Today’s news:

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

TimesLedger Newspapers

The Queens publishing family wishes our readers a holiday season filled with joy and hope.

We can think of no greater tidings than the news that thousands of American soldiers are on their way home from Iraq. For the soldiers and families that have waited for their safe return, this will be a special holiday.

Welcome home.

Avella: Pull on the reins

There are few things in life more romantic and unforgettable than a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park at Christmas.

It irks us to think that there some in this city who are bent on bringing the horse and carriage industry to an end. The leader is state Sen. Tony Avella. Since he was a city councilman, Avella has been a fighter for the people he represents. Unfortunately, this time around he may be on the wrong side of the riding ring.

When he was a councilman, Avella sponsored a bill calling for a ban on the carriage industry in New York City. The City Council was not interested. In May, he introduced a similar bill in the Senate, and state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a companion bill in the Assembly.

Avella claims that “this issue is clearly coming to a head just because of a number of accidents reported lately.”

We are supporters of the horse-drawn carriages, but even if we were not, we would not be pleased at the thought of a senator in Poughkeepsie or Buffalo telling New York City what should be allowed in Central Park.

Eva Hughes, vice president of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, lives in Avella’s district and disagrees with the senator.

“Sen. Avella has been made aware of our stellar safety record,” she said, “The fact is, statistically, our industry is the safest equine pursuit. With only three deaths in 30 years, it’s not a good record. It’s an extraordinary record.”

Avella must understand that if it gets passed, his bill will put people out of work.

That is not the kind of help the city needs from Albany.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Frank T. from Bellerose says:
Hey, hey, hey. Tony, Tony, Tony....He's at it again. Can't trust him. Can't work with him. Gotta stay out of his path. Be careful of his friends too. Can't believe people put him in office. Oh well, be careful what you wish for. Merry Christmas.
Dec. 24, 2011, 8:33 pm
Rosanne from NJ says:
Good job Tony!!!! We need an honest man like you who can be the voic of these poor defenseless horses. I forwarded the petition on FB for hundred's of people to sign. These horses need to be rescued and live the life they deserve! Who cares if people lose their jobs. It's more inportant than the health and safety of these beautiful creatures? Get in the unemployment line like everyone else.
Dec. 26, 2011, 9:25 am
Ray Olsz from Brooklyn says:
Whatever happened to compassion? When you see these poor horses drag their carriages on a hot Summer day or the cold of Winter you have to be made of stone not to care. The drivers are bullies just looking to make a buck. The Mayor feels that he is doing such a great job in his office that he forced (bought) his re-election by going independent. How lucky we are to have ANOTHER politician that knows better than the people they represent. Bloomberg – your days are numbered. Go back to the private sector where you belong. With all of the issues currently taking place in the City (illegal protests), it’s becomes obvious that Bloomberg is still playing politics. Also, let’s not forget the current Speaker of the City Council (Christine Quinn), who is more concerned about her upcoming run for Mayor than for these poor creatures. Coincidentally, all four stables are in her district. "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." “…the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man." Mohandas Gandhi
Dec. 26, 2011, 9:47 am
Karen from NCA says:
As the owner of a horses for over 40 years, boarding and lesson farm, showman, and show judge. Where in the WORLD do you people dream up the idea that horse and carriage is cruel? That horses do not live in the summer heat, and winter cold regardless of whether or not they are working? That show horses are not also subjected all day to the weather while working too? What planet are you from? One where horses live in air conditioning in the summer and heated homes in the winter? FYI ( commercial) Horse and carriage is one of the easiest equine pursuits there is. Carriage horses do nearly all their work at a walk, can pull 5 times their body weight easily and yet are pulling only a fraction of that pulling a fully loaded carriage. Carriage horses do not suffer the sports injuries that frequent other equine pursuits, i.e. show jumping, rodeo, racing, barrels, poles, reining, dressage, and other high performance events, so what is the PROBLEM? Horses don't "drag" carriages they are on wheels that roll nicely on ball bearings, I CAN pull one! and I am a middle aged out of shape lady! People if your Radical Animal Rights ( who is usually who is posting this anti-carriage ride propaganda) just admit it! We can at least respect your strange fringe opinion for what it is. However...to spread falsehoods to further your agenda is just WRONG.
Dec. 26, 2011, 2:32 pm
Linda from Flushing says:
These horses are well-cared for. Avella's bill wants to SEIZE PRIVATE PROPERTY and destroy small business owners. I hope whoever runs against him emphasizes this. Today it's the well-regulated carriage horses - what private property does he want to seize next?
Dec. 26, 2011, 2:43 pm
dan from outta NY says:
GO JETS
Go dallas
Dec. 26, 2011, 5:37 pm
Christine S. from Brooklyn says:
Eva Hughes, vice president of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, lives in Avella’s district and disagrees with the senator.

“Sen. Avella has been made aware of our stellar safety record,” she said, “The fact is, statistically, our industry is the safest equine pursuit. With only three deaths in 30 years, it’s not a good record. It’s an extraordinary record.”

The only thing that is extraordinary is the size of the lie Eva just told. There were 4 accidents in a six week period from November to mid December, one led to a horse fatality. So much for the safety issue. And it is a well known fact that more than 3 carriage horses have died in NYC. Get your facts straight if you want people to believe you, Eva Hughes.
Dec. 27, 2011, 3:04 am
Kendra from Bayside says:
The well-crafted phrase "3 deaths in 30 years" in simply not true. The newspaper should hang it's head in shame for repeating this without doing a cursory check to determine the truthfulness of this absurd statement.
Dec. 27, 2011, 7:09 am
Kendra from Bayside says:
"hang its head"...
Dec. 27, 2011, 7:10 am
Eva Hughes from Bayside says:
The exact wording of the quote that I gave this reporter was: " With only three equine deaths due to TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS in 30 years, it's not a good record, it's an extraordinary one."

The reporter DID inform me that everything I gave him would be edited for space consideration; it is just unfortunate that the two words which gave context to my statement were the ones to go.

HOWEVER, since the entire frame of reference here is safety, and the questions were couched in that context, it should be plain to anyone reading that that is what I was referring to.

Again, these are the facts: THREE equine deaths from traffic accidents in 30 years (Chester 1985, Tony, 1990, and Spotty 2006) and ZERO human fatalities.

Yes, an extraordinary record, especially considering that our aggregate deaths could happen in a SINGLE weekend at a SINGLE eventing meet or racetrack.

Eva Hughes
VP Horse & Carriage Assoc of NYC
Dec. 27, 2011, 10:56 am
Eva Hughes from Bayside says:
"The only thing that is extraordinary is the size of the lie Eva just told. There were 4 accidents in a six week period from November to mid December, one led to a horse fatality. So much for the safety issue. And it is a well known fact that more than 3 carriage horses have died in NYC. Get your facts straight if you want people to believe you, Eva Hughes."

You can call me a liar all day long - where's the PROOF of your accusations? Surely not in the c&p above -- there were NOT "4 accidents in 6 weeks", and the horse fatality had NOTHING to do with an "accident". Do you actually just regurgitate whatever you are told to say? 2 of the 4 incidents you are referring to involved horses tripping, falling down, and getting back up -- something that happens to horses wherever they may be (or to people wherever they may be! Have you ever fallen down?) The horses were vet checked and found to be healthy and sound. The horse fatality was Charlie - who succumbed to a still unknown (and presumably natural) cause.

Do you care to retract your defamatory statement that I am a "liar"?
Dec. 27, 2011, 11:02 am
Mrs. Hamilton from Louisiana says:
As a carraige livery owner myself, I have been following the carraige horse situation in NYC with great interest and concern. The "miracle" of the internet has made this possible, as do on-line editions of local newspapers like yours.

I want to applaud your newspaper for being able to see through all the hype and hysteria being flung around by those who oppose the use of horse-drawn carriages, not just in NYC, but everywhere.

And you are so right- "There are few things in life more romantic and unforgettable than a ride in a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park at Christmas."

I can still remember vividly my one and only Central Park carriage ride at Christmastime taken when I was five years old. I am 60 years old now. That ride inspired a life-long dream of one day having a carriage of my own, and a life-long love of horses.

Well, now I have my own horse-drawn carriage, but not in NYC. Everytime a child begs his or her parents to let him or her pet my horse, I think of that horse and driver on that cold NYC night long ago. I savor the memory of that magical ride my mother and I shared with them.

After our ride was over, the driver let me feed his horse a piece of apple, and he held me up so I could pet what was the biggest horse I had ever seen. It is an unforgettable memory.

Because of the rabble rousing and agitation of a few committed animal rights extremists, today the chance for such memories and rides is being threatened, not just in NYC, but almost everywhere. Again, thanks to your newspaper for standing up to defend authentic and treasured traditions like the NYC carriage horses in Central Park.

I hope the staff of this newspaper and all the carriage drivers in NYC have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Dec. 27, 2011, 12:41 pm
Jennifer from Bensonhurst says:
Ban the horse-drawn carriage. Support Tony Avella's bill to ban the horse-drawn carriage. The horses should belong to the grassland and live peacefully there. I saw a horse desperately drinking water from the bucket around Central Park and the owner came and abruptly took the bucket away. That picture was heart breaking to see. Why would the owner take it away when the horse wasn't done with drinking water? I occasionally saw some advertisements from the animal groups. If the animal groups are not convincing you to against the horse-drawn carriage, the latest news about the death of the horse and collapse of the horse within a year in NYC and the witnessing of the poor horses standing by Central Park and can't move unless there is a tourist wanting a ride should. I believe in what I have seen everytime I walk around Central Park. This newspaper article are trying to say that saving those owner of the horse-drawn carriage their jobs are more important than the well being of the horses, and this DOES NOT sound humane AT ALL. SHAME ON YOU Times Ledger.
Dec. 29, 2011, 8:58 pm
Jennifer from Bensonhurst says:
Eva Hughes, I am a New Yorker for 25years and I am sure sick of your organization. I pray one day, there is no horse-drawn carriage in NYC or anywhere in the world.
Dec. 29, 2011, 9:05 pm
Paul J from Whitestone says:
The horses are a part of New York tradition. They should be treated with dignity and respect. But, there are some people who care more about animals then people. I feel sorry for these folks.

Hey Jenn from Bensonhurst, bet you care more about animals than people suffering in other parts of the world.

Maybe you and Chris from Brooklyn and Roseanne from NJ should stop hoarding all those cats and give some money to charities, not just animal ones.

It makes me laugh that you all are supporting Anthony. He ONLY cares about one thing.
Dec. 29, 2011, 10:06 pm
Elizabeth Forel from NYC says:

Senator Avella has the courage to stand up for both people and animals and Queens voters are lucky to have him. The reason the original historic ban carriage industry bill went nowhere in the City Council is because all the power is wielded by Council Speaker Christine Quinn and she supports the industry. It was a done deal – the Council had no influence.

Because of the political influence in the City Council, Senator Avella thought the state legislature would be a fairer place to get a hearing.

It is patently untrue to say that there have been only three carriage horse deaths in 30 years. Since 2006, Spotty, Juliet, Smoothie and Charlie have died on the job. This does not include the horses who died from colic and other illnesses in the stables. These deaths are just as important and notable as those who died in traffic. And as for a “stellar safety record “ – according to whom? The NYPD does not enforce the laws and defers to the ASPCA., which has only 20 officers to handle animal cruelty complaints for the entire city. They are often not at the hack line to monitor the drivers. This is essentially an industry out of control and it is disingenuous to suggest anything else.

The only reason there appears to be a spate of accidents this year is because random eyewitnesses have been reporting them to our organization and we reported them to the media. The information did not come from the NYPD or the ASPCA. Because of the nature of this business – overworked, sensitive and unattended horses able to spook at the slightest provocation – we believe there are many more accidents that are not being reported.

As for putting people out of work – the bill to create a new industry in vintage replica electric cars – is opposed by the industry. They refuse to see the handwriting on the wall – whether it is from the Hudson Yards redevelopment project or politicians who are increasingly lining up against them. How many people do you know who have lost their jobs and had an offer to reinvent themselves? Why is this tiny industry so special? What about the horses?

The people are sick and tired of animal cruelty and want this industry to end. Since 2006, there have been many online polls asking whether the carriage industry should be banned. Every poll has resulted in at least 75% of respondents voting yes.

We currently have over 112,000 signatures on an online petition supporting the state bill.

Let’s get real about this issue. The vast majority of New Yorkers do not want it. It is time to listen to them. Not some politically connected industry used to entitlements.

Elizabeth Forel
Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages
www.banhdc.org
Dec. 30, 2011, 8:33 pm
PJM from Colonie, NY says:
The horse drawn carriages in NYC generate a tremendous amount of revenue for the city, but let's not forget Lake George and other tourist revenue generating municipalities. Please expend some of this revenue toward the source of it.
Dec. 31, 2011, 12:05 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group