversial and poorly conceived ideology that preaches that animals are superior to human beings, and entitled to greater rights and protections. ... ng-people/
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Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:38 pm

I tend to lean toward strong rights for animals as part of my general philosophy that those who are defenseless...children, animals, women in some parts of our world...need a lot of defending.
However, I also believe that many animals thrive while working for their living. So long as there is no abuse, and the horses are fed, sheltered, loved and given vet care, those NY anti-carriage-horse activists need to find a better cause for all their attention.
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Wed Jun 25, 2014 6:54 pm

Kelly Kip wrote:The Carriage Horses: Are We Worshipping Animals, Hating People?

A small but fit animal rights demonstrator recently hitched herself to a carriage and ran through Central Park to demonstrate the cruelty of horses pulling carriages. It was a puzzling thing to do, mostly because it convinced me and others that she didn't seem to grasp the difference between a 1,500 draft horse and herself a skinny human being. She did pretty well, though for all that, I imagined it would be much easier for a big horse.

The stunt also revealed something else that was perhaps unintended, and that is the increasingly controversial and poorly conceived ideology that preaches that animals are superior to human beings, and entitled to greater rights and protections. ... ng-people/
Sounds like a Petard.
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"Sometimes I think he's the King of Stupid" - Old Man- Pawn Stars
Kelly Kip
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Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:19 pm

Katz's latest blog:

The Carriage Horses: What Is Government For?

When you get down to it, and past the arguments, the New York Carriage Horse story is one that draws us into the rarely explored realm of moral philosophy. We live with animals and talk about them all the time, we rarely think about them in a broader or moral way. The big new idea about animals in America is that they are piteous, abused and endangered creatures and need to separated from the people who live with them and own them.

In our culture, the historic relationship between humans and animals is being upended, redefined. Without much discussion or dialogue, It has become commonplace for government to value the rights of animals over people while, in the process, trampling on the rights of people and serving the animals poorly as well. Thus, the animals are disappearing, the people who would live with them under siege all over the country, their living property increasingly taken from them.

Is this argument over the horses the sad legacy of the carriage horses, or a call to awakening, a new social movement, the beginning of the wider and more mystical understanding of animals that author and philosopher Henry Beston called for a century ago? It's too soon to know, the movement against the horses is stalled, confused, perhaps as a result at it's ugliest.

John Locke, the radical mid-seventeenth century philosopher whose ideas led to the unraveling of the cruel monarchies that ruled the world, expressed the view that became the American Revolution and altered the world. He wrote that the primary function of government is to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty and property. We call it life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When government stopped protecting people in this way, he warned, it has lost it's moral authority and is not deserving of support. The most striking thing about the carriage horse controversy is that government seeks to serve animals by taking freedom, liberty and property away from people.

What makes the New York Carriage Horse story so important and compelling is that it touches so many deep chords in our cultural and political life. Do animals have more rights than people? Who has the right to speak for them? How have we become so disconnected from the natural world that the people who claim know what is best for the horses know the least about them? What are the rights of the people who own them? What is the future of animals in our world? Is the glorious history of animals working with people – one of the most enduring characteristics of human history - now ending because no one seems to know or remember that so many animals live and survive to work? What is the role of government in protecting the welfare of animals, and of treating the people who own them fairly and reasonably?

The authorities in New York simply wish to ban the horses, they don't want to have this discussion, or talk about them or their future. The animal rights community and the mayor won't even speak to the carriage horse owners and drivers. They have been relentlessly dehumanized, no longer considered worthy of participating in the city's moral community or decision making process. It is, of course, necessary to dehumanize people before you can justify taking their work and property away.

Those of us who love and live with animals shake our heads in wonder, sometimes in anger at this story, we intuitively grasp it's importance. We know that keeping animals in our world is not free, not of money, pain, struggle or death. We know there is no paradise for them or us. We know animals who do not work disappear from the world. We know they sometimes need to die, and we sometimes need to kill them.

Animals do not live in a perfect world any more than we do, they cannot be given better lives than we have. We wonder at the power of a small group of angry and disconnected people who seek so much power over us and the animals of the world. No voters have ever granted animals more protections than human beings, no government has argued with a straight face - until the carriage horse controversy – that animal rights come before the rights of human beings – citizens, voters, taxpayers.

The horses also remind us almost every day of the great moral conundrum at the heart of this story. It is not about the abuse of animals, it is about the abuse of people. Abuse is a crime, not an argument or opinion. It occurs when animals are severely injured or killed by people acting in excess of what is necessary or appropriate. It is illegal. No carriage driver in the modern history of the carriage trade has been accused of it, no horse is known to have died as the result of it. In the past five years, about 4,000 complaints of animal cruelty have been reported to the City Of New York each year. None have been made against the people in the carriage trade or on behalf of the horses.

Are we really to believe that these horses are continuously abused right under the noses of the army of police, bureaucrats, inspectors and veterinarians who work for the five agencies of a city government who regulate and oversee the horses every day and are utterly committed to banning them from New York?

The carriage horses remind us that as a people we are losing touch with the natural world and the true nature of animals. The carriage drivers most often come from a long tradition of people working with animals. Only in modern-day America is this considered cruel, even criminal, behavior.

My working dogs, donkeys, even chickens and barn cats love to work, live to work. We have lost touch with food and where it comes from, we have become distant from the real lives of real animals, we have turned them into emotionalized versions of us, we project our garbage onto them as if they were our emotional trash receptacles.

People who own and work with animals- the carriage drivers for sure – are struggling to cope with the extraordinary wealth and power of extra-legal, self-appointed cadres – militias, almost – that function outside of government, due process of law, or traditional ideas about truth, fairness, compromise and negotiation. Under the banner of being progressive and humane they wantonly invade the privacy of the carriage drivers, insult them publicly, videotape them secretly, taunt them, often in the cruelest ways, and harass them mercilessly, often without any basis in truth or fact. They threaten their way of life, seek to criminalize historic tradition and behavior.

At one point, the issue really did seem to be about the abuse of animals, that was my impression back in January when I took the train to New York to see the Clinton Park stables for myself. For most of New York City, that claim has been revealed to be the chimera that it is. There are 444 pages of regulations governing the care and safety of the horses, there is not a single page that requires government to protect the carriage horse owners or drivers or seeks to ensure their well being or safety. We are paying attention.

If the horses are driven from New York, they will continue remove the animals from all over the country. Mine, yours, the ponies in the park, the chickens on the farms, the elephants in the circus, the working dogs in the field, the horses on your small farm.They are already doing it, everywhere. They will come for the horses, they will come for your dog and horse. If the horses are driven from New York, they will probably have your local government with them.

New York is the big stage, our great city.

Here are just a handful of the demonstrably false claims about the carriage horses that have created this contrived and false controversy:

the horses are confined in "cells" too small for them to lie down in or turn around. The horses are overworked in heat and cold. The horses are not permitted to socialize with other horses. The horses are systematically abused: underfed and mistreated. The horses do not receive adequate medical care or any medical care. The horses never get to graze in pasture. There have been scores of accidents involving the horses in New York. The horses are unhappy with their work and seek a different life. The horses contribute to global warming by slowing traffic. The horses are less eco-friendly than cars. The horses soil the streets and spread disease. They suffer from respiratory illness from breathing exhaust fumes. They live shorter lives that horses in the wild or on rescue preserves. Their drivers are cheats and thieves who abuse animals and steal money from visitors.

Check this out for yourself, you can do it on the phone, or online, it won't take long.

In theory, a moral government is not for hire or sale. The people who call themselves supporters of animal rights gave more than $1.3 million dollars to political candidates who agreed to banish the horses. Federal authorities are investigating numerous claims that politicians were threatened if they didn't support a carriage horse ban. The people in the carriage trade do not have a million dollars or anything close to it, and the money they do have is continuously threatened by the movement against them.

Woody Guthrie would be living in the stables, singing the horses and the drivers songs of support and encouragement. John Locke would be picketing the picketers.

Words do matter, truth does count. Every day, I receive messages from people who are beginning to consider the truth of this controversy and are deciding where to stand. I am no ideologue or political activist, I do not belong to the left or the right. It is a gift to me to stand beside the carriage horse owners and drivers. I know where I belong here, I knew it early on. I stand with the drivers as an author, a journalist, an animal lover and a believer in John Locke's idea of what a moral government should be and do.

The horses belong in New York.

I actually thought Liam Neeson said it best when he told the mayor of New York City to man up and come and see the horses for himself. ... nment-for/
Kelly Kip
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Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:37 am

Here Comes The Carriage Horse Ban: Government By Donation

When Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, he said the first thing he would do is ban the carriage horses. But then, he told a press conference this week, he just got too busy dealing with city and state budget issues. Now that these issues are behind him, he told surprised reporters, he is going to return to a series of other priorities, including banning the horse carriage trade from New York City.

"I've said many times and I'll say it again, I think we need to ban horse carriages in New York City and we're going to act accordingly," he said. The ban would come through the City Council, talks to do that are underway, he said. "I believe it's something we have to do."

I found the mayor's comments disheartening, if not unexpected. New York is our greatest stage, the mayor refuses this opportunity to have a genuine conversation about the future of animals in cities and in our world, and also about the true nature of real animals. What is abuse and mistreatment? What do they really need? Who speaks for them? Is is appropriate to abuse and mistreat people in the name of protecting animals?

It seems to me that people who love animals would be eager to discuss ways of keeping them safely with us, rather than banning them from our midst. It seems doubtful we will ever get to have that conversation, not with this mayor.

Ever since he took office in January the idea of banning the carriage horses has provoked enormous comment and controversy, from Liam Neeson's challenge to the animal rights understanding of horses to polls showing little or no support for the ban among New Yorkers, to behaviorists, veterinarians and trainers who say the horses are content and well cared for, to anguished pleas, petitions, essays and comments from horse and other animal lovers all over the country who believe the ban is a mistake. If the mayor heard or saw any of those comments – 66 per cent of New Yorkers oppose the ban, along with the Central Park Conservancy, The Chamber of Commerce, The Teamsters Union, the New York Post, New York Daily News, and New York Times – he has never acknowledged it, discussed it, reflected upon it.

Political observers doubt most New Yorkers care very deeply whether the horses remain in the city or not, or that most would base their votes on whether the ban was executed or not. "If the horses are gone, people will forget about them in six months," one City Council member told some of his constituents. I can't say if that is so or not, I know that animal lovers all over the country are following the story closely and are deeply concerned about the idea that horses can only exist on rescue farms or that work for animals is abuse.

I do not know what the mayor's true motives are, but his erratic and utterly incoherent statements about the horse carriage's suggest that this is simply what most New Yorkers think it is – a question of power and money. It is hard to imagine why a mayor with so many pressing concerns would so doggedly pursue such a poorly grounded and unpopular move unless he really had no choice – he just got too much money from the animals rights groups in this campaign to walk away from it.

The mayor speaks of the issue only in short and inarticulate blurbs like those at this week's press conference. He refuses to speak with the carriage owners, visit the drivers or the stables, or even recognize the people in the carriage trade as human beings who deserve consultation about the loss of their livelihood, their fate and future. The dehumanization of the carriage trade people is one of the ugliest and most disturbing elements in the campaign against the horses, especially from a mayor who labels himself a progressive.

It seems the mayor is also determined to push ahead with a plan to replace the horses with vintage electric cars, which will cost about $160,000 apiece. If New Yorkers are united behind the idea of keeping the horses, they are even more horrified at the thought of flooding Central Park with more cars. Only the mayor seems to think cars are more eco-friendly than horses.

There are also plans, according to the media, to take the horses away from the carriage owners and require that they only be sold to farms and preserves where it is guaranteed that they will never work. This issue will not be resolved for some time, it will surely end up in the courts. What a waste of money and opportunity for a real discussion about animals that would be.

It is known that the mayor's teenage daughter first awakened him to the carriage horse issue after viewing animal rights websites online, and that the mayor has never lived with an animal, not even a dog or a cat. In the campaign, he described himself as a "proud supporter" of the animal rights movement, perhaps it is as simple as that. The mayor has every right to pursue a carriage trade ban if that is what he sincerely believes is right, he is also morally obligated to explain his reasoning, and to meet with the people most directly affected.

They have broken no law, violated no regulation, committed no crimes. If their work and way of life are to be taken from them, they are entitled to talk about it with their elected officials.

It has never been clear what the mayor really thinks about the carriage horses, he refuses to talk about it. It is known that NYClass and other animal rights groups pushing the carriage ban helped him win election with generous and timely campaign contributions. Political reporters in New York City believe the mayor has no choice but to pursue the ban to the end, he based much of his election on banning the horses.

"He's just stuck," a political reporter told me," there is no way for him but to introduce the ban and let the chips fall where they may. Nobody expects the courts to uphold a carriage horse ban, there is no legal basis to ban an industry that has done nothing wrong and is already one of the most heavily regulated in the city. It's just for face, more political theater to keep the animal rights crazies off of his back."

Maybe so. More uncertain and unsettling times for the carriage trade, I believe the horses in New York are awakening animal lovers every to the great issues that surround this story, especially this one: animals have the right to survive in our world, and we need to share the world with them. The horses call us to a wiser and more mystical understanding of animals.


My e-book "Who Speaks For The Carriage Horses: The Future Of Animals In Our World" will be published this coming week everywhere digital books are sold ... -donation/
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Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:16 am

To me, I have no problem with what they do. I have a problem with where they do it. Keep them in Central Park. Let customers use other forms of transportation to get them from Point A to Point B.
Kelly Kip
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Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:47 am

Katz has written an e-book about the carriage horses, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the fund to Save The New York Carriage Horses. ... -original/
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