6-32/266 August 7, 2011

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Periodic updates about issues and actions concerning New York City's Carriage Horses +
Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages www.banhdc.org

Horses Without Carriages International www.horseswithoutcarriages.org

PLEASE FORWARD TO LISTS, FRIENDS & ASSOCIATES ** URGENT: Write to NY Times & Lawyer needed -- see below ** Video - Horse spooks and falls in park goes viral ** City Officials asked to investigate safety issues ** Channel 2 & Gothamist coverage ** What you can do ** Sign our petition ** Horse spooks in Santa Barbara **

picked up by many media sources
protest july 27 Last week I posted a Youtube video of a family that took a carriage ride in Central Park on July 31st. At one point the horse began to spook - he got upset and began to move backward away from the source of fear. He tripped and fell -- twice. The woman, Theresa Shaver, got very upset and yelled for her son to run away - she was worried that the carriage would fall. She was also very upset upon seeing the horse down. She loves animals and did not know about the inhumane carriage trade in NYC.

About 15 minutes later, having left her purse in the carriage, she went to the hack line to look for the driver and saw that the horse was back on the line. She got very angry and yelled at the driver. She was right to do so. When this video was first put out on Youtube, some ignorant people made fun of her by commenting on some of the FB pages. She took down her videos. But Theresa wanted to make a difference for the horses and now they are back up.

These videos have been shown on 1010 WINS, WCBS TV, CNN, Inside Edition to name a few. One of the best was from the Post-Standard in Syracuse "Lysander family's harrowing ride in Central Park carriage caught on video."

Theresa Shaver copyrighted the videos (smart move) so no one can mess them up. She also took the time to research the issue and is now a proponent of a ban on horse drawn carriages. Thanks so much Theresa for your courage. We are all glad that you spoke out; that your family is OK and that the horse is OK.

Who will step up to the plate?
investigation In the wake of three known accidents in the last several weeks, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages has asked the Manhattan Borough President and the Public Advocate's office to do an investigation of the carriage horse business as related to public safety. We have also asked the Comptroller's Office to do an audit of the Department of Transportation, NYPD and Parks Department in relation to the carriage horse safety issue. None of these agencies were included in the 2007 audit. All are independent of the Mayor's influence so should be able to do what we ask. But will they?

This is a good piece from Gothamist. Click Here. Notice driver/owner Ian McKeever calls Shaver "crazy." Nice going, Ian.

This was from Channel 2 WCBS news with Marcia Kramer. Click Here. The bottom video is from News at 5 with Marcia Kramer. The line they took from my interview was about it being a SAFETY ISSUE ... and it is - for the horses and people!

a lesson from Theresa and about Ahimsa
ahimsa I am appealing to all people who read this - in this instance people who care about the carriage horses. When Theresa Shaver first posted her video, it was picked up on some of the Facebook pages -- ours included. (No Walk in the Park) Some of the comments that ensued were hateful and ignorant -- people who called her vicious names; that she should not have taken the carriage ride in the first place, denigrating her experience. This did not happen on our page. However, to their credit, the administrator of the other FB page removed the comments very quickly. It is possible they had been infiltrated by drivers. I do not know but I think that some of the comments were from so-called animal people. As supposedly compassionate people, we need to be more understanding of the human condition. Let's stop calling tourists names like "fat, lazy slobs." That does not further our cause. Many have not been educated about the issue. We ask people to be compassionate about horses and other animals while at the same time viciously attacking tourists who take the rides and oftentimes the drivers. I know it is difficult, because I have been there too. But Theresa, who is a lovely compassionate person, taught me a big lesson and I hope you learn it also. We need to educate others by positive example. The word "compassion" should count for something.

I reached out to Edita Birnkrant of Friends of Animals who is a big proponent of Ahimsa. Edita knows it is very difficult and challenging to achieve, but she agrees with its principles and it is a wonderful goal to aspire to. This is what she says. "As activists, anger is often what fuels us, but in my nearly 12 years of activism, I've learned that the primary factor with which we reach and connect with people should not be anger, but kindness, respect and love. The concept of Ahimsa, which was the spiritual basis for both Gandhi's and Martin Luther King Jr.'s social justice activism is a doctrine based on non-violence, and doing no harm, and that means within ourselves as activists, and how we treat others, and in every action we take in our lives. It even means towards the way we treat our "enemies," if we perceive them as such. It takes much more strength to "love our enemies," and have compassion for them, instead of hatred. This doesn't mean we don't continue our path for social justice and animal rights, it just means that we do it with as much kindness respect and love as possible, towards all.

It is up to us to move this forward! - Please sign petition
raven and crow 1 The NYS State Legislature is on summer break now, but you can still contact your representatives about this bill. NYS Senator Tony Avella and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal have introduced a bill in the state Senate to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry in NYC. Please read this article by Stephanie Feldstein at Change.org and then sign the petition, which is linked and will generate letters to state legislators. Anyone can sign the petition. You do not have to live in New York State. People from other states and countries are encouraged to sign.

HAS YOUR LEGISLATOR RESPONDED TO YOU? If so, please send me a copy of the correspondence - to coalition@banhdc.org. Please sign the petition if you have not already -- forward to friends. Let's shoot for 4,000 signatures. (art work by Raven and Crow)

no one injured
Santa Barbara - KEYT.com - Fiesta Mishap - August 5, 2011 For the most part the parade went smoothly, but there were a few tense moments early on when a carriage flipped over throwing those on board onto the street.

One of the passengers was Assemblymember Das Williams. The incident happened at the corner of State and Haley Streets. The horses pulling the carriage got spooked and started to dart towards the crowd when the carriage flipped. Fortunately, the horses stopped just in time before going into the crowd. Das Williams and the other passengers onboard were standing in the carriage waving to the crowd when it flipped, dragging one passenger about 30 feet. Fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries.

get the message out
facebook logo If you have not already signed it, please sign the petition mentioned above for the bill that is currently in the NYS state legislature.

But here is another suggestion. Friend your Council Member, State Senator and State Assembly member on Facebook. Find out who they are through these web sites:

Leave a polite message for them on their wall. They or an aide will see it. Send them the links to the spooking video in this newsletter.

write letters in response
Yes - it seemed like it was written by Andrea Peyser of the NY Post - perhaps she was moonlighting. If not - maybe by an intern from Fox 5 News. But it was the NY Times - that paper of record. Someone said that since it was the last piece in the paper it looked like a filler. In any case, the editorial was replete with assumptions and lies. It may well have been a "favor" called in by the powers that be since it was too much of a coincidence that it came after 2 1/2 weeks of accidents. The editorial was entitled Some Carriages Should Not Be Horseless - August 4, 2011. Click here to view it.

We ask that you send a Letter-to-the-Editor in response to this piece. There is no author indicated because it is an editorial. These are the Rules:

  • letters@nytimes.com
  • 150 words maximum
  • include your contact information - name, address and telephone
  • Do it as soon as possible. Don't wait. This is a timely article.
  • Just write -- do not think it needs to be perfect. Let the NY Times know that many people want this industry to end. They cannot get away with this drivel.
  • Send us a copy if you wish. Don't cc us. We will publish them after we give the NYT some time to publish letters. coalition@banhdc.org

Bully tactics may get carriage horse video removed from Youtube
Theresa Shaver told me that she received a notice from Youtube on Saturday that someone had filed a Privacy Infringement on her videos. She has 48 hours to respond or they will be taken down. She does not know who made the complaint. There were no details. Theresa's videos are an indictment of the carriage industry and some people do not like that. She had a lot of courage to do what she did but also to get attention to this issue.

LOOKING FOR A LAWYER - who can advise her on this area of law. It seems to me that these videos were not only taken in a public place where people are always filming and photographing that subject matter, but they were also shown on many media outlets including WCBS TV and CNN. It was clearly an indictment of the industry. Please let's help Theresa. Contact me at coalition@banhdc.org - CC: mediabanhdc@gmail.com

igive Through a free registration with iGive, when you buy merchandise on line, your purchase will help us. There are over 700 stores that include such popular ones as Amazon.com, Staples, Best Buy and Barnes & Nobles. Even Cafe Press is available if you purchase some of our merchandise. Click here to get started.

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See our Facebook page called No Walk in the Park. And while you are there, please join another anti carriage horse page by a colleague called 212HorsePower

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

Thank you for caring about the horses, Elizabeth Forel - Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages - a standing committee of The Coalition for New York City Animals, Inc.

Please DONATE to our campaign to ban the inhumane and unsafe carriage horse industry.