How to Help

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Intro 573-B (text) is awaiting a vote by the Transportation Committee and could come up for a vote by the full City Council on Friday, February 5th.

Despite the concerns raised by the council members on the Transportation Committee and members of the carriage industry about the bill and its potential harm to the industry, to workers and to horses, the latest version of the bill, Intro 573-B, does nothing to address those concerns.

Please write or call the Transportation Committee and urge them to oppose Intro 573-B on the following points:

  • There was not an agreement on 573-B, and 573 B ignores the concerns and questions raised in hearings on January 22. 573-B remains a job killer and bad for horse welfare
  • Proposed limit on horses and shifts will put stable owners out of business – fixed expenses for current stables will remain, but income will be halved. Businesses can’t survive until new stable is built, if it ever is, and carriage owners will have no place to keep their horses, so the entire industry will go out of business. This is a carriage ban by attrition.
  • Limiting carriages to one shift each day on December 1, 2016 is job killer – eliminates 2nd shift drivers
  • Limit on # of licensed horses is job killer – not enough horses to fully work carriages, fewer horses to care for means stablemen lose jobs
  • Limiting horses to Central Park before stables are built – There is no rational reason to remove horse-drawn carriages from 59th St. The carriage industry has an excellent safety record in traffic, and 68 carriages do not in any meaningful way contribute to midtown congestion. Traffic statistics do not support this provision, which is based solely on a talking point made by the Mayor.
  • No carriages to or from stables or 59th St. from 4:30 -7 pm keeps industry from having enough horses at peak demand time and cuts into the 9 hours each shift is allowed to work.
  • The council should delay all punitive provisions until Central Park stables are built, if they ever are. The carriage industry is a thriving business that takes care of its horses and provides good jobs. Any changes need to support this iconic industry, not harm it.
TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE:

Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair
917-521-2616 
yrodriguez@council.nyc.gov

@ydanis

Dan Garodnick
212-818-0580 
dgarodnick@council.nyc.gov
@DanGarodnick

Jimmy Vacca
718-931-1721 
jvacca@council.nyc.gov
@JamesVacca13

Margaret Chin
212-587-3159
chin@council.nyc.gov
@CM_MargaretChin

Stephen Levin
718-875-5200 
slevin@council.nyc.gov
@StephenLevin33

Debi Rose
718-556-7370 
DROSE@Council.nyc.gov
@CMDebiRose

Jimmy Van Bramer
718-383-9566 
JVanBramer@council.nyc.gov
@JimmyVanBramer

David Greenfield
718-853-2704 
dgreenfield@council.nyc.gov
@NYCGreenfield

Costa Constantinides
718-274-4500 
costa@council.nyc.gov
@Costa4NY

Carlos Menchaca
718-439-9012 
info38@council.nyc.gov
@cmenchaca

Daneek Miller
718-776-3700 
District27@council.nyc.gov
@IDaneekMiller

Antonio Reynoso
718-963-3141 
areynoso@council.nyc.gov (with copy to ltauber@council.nyc.gov)
@CMReynoso34

Donovan Richards
(Rockaway) 718-471-7014
(Laurelton) 718-527-4356
drichards@council.nyc.gov
@DRichards13

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About Author

Christina Hansen is a New York City carriage driver and a spokesperson for the carriage industry. She is a proud member of Teamsters Local 553.

22 Comments

  1. Nancy Marinelli on

    Horses have been used and loved and cared for in my family for generations . To stop using them for the carriage rides is ridiculous. They are strong animals and love working and people. Many places have such romace and charm with the carriage rides and would not be the same without. The families who rely on this for income would be devistayed This is a way of life for them. Keep the carriages America loves them!

  2. I have written your councilors before and will do so again. When /if you need assistance with your legal campaign, please let those of us across the country who want to help know–you will be amazed at the support you will have. Thousands of us have been monitoring this for months, thanks to Jon Katz’s efforts. You have a huge army of support out there.
    Wishing you the best,
    ASM

  3. Beth McReynolds on

    Will be there to support you Friday. This campaign of ignorance or greed must end. God bless the carriage horses and drivers.

  4. I have written every councilperson on this list, I stand behind you 100%. I wish I could attend in person, I hope my emails to them are read.

  5. Bruce Livingston on

    I just sent this email to Brian Shapiro, NYS director of the HSUS.

    RE:
    http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news_briefs/2016/01/nyc-horse-drawn-carriage-012016.html?credit=ad_donoracq16_gg_search_010116_web_id93480558

    I am utterly dismayed that The Human Society would support the destruction of the carriage horse industry in NYC. I would hope that if the HSUS had researched the ramifications of the proposed legislation, you’d come out strongly against it.

    The NYC Carriage Horse industry as it now stands supports (besides the livelihood of owners):
    1. Feed and hay costs for stables, shoeing, veterinary, grooms, etc.
    2. Turnout for rotated horses at a farm in Pennsylvania.
    3. Retirement costs for horses taken out of service in Pennsylvania.

    The “legislation” would cut down the number of horses by two-thirds which would mean the horses would be in full service (9 hours a day) without a day off. Carriages would be prohibited from driving outside Central Park at night — further cutting down revenue.

    How would the carriage drivers support the rotation of horses and the retirement facility in Pennsylvania with such a severe cut in revenue? Would the HSUS subsidize the industry? If not, these horses would likely be destroyed! Furthermore, no more horses in the future would be rescued — yes, most of these carriage horses are rescues — thereby destroying the industry along with no facility to continue future rescue.

    Sincerely,
    Bruce Livingston

    • Good letter but I’m afraid it falls on deaf ears. The HSUS is a greedy group out for their own glory and their own pocketbook. If you send money to them, as a result of seeing their ads with the pitiful dogs and cats, please understand that the HSUS does NOT administer, nor do they fund, animal shelters! I spoke with one of the HSUS reps who told me “We are not a pass through organization.” When I questioned him as to what this meant, he said ” We do not pass donations through to shelters.” Ask your local animal shelter exactly how much money HSUS has given them. I think you will be appalled when they say “zero”. HSUS is a fraud. They were investigated under the Racketeering laws and fined. I’m sure they never told you THAT. So your money was spent to pay fines-not feed or give shelter and care to animals. Do not trust them. Help our local shelters where you can see the good your donations make.

      • Bruce Livingston on

        Hi Susan,
        The HSUS did respond to my email. They do ask for the source re: retirement/rest. And, I can’t supply that nor will the “Save NYC Carriage…” If I had real sources, then I would also respond with some images showing some of the box stalls being utilized in some of the stables on the West side which are certainly 10×10 or larger.
        ——————
        Bruce,
        Thank you for contacting The Humane Society of the United States regarding pending legislation in New York City to improve the living and working conditions of carriage horses. Our concerns about carriage horses being forced to work in dangerous urban environments are well documented and we, along with other animal welfare organizations, citizens, equine veterinarians, and advocates have been working to improve the working and living conditions of these horses for decades. Supporting this legislation is a compromise that takes into account concerns from both the carriage industry and horse welfare. The Humane Society of the United States supports the agreement to limit the use of horse-drawn carriages to the confines of Central Park and remove them from busy city streets shared by motor vehicles and is committed to working with Mayor de Blasio, the City Council, and other stakeholders to ensure that conditions for these animals are improved and every horse has a safe, humane retirement.

        We are not aware of a specific retirement facility in Pennsylvania that is funded by the carriage horse industry. Please feel free to send us documented information on the facility and current funding mechanisms in place by the carriage horse industry to support this facility.

        Several animal protection organizations, including HSUS, offered to provide sanctuary for the carriage horses if the bill to ban carriage horse rides in NYC passes. The HSUS supports this compromise bill because it will reduce the number of horses pulling carriages by nearly 2/3 to 75, restrict them to being and living only within Central Park, increase stable stall size to 100 square feet, outfit the horses with a GPS system and a microchip and require horse owners to certify with the city that any retired horse will not be sent to slaughter or sold or transferred to anyone for that purpose. The HSUS and other organizations will work to assure that each horse will have a safe, humane retirement. The legislative process often involves compromise and getting done what is achievable for animals, and we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  6. Hi Christina – I’m part of the Bedlam Farm Creative Group and just sent each of the council members you listed the email below. I’ll be with you and your colleagues in spirit tomorrow during the hearing. All the best, Janet

    Dear Councilperson (insert last name) ,

    I am a Boston marketing professional who travels to NYC for business meetings, and I enjoy treating clients to rides in the NYC horse drawn carriages. I oppose Intro 573-A and ask you to oppose it as well. From a marketing standpoint, having the horses on 59th street, not just confined to Central Park, is a boon for the image of your city. From a jobs standpoint, cutting the ranks of those who work in the horse carriage trade makes no sense. And in terms of animal rights – it is clear that the mayor is in the well-lined pocket of an extremist animal rights group who would rather have the carriage horses euthanized than lead the happy, productive lives they currently enjoy (just check the reports of the many vets who have examined them). Please don’t let the agenda of this well-funded but extremist group ruin the good thing you have going in your city with the horse-drawn carriage trade. Good for the image of your city, good for business, good for the health and happiness of the tourists, employees and horses involved.

    Thank you,

    (My name, title, business contact info)

  7. I emailed all of them today. It kills me not to be there tomorrow; I can’t get out of work (needless to say, though, I can empathize with the drivers not wanting to lose work). Will be thinking of you all and I hope the Council Members do the ethical and moral thing and vote no.

    • Roberta Pliner on

      I called all the transportation committee members. I think the telephone is still a better lobbying tool than the computer, and due to sickness, I cannot get to the hearing downtown.

  8. Victorena Minchew on

    Text of the letter I sent to all Transportation Committee members:

    For several years now, I and many other horse owners who donate and volunteer with equine rescues have followed the saga of the NYC Carriage Horses. We have researched the opinions of experts, talked to tourists and other horsemen and horsewomen with personal experience, studied the statistics on accidents, and, of course, listened in bemusement to the animal “rights” people who claim any use of animals is abuse and they are “better off” dead. If any of you have done the same, and I know some of you surely have…then you certainly have come to the same conclusion that I have…there is no abuse, it is not inhumane, and the NYC carriage trade has a stellar safety record among equine disciplines. I know that the NYSHC, the Equine Rescue Network, the veterinarians who have inspected the horses and a host of other equine professionals have come to the same conclusion.

    I was totally shocked, therefore, to read that a partial ban has been agreed upon between the Council and Mayor DeBlasio. As there is obviously no reason from the point of view of equine experts for such a ban…one can only conclude that this measure is political payback by the mayor to his campaign donors who covet the stable property. Demanding that the carriage owners send most of their horses out of the city to an uncertain future; destroying the jobs and life’s work of many of New York City’s horsemen and horsewomen; confining the few that will be allowed to remain to Central Park years before any stables are even built there that would enable them to comply, is clearly a way of driving them out of business. Without stabling for ALL the horses, the remaining few will have to earn enough to support them all…a clear impossibility…yet I’ve read that no provisions have been made in your bill for them.

    You are sending a message to any small business owners in New York City that political donations to the Mayor are a prerequisite for being allowed to operate in the city in peace. This is the type of political chicanery that leads people to assume that New York City is a hotbed of political corruption…and rest assured that it is not going unnoticed. A vote for the bill will clearly be a vote for political payback to DeBlasio’s campaign donors…at the expense of the taxpayers, the carriage drivers, and most of all…the horses that will be homeless.

    Despite the vocal protests by PETA and NYClass, you know that the majority of New Yorkers and their children love the carriage horses and want them to stay. Act in accordance with their wishes and the best interests of the horses…and please, don’t banish them to an uncertain future in the rescue pipeline. Your vote against this bill will be much appreciated all across America.

    Victorena Minchew

  9. It is absurd to even have to approach this subject of saving the wonderful horses and carriages. I can’t understand what motivated this mayor in his unbelievable and terrible plot to get rid of this NYC icon. I grew up in the city, have written books about it and support the families and horses with everything I can do from afar. There is no logical reason to change in anyway their being able to continue as they have always been in the place where the horses are housed and taken care of so ably. Someone should discuss with this mayor what motivated this nasty action on his part. If it isn’t a payback for political support, he should honestly state a another reason he has to have begun this plot. Extremists are frightening people and good folks should cry out against them. I am encouraged that there is an outcry from New Yorkers who love their city and from many of us who, no longer live there, but love it every bit as much. PLEASE stop this right now in its tracks and leave the horses and carriages as they always have been — enriching the heritage of New York City. This mayor is not very bright to think if he continues this he’ll be more than a one term mayor.
    Fie on him and all his supporters,
    Beverly Ohler

  10. I too have emailed all the transportation committee members. Carriage horse owners, my heart is with you in the difficulty of this situation. I would offer one comment in the event that it is helpful: be very, very, VERY careful of the slippery slope of allowing your stables to be moved into Central Park on City land. Even starting down the road of that agreement means they have “walked you right past” the real issue of whether or not they should be able to outlaw a law-abiding business. I have managed 400+ such “split estate” situations in another state (i.e, where the government owns the land and the tenant owns the improvements or rents improvements from the government). Unless you can write an agreement that addresses all your critical needs IN PERPETUITY, at the end of the day in almost every split estate situation I have ever seen, the landowner is in the position to exert all the meaningful control (because the landowner holds all the cards when an agreement expires and needs to be renegotiated), and the landowner almost always “wins” if there is a conflict. To me this looks like a great way for them to cycle you out (today the horses can only operate from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; what is your recourse if tomorrow, the “oversight committee” suddenly votes to reduce that by two hours?) They own you lock, stock, and barrel. I would be very leery of such an agreement if my business depended on it.

    Hang in there. Fight smart. Don’t regard court as a disaster, regard it as an opportunity, because when someone abuses their power as badly as the mayor is doing, a judge is often the only person who can stop them and get them back into line. I hope you are in a position to choose from among your own group (i.e., individuals who actually do make their living from this industry) for who represents your needs to your attorneys. Please know that there are thousands of us out here who will help with your legal expenses.

    Good luck,
    ASM

    • What a fantastic post, ASM. Agreed on all counts.

      I wish you were part of our decision-making mechanism.

      Thank you.

  11. Virginia Carabelli on

    As a member of the NYSHC I am truly dismayed that you have not asked your members how they feel about this issue but have rather been “telling ” us , via various emails, and website announcements, to support the NYC carriage industry AS IS.
    Your approach is biased and un-democratic, it does not provide us with a forum to voice our opinions. You have no right to make a decision as NYSHC to either support or ban (or anything in between) this industry, but rather you have a duty to allow the opinion of all of your members.
    I support the carriage industry in NYC as long as some changes are made. I approve using carriages only in Central Park and providing the horses with a new stable which includes turn out paddocks. Horses need the space to move around freely and roll in the dirt at least a few hours per day. Going from a hard day’s work to a stall too small to lie down and roll around in safely, is inhumane. Also horses do not belong in heavy NYC traffic, as several horrififc accidents have demonstrate.
    Why don’t you instead open a forum for discussion on your website and allow each of us to weigh in on the matter and freely share information on the subject.
    The information you share via emails and on the website is incomplete if not down right biased.

    • Virginia, what do YOU do with horses?

      I’ll support you as long as you do what I say.

      For instance, I don’t think anyone should board a horse in a facility which doesn’t have a building-wide sprinkler system. Barn fires are way too common and devastating to have it any other way.

      I also do not support any boarding situation where there isn’t 24/7 stablemen. Too many things can happen overnight regarding sickness, injury, or even theft.

      I also do not think horses should be trailered for pleasure events. Yes, if you buy a horse and need to get them to your property, you must use a trailer. But the dangers are just too great to be trailering horses to shows every weekend for months out of the year, just for the pleasure of “showing” a horse. It’s not in the horse’s best interest to hurtle down the highway at 50, 60 mph in a metal box, it is an accident waiting to happen, and too oftentimes it does.

      I think all equine barn populations should have cortisol studies done to make sure the horses aren’t stressed in their environment. I think these studies should be made public.

      I think all barns, public and private, should be made to operate under the auspices of the local health department and department of consumer affairs. The health department should set standards for everything regarding the living space and use of the horses — stall size, mandatory well-vet checks, number of hours worked a day, etc. All horses, public and private, should have number brands on their hooves for identification. Every time a horse is bought or sold it needs to be reported to the health dept. Consumer affairs should regulate how much is charged for lessons, etc.

      I think every accident — such as slip and falls in pasture, getting cast or hung up in the stalls, trip and falls on trail rides, jumping accidents, eventing accidents, etc etc — should be reported to the health department, the local police, and should be covered in the local newspapers. That also goes for all colics and other ailments.

      What? You don’t agree, you are outraged that I would even suggest such things?

      That’s funny — because the NYC carriage horses have ALL these protections and stipulations and MORE.

      Your condescending, uneducated rant is ludicrous, considering that the NYC carriage horses most likely live more amenity-filled lives than any horse you own, and CERTAINLY live safer lives, by virtue of our fire protection ALONE, not to mention our incredible safety record and very low instance of colic.

      Why don’t you at least go for part of it — get a cortisol test on your horses. We did. The science is on our side — in addition to being plump, glossy, friendly, fit, and tractable, they are CONTENT AND STRESS FREE. Read it and weep, then mind your own business:

      http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/04/prweb12640860.htm

  12. Grace Benton on

    Someone who is part of your team is blackmailing my friend on Instagram. Idk who it is but they are being way more than rude to her. All she did was stated an opinion and they started being super ugly to her. It needs to stop now.

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