Response to the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages Email of 5/21/11

The following is a thorough response to an email received on May 21, 2011 from Elizabeth Forel, President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages (www.banhdc.org), in response to Blue Star Equiculture’s open letter detailing our position on the New York City carriage horses.  Ms. Forel did not object to the majority of our position statement, and instead asked us to address a couple of factual inaccuracies or unproven assertions, which we have gladly done.  In exchange, we hope that Ms. Forel will likewise do the same where she has made factual errors or made unproven assertions on her website and in her newsletters.

Dear Ms. Forel:

We have received your email and have responded as soon as possible as I wish to address your concerns in a timely fashion.

I am glad that you recognize that we are not likely to agree on the subject of carriage horses – after all, you are the President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Blue Star Equiculture is an advocate for working horses!  Thank you for your comment, “We are never going to agree on how horses should be kept or whether or not they should be used to pull carriages.  It is a difference of opinion and you are certainly entitled to have a different one from me.”

I cannot help but note, then, that your position vis-à-vis the New York City carriage horses is, in fact, an OPINION.  You yourself assert that “It was the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages that brought this issue to the public after years of non-activity and disinterest. Since January 2006, we have been out there on the street educating people and creating support where there was none.”  In short, it was your OPINION that horses shouldn’t be used to pull carriages that led you and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages to make up an issue.  “We created an issue where there had been no interest since the early 1990s.” (http://www.banhdc.org/aboutus.shtml)

I would, however, insist that while my assertions (i.e. section headings) about what constitutes a good life for a horse is an opinion (an opinion, mind you, that is shared by MANY, MANY horsepeople), the FACTS marshaled to demonstrate how the New York City carriage horses live up to the standards of a good life for a horse are just that – FACTS.  (More on that later.)

It is outrageous that the facts have been distorted by “opinion” for so long and that the gross inaccuracies put forth by anti-carriage-horse activists have largely gone unchallenged. I should remind you that you cannot make legislation on mere opinion.  You're welcome to never take a carriage ride, and even to encourage others not to, either, so long as people understand that your objection largely comes from your belief that NO horses should be used for ANYTHING resembling "work".  But what is absolutely immoral is to not tell the truth.

Now let us turn to your email of May 21, 2011, and allow me to address your concerns.  In light of our efforts to always tell the truth to the best of our abilities, please note that I have revised the open letter published on our website where correction or clarification was needed.

Dear Christina:

I just read your “open letter” on the Blue Star web site.  We are never going to agree on how horses should be kept or whether or not they should be used to pull carriages.  It is a difference of opinion and you are certainly entitled to have a different one from me.

However, some of what you say on the web site is not opinion and is factually wrong and because of that could be the subject of a libel suit.  I suggest that you change the way you word things.

I take issue with these comments – the script format is from your web site:

1.  AC4H, knowing Elizabeth Forel’s and Equine Advocates’s anti-carriage-horse position, contacted them directly about Billy but also made it known online that there was a horse with a NYC hoof brand on the lot.

Neither AC4H, nor Christy Sheidy contacted either me or Susan Wagner about Billy/Bobby.  You cannot have proof that this happened because it did not.

2.  Instead, Equine Advocates and Elizabeth Forel have attempted, without evidence, to use Bobby’s story to accuse the carriage horse industry in New York of abuse, cruelty and neglect.  Rather than working to end slaughter, they have exploited a Percheron/Standardbred gelding named Billy to raise thousands of dollars to lobby to end the carriage business in New York City.

You have no information that Susan Wagner and I are working or not working on the slaughter issue.  One does not equate with the other.  Susan has actually put out information about Bobby’s condition – his limp; wormy belly, very bad teeth, and facial scars.  You also have no proof that we “raised thousands of dollars to lobby" because you do not have access to our bank account.  And frankly, lobbying City Council members is an exercise in futility.  Besides, it would not cost me a dime to lobby since I do not take a salary from my organization.

3.  When Billy immediately responded to his new name, “Bobby,” this was presented as evidence that he had only ever been called “hey, you!” or “hey, shithead!” (I am NOT making this up - this comes straight out of the Coalition to Ban Horse-drawn Carriages newsletter)

I would like you to produce this newsletter.  It is possible that I might have said this, but I doubt it since I am careful about not using profanities in a public forum.  I checked back and could not find anything.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Elizabeth Forel

President

Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

(May 21, 2011)

Let’s address each of your concerns in turn:

1.            Neither AC4H, nor Christy Sheidy contacted either me or Susan Wagner about Billy/Bobby.  You cannot have proof that this happened because it did not.

You are correct.  I do not have proof that Christy Sheidy or Another Chance for Horses contacted you about Billy.  I have removed that from the main letter, and edited accordingly.

I do have some questions that I would like you to answer to prove that you did not get the information about Billy from AC4H.

You yourself reported to the New York Times in their July 5, 2010 article, that “Elizabeth Forel of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages said Billy was sold at a regular Monday auction in New Holland, Pa., probably on June 21, to a broker. Ms. Forel, one of several advocates who try to track the fate of retired carriage horses, learned about him from another advocate. His status as a former carriage horse was confirmed by a four-digit number -- 2873 -- engraved on his left front hoof. Ms. Forel said she had only a few days before the broker who bought him - who buys horses at the auction in bulk - resold Billy, probably, given his age and condition, to a meat buyer to be trucked off to a slaughterhouse in Mexico or Canada (horse meat is popular in many countries).” [Emphasis added.]

Billy was labeled by AC4H as 6-22-12, meaning that he was the 12th horse photographed by Christy Sheidy on Brian Moore’s property on Tuesday, June 22nd (Tuesday being the day after the weekly MONDAY New Holland Auction).  The deadline for “bailing” horses from Brian Moore’s lot has always been 4 PM on Friday (in this case Friday, June 25, 2011.  Horses are then available for pickup on the following Monday).  If you indeed had “only a few days” to buy him from Brian Moore, then you COULD NOT have learned about Billy on Friday the 25th… If your statement was accurate, then it sounds as if you must have known about him on either the 22nd or the 23rd.

Meanwhile, the Examiner article from June 30th states: “But on Friday, June 25th, someone at the New Holland auction noticed four digits chiseled into Billy's left front foot, and knew that New York City requires this form of ‘branding’ on all of the carriage horses that march around Central Park. The unnamed good Samaritan quickly contacted Elizabeth Forel, who runs the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, to alert her to Billy's desperate plight.” [Emphasis added.]

Ms. Forel, the horse could not have been at the New Holland auction on Friday – he had arrived at Moore’s feedlot on Tuesday.   Moore’s feedlot is private property, and Christy Sheidy claims that she is the only one allowed on the property to photograph the horses.  (The horses stay on Moore's feedlot until the following Monday when they are delivered to a public pickup location at the New Holland sales barn.  It was “Elizabeth Forel, head of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, who was first tipped off about Bobby and put the wheels in motion.” [Emphasis added.] (Equine Advocates blog, September 13, 2010).  If it was not Christy or someone associated with AC4H who tipped you off “only a few days” before the FRIDAY deadline, then who made the call that allowed Equine Advocates to claim that they were able to "expedite" his rescue?

Please identify the “good Samaritan” who alerted you directly about Bobby and his hoof numbers, to PROVE that it was NOT Christy Sheidy or anyone associated with AC4H, and lay this issue to rest by clearing up the inconsistencies in the accounts of Bobby's rescue.

(Billy at Brian Moore's feedlot, being filmed on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, and being trotted out briefly, showing him serviceably sound.)

2.)           You have no information that Susan Wagner and I are working or not working on the slaughter issue.  One does not equate with the other.

No, they don’t equate, but that was not what I was saying.  Rather than use Billy’s story to further anti-slaughter campaigns, i.e. “Ban slaughter!”, he is being exploited to further the cause of “Ban carriages!”

Susan has actually put out information about Bobby’s condition – his limp; wormy belly, very bad teeth, and facial scars.

I have seen a few early claims about Bobby’s condition (which also admitted he was in good weight and had normal blood work), but I have not seen the actual paperwork from the vet indicating that these were conditions resulting from Bobby being in the city, as opposed to from being turned out for some period on the farm.  Wow bad is "very bad"?  Just looking for more information.  Could you provide the veterinary paperwork detailing the degree of lameness (not visible at the walk and trot in the video)?

It is clear that Bobby’s public image was carefully manipulated to tell the story that anti-carriage-horse activists wanted to tell.  For instance, on July 11th, Equine Advocates ran a blog entry titled “What a difference a day makes!” showing Billy upon his arrival at Equine Advocates on June 30th – contrasted with a photo from a few days later that shows Bobby as “happier.”  What then, about this photo from June 25th (or 28th... the blog post contradicts itself) immediately upon arrival at Rhinebeck Equine Hospital (the day his rescue was "expedited") where Billy’s expression is far better than it was in the photo on the 30th?  Horses have a wide variety of expressions – a not-so-photogenic image taken on June 30th is not indicative of Bobby’s overall emotional state.  Again the photo from June 30th is not “evidence” of abuse, neglect or cruelty in the New York City carriage industry.

Bobby 6-25-10 Bobby 6-30-10 Bobby 7-2-10
Bobby on June 25th? (or 28th?) Bobby on June 30th

Bobby a few days later.

(All photos by Equine Advocates.  All that these photos demonstrate is that horses have a wide variety of expressions.)

You also have no proof that we “raised thousands of dollars to lobby" because you do not have access to our bank account.  And frankly, lobbying City Council members is an exercise in futility.  Besides, it would not cost me a dime to lobby since I do not take a salary from my organization.

The Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages had a fundraiser on October 4th that specifically featured Bobby II Freedom and Susan Wagner as a selling point.  In fact, the only horse pictured on the invitation was Bobby.

In your own newsletter of October 3, 2010, you wrote:

“HOW YOUR DONATIONS ARE USED - a brief explanation

We very much appreciate every dollar that is donated by you to the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. When you make a contribution, you should feel confident that it will be put to good use in our campaign. For those of you who do not know, we started this coalition in early 2006. We are all volunteer and we pay no salaries. 100% of your donations go into the organization. The end of 2005 marked many years of no advocacy for carriage horses in NYC. In early 2006, we changed that. We have educated the media, politicians and the public on this issue and are very proud of the work we have done to put this on the radar screens. We realize the industry is institutionalized and that it is difficult to make changes. But we also know that if we give up, we are sure to fail. That is why we have every intention to stick with this cause.

Among other things, our monthly operating expenses include the fee for this newsletter and an ad that runs on Google. Recently we spent almost $1,500 to rescue Bobby. We could have paid the entire expense, but Friends of Animals wanted to split it with us. We always want to be in a position to pay for a carriage horse rescue. Our expenses also include maintaining two websites - www.banhdc.org and www.horseswithoutcarriages.org, web site design, fees for lobbying; government filing fees for various administrative papers, posters, flyers, copying expenses, graphic design. We have also made donations to horse rescues and sanctuaries. We are a 501(c)4 and a registered lobby group.” [Emphasis added.]

Not only that, your website, www.banhdc.org (which is funded through fundraisers such as the October 4th fundraiser featuring Susan Wagner giving a presentation about poster pony, Bobby II Freedom) SPECIFICALLY instructs your supporters to lobby City Council.   Equine Advocates likewise encourages such lobbying by the public by writing city council members and the mayor and instructs the public how to do so.

Finally, the blog entry from Equine Advocates, just posted on May 10, 2011, announced that, thanks to a Peter Max painting, “Bobby Wild and Free,” Equine Advocates would be raising AT LEAST $10,000 and “By immortalizing Bobby in a painting, Peter Max has helped attract even more attention to the cruel plight of urban carriage horses in New York City, across this country and throughout the world.”

Therefore, I must stand by my assertion that Bobby’s image has been exploited to the tune of thousands of dollars to further the cause of banning horse-drawn carriages in New York City.

3.)           I would like you to produce this newsletter.  It is possible that I might have said this, but I doubt it since I am careful about not using profanities in a public forum.  I checked back and could not find anything.

For your inspection, your newsletter from August 29, 2010: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs054/1101376025369/archive/1103642117513.html

Susan Wagner, president of Equine Advocates, said Bobby is a joy and everyone loves him. He is very sweet, gentle and smart. He knows his name, Bobby, and we all think that he was never called Billy. He was probably called "hey you" - or "s---head" or something equally as lovely. Bobby is still getting in touch with his true equine nature. When he first came to the sanctuary, he would stand still waiting to get tacked up as a carriage horse.

I have supplemented my original summary of your supposing (with evidence to the contrary!) that Bobby was probably called these epithets, with your direct quotation.

Here is a screenshot for posterity:

Bobby names

ERRORS TO BE CORRECTED and ASSERTIONS TO BE SUBSTANTIATED on WWW.BANHDC.ORG

Now it’s time that you and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages correct yourselves where YOU have erred.

In light of your concerns, and having redressed the wording where necessary, Blue Star Equiculture, on behalf of working horses in New York City and elsewhere, would kindly request that you extend the same courtesy in return.  We have noticed MANY blatantly untrue statements on www.banhdc.org or in your newsletter presented as “fact” as well as MANY unsubstantiated claims that you cannot “prove” and which are simply NOT a matter of “opinion.”

Ms. Forel, will the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages address the following, please?

Errors to be corrected or assertions to be substantiated on “Why a ban is necessary” http://www.banhdc.org/ch-why.shtml

The average working life of a carriage horse on NYC streets is under four years compared to a police horse whose working life is about 14 years. This information was derived from extensive research going back to the 1980s by the Carriage Horse Action Committee, which ceased operations in 1994.

Please provide the data from which this information was drawn.  Aside from being more than 17 years old, this claim does not indicate what the average age carriage horses were when they first enter the business in New York City, especially relative to the average age of police horses when they begin their careers.  Average age of leaving the industry vs retirement from the NYPD should also be compared.

On the streets of NY, these horses are constantly nose-to-tailpipe and often show corresponding respiratory impairment.

Your corresponding link is for a secondhand account of an UNPUBLISHED “study” from the 1980s.  Define “often.”  Provide evidence/data to contradict Dr. Lowe’s assertion that he found no evidence of respiratory impairment in a 2009 survey of 130 carriage horses in New York City.

Because they are not given adequate farrier care, lameness is often a problem.

Please provide proof of inadequate farrier care.   Please provide proof that lameness is “often” a problem, to refute Dr. Lowe’s findings.  Please provide proof that incidents of lameness in carriage horses occur at a higher rate than horses used by the NYPD or stabled elsewhere.

Horses must work in hot humid temperatures and in the brutal cold – nine hours a day, seven days a week and go back to stuffy stable where they have no opportunity for turnout.

Carriage stables in NYC have ventilation on multiple sides of the building and fans—the stable on 52nd St. has windows on all four sides.  Carriage horses, as I have shown in our original position statement, do not have “no opportunity” for turnout.  They are turned out AT LEAST 5 weeks per year, with many horses being turned out on grass for many months out of the year (6 months is not an unusual rotation schedule).  (A word of advice: if you are going to claim that drivers are not following this 5-week regulation, you need to PROVE it, or else that is LIBEL, put forth with the intent to damage reputation and business.)

Many of the stables are firetraps with inadequate sprinkler systems and fire protective devices and only one means of egress.

Define “inadequate” (I’m sure the NYFD could help you).  All four of the NYC carriage stables have working sprinkler systems that are up to code.  Some sprinklers, such as those at the 52nd St. barn, exceed standards.

When these horses are no longer fit to work the demanding streets of NYC, they are “retired” – many go to auction where their fate is unknown. “Killer Buyers” often buy these horses by the pound for the slaughterhouse.

Ms. Forel, if their fate is “unknown” then how in the world can you KNOW that “many go to auction” and that kill buyers “often” buy these horses?  Please explain your logic and provide evidence.

There would never be enough agents to ensure that the drivers are obeying the law; that they are not traveling out of the area; that their horses do not have ill fitting tact [sic] that causes sores; that they are not working when it is too hot, too cold or under adverse weather conditions; that they do not over-load their carriages; that they drive responsibly.

[By the way, it is “tack” that one puts on a horse, not “tact.”]  ASPCA agents as well as city agents have access to horses in their stables at any hour, where they can be inspected without their harness.  Harness sores could not be hidden.  I have visited the carriage stables myself and have seen the horses being unharnessed and without their harness in their stalls, and I have not seen any harness sores. Please provide evidence of citations for harness sores.

You assert that regulations are “impossible to adequately enforce.”  By your definition, traffic laws for cars are likewise “impossible to adequately enforce.”

Section 17-331 of the NYC Administrative Code - The Rental Horse Licensing and Protection Law - calls for an Advisory Board that would make recommendations to the DoH commissioner about regulations necessary to promote the health, safety and well-being of the horses. It currently does not exist.

This is patently UNTRUE.  The carriage horse Advisory Board absolutely exists and meets regularly.  This is very easy for you to verify.  Please correct immediately.

Errors to be corrected or assertions to be substantiated on "Carriage Horse Accidents" http://www.banhdc.org/ch-acc.shtml

However, because many of the stables have little fire protection, the possibility of a fire is great.

All NYC carriage stables have sprinkler systems.  Fire safety is a priority, and the possibility of a barn fire in NYC carriage stables is much less than most other barns – compare the systems in place (such as sprinklers, 24-hour occupancy by stablehands, and proximity to a world-class fire department) in New York City with the failed systems in the barn fires you cite.

Errors to be corrected and assertions to be substantiated on “But What Will Happen To The Carriage Horses?” http://www.banhdc.org/whatwillhap.shtml

I would like to disabuse those of any notion that the horses go to a sanctuary or are otherwise retired to good homes. While some undoubtedly do get good homes, many of them go on to auction – often the first step to a slaughterhouse.  And the person who brings the horse to auction is the owner - the horses do not walk there by themselves.

“Disabuse those of ***any*** notion”??? I know of many NYC carriage horses in excellent homes – MOST go on to good homes after they are done working in the industry; aside from Bobby II and Gentle Giants’ “Manhattan,” please substantiate your claim by naming the “many” horses that go on to auction. (And the person who brought Bobby to the auction was not his owner anyway…)

This is an industry that has over 200 horses with a very high turnover. Past research by the Carriage Horse Action Committee (now defunct) and confirmed by the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages revealed that the average working life of a carriage horse on the streets of NYC is about four years.

We are still awaiting the data to support your assertion.

Some of the horses probably do go on to good homes – but how many good homes are there just waiting for a big carriage horse? Horses are very expensive to maintain properly.

Quite true, so what makes you think that if the carriages are banned that 200 homes able to financially support such horses can immediately be found?

Over 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the United States last year for the foreign dinner plate. Surely some of them were carriage horses.

Pure speculation. Identify a carriage horse who has shipped to slaughter. Do not say that Bobby was GOING to be shipped. Brian Moore buys and sells horses all the time outside of his regular slaughter contract.

A report coauthored by Temple Grandin and others - “Survey of Trucking Practices and Injury to Slaughter Horses” discusses this industry. She states that most of the carriage horses originated from Pennsylvania – home of New Holland auctions and conveniently close to NYC.

I have read this report. She speaks of Standardbred carriage horses, most of whom originated from Pennsylvania. These are Amish buggy horses, not commercial carriage horses she is talking about.

Errors to be corrected and assertions to be substantiated on “Can we keep the horses in the park?” http://www.banhdc.org/centralpark.shtml

Presently, the horses live in cramped quarters in five multi-storied stables on the far west side of Manhattan.

All horses in NYC currently live in box stalls. There are only FOUR stables in Manhattan. Please update.

Errors to be corrected and assertions to be substantiated on "Happy Endings" http://www.banhdc.org/ch-hap.shtml

What happens to all the horses who are no longer able to work in the grueling horse carriage business – the ones who have pulled carriages full of tourists on asphalt streets, breathing in car exhaust; on the most humid days? Certainly a life in a horse sanctuary or one on a farm being loved by a wonderful family only awaits a very few. The average working life of a NYC carriage horse is only four years. When a horse is no longer able to do the job, the easiest and quickest way for an owner to dispose of him is to bring the horse to auction – such as the infamous horse auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania. Many of these horses are sold for slaughter – a sad end to a sad life.

Again, provide evidence that “only a few” carriage horses get a wonderful retirement. MOST carriage horses go on to retirement / other homes as riding horses. Prove your allegations. Prove the 4 year working life by providing data. Prove that carriage horses are going to slaughter.

There are too many spurious allegations and speculations - wrapped in ridiculous rhetoric - in the “happy endings” listed on the site for me to dissect them all here at this time (some other time, OK?).

Errors to be corrected or assertions to be substantiated on “Cities that have banned the carriage horse industry.” http://www.banhdc.org/archives/ch-fact-cities.html

FLORIDA

Kenneth City
Key West
Deerfield Beach
Palm Beach
Panama City Beach
Pompano Beach
Treasure Island

MISSISSIPPI

Biloxi

NEVADA

Las Vegas
Reno

NEW MEXICO

Santa Fe

NEW JERSEY

Camden

SOUTH CAROLINA

Broadway at the Beach – the carriage operator was subjected to such heavy restrictions that the company folded last year

ENGLAND – London, Oxford

FRANCE – Paris

CHINA – Beijing

CANADA - Toronto

But Ms. Forel, carriages are NOT banned in the majority of the cities on this list! It is certainly true that all animal-powered vehicles are banned from Key West, Florida, but commercial carriage horses can be found in many of these cities. I strongly suggest that you provide ordinance number citations and excerpted wording for each and every one of these cities where you claim that carriage horses have been “banned.”

Here, I'll even help you!

Kenneth City, FL

Sec. 14-2. Commercial animal-drawn carriages.
(b) Operation of commercial animal-drawn carriages in public places. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause to be operated, in any public place within the town, any vehicle, carriage or other apparatus which is powered or propelled by an animal independent of or in conjunction with a mechanized means of power or propulsion. (c) Penalty for violation of section. Any person who violates any provisions of this section shall, upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, be punished as provided in section 1-15.

Pompano Beach, FL

§ 115.03 ANIMAL-DRAWN CARRIAGES.
(B) No person for any reason, profit or non-profit, shall engage in, participate or otherwise manage in any manner the operation of a carriage drawn by an animal on the public streets and rights-of-way within the corporate limits of Pompano Beach with the exception of the owners, agents, employees of the Pompano Harness Track or the animal's owner, agents and employees while the animal is housed at the Pompano Harness Track who may cross Southwest Third Street (Arvida Pompano Park Place) at designated locations or unless specifically permitted.

Treasure Island, FL

Sec. 50-97. Unlawful to operate commercial animal-drawn carriages in public places.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate commercially or cause to be operated in any public place within the city any vehicle, carriage or other apparatus which is powered or propelled by an animal independent of or in conjunction with a mechanized means of power or propulsion.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the Florida cities you have cited, I have little or no evidence of these bans and would like you to substantiate them.

Palm Beach, FL, a small island, has banned carriage horses it seems, but neighboring West Palm Beach, the much larger community, has many carriage horses.  I have not found ordinances for Panama City Beach, bearing in mind as well that Panama City Beach and Panama City are two different entities.

I can find no evidence of an ordinance banning carriage horses from Deerfield Beach. What I did find was that in 1991, the carriage operator there was prohibited from driving on the beach or on beachfront streets. (If this constitutes a “ban” – well, then, your work is over! Carriages likewise are banned from traveling below 34th St. in Manhattan, so I guess, by your logic, carriages are banned in New York City.)

Meanwhile, in Biloxi, MS, commercial carriage horses are banned, but carriage horses are welcome to participate in permitted parades.

Sec. 20-1-12. Operation of animal drawn vehicles prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful, except during legally permitted parades, to operate or cause to be operated upon the streets any vehicle, of whatever nature, drawn by animals for any purpose within the corporate limits of the city. (b) The penalty for violation of this section shall be the same as provided in this chapter, as set forth in section 20-3-22.

Moving on down the list!

Las Vegas has at least one carriage company in operation. They began last year, as described in a news article. Carriages are not allowed on “The Strip” but are allowed elsewhere (such as in the Arts District), but yes, you can get married at a Las Vegas drive-in wedding chapel in a horse and carriage. Carriage rides are given at nearby Mount Charleston and Fort Lamb State Park, too.

Las Vegas

Reno has at least one carriage company that will do weddings and carriage rides in the city.  Here's a picture of a carriage horse in Reno from 2006, so if there is a total ban on carriage horses, the ordinance must date from later than that.

Reno, Nevada 2006

Camden, NJ, has prohibited horses working from a hack line, but it is absolutely legal for a carriage that does not operate in that city on a daily basis to come into the city to work for a job. Philadelphia carriage horses have been brought to Camden on many occasions for weddings, proms and other events in a perfectly legal manner, as prescribed by the existing ordinance.

Santa Fe, NM has horses who pull the stagecoach at Bonanza Creek, and a number of companies are based in Santa Fe who do horse-drawn carriage service.  One company, Bear Creek Adventures LC, is "the first and currently the only company permitted by the City of Santa Fe to operate carriages for daily rides and special events."

Santa Fe

Broadway at the Beach, SC.  Heavily regulating an industry to the point that the one operator there closed does not constitute a ban.  If one wanted, one could absolutely go set up a company there and follow the ordinance for legal operation of a carriage concession.  Carriage horses are welcome to come work in this town.

Toronto is served by many commercial carriage companies located outside the city that bring their carriage horses into the city to work upon request. Such carriage companies give seasonal rides in Allan Park as well.

Toronto

London has not banned carriage horses either. While there is no longer a hack line in Hyde Park (where, mind you, you can still RENT a horse to RIDE), Westways Carriages provides services throughout the city and in Oxford, too, and carriage rides and horse-tram rides are available at Richmond Palace in the city on a daily basis. The recent royal wedding likewise has demonstrated the well-documented routine presence of horses, both in harness and under saddle in the streets of London, thanks to the Royal Household Cavalry, the Metropolitan Police, and the Royal Mews.

Richmond Palace, Hampton Court

Beijing, China, may have banned horses in general from the central business and tourist district, but daily hundreds of horses go to work doing real work delivering produce and transporting other goods. Following the recent popularity of the royal wedding in London, Chinese wedding planners have hired horses and carriages for couples seeking out a similar conveyance to their nuptials, in Nanjing and elsewhere.

Beijing

Paris has NEVER banned carriage horses – they simply did not have carriages for 40 years before they were reintroduced within the past decade. Now there are multiple carriage companies operating within the city, and there is a hack line at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Hack Line

In sum, with the exception of Key West and a few other small beach towns in Florida, I challenge you to find any other place that has completely banned horse-drawn vehicles. Certainly, if you stick to the FACTS and remove the cities that clearly have carriage horses that work there, your list grows a LOT shorter (Kenneth City, Key West, Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, Treasure Island, and Biloxi, MS).

Your “opinion” that horses should not pull carriages is actually shared by VERY FEW municipal governments anywhere. I trust that in the interest of being honest and truthful, you and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages will remove these false statements about carriage horse bans from your website and literature and will never again tell the lie that carriage horses are banned in Paris, London, Toronto, Beijing, Las Vegas, etc.

*************************************************************************

Well, I could go on – there are many more factual errors and unsubstantiated assertions one could easily take issue with, but I don't want to overwhelm you or our readers. I will leave it at these six pages on your website for you to address and either substantiate or correct, as I don’t want to overburden your webmaster, as this could take a while.  When you're done, I have other inaccuracies and errors for you at a later date.

I will leave you with your own words, Ms. Forel. Some of what you say on the website is not opinion and is factually wrong and because of that could be the subject of a libel suit.  I suggest that you change the way you word things.

We will await your corrections and public retraction.

Best,

Christina Hansen, for Blue Star Equiculture

2.) http://www.banhdc.org/ch-acc.shtml Carriage Horse Accidents

However, because many of the stables have little fire protection, the possibility of a fire is great.

All NYC carriage stables have sprinkler systems. Fire safety is a priority, and the possibility of a barn fire in NYC carriage stables is much less than most other barns – compare the systems in place (such as sprinklers, 24-hour occupancy by stablehands, and proximity to a world-class fire department) in New York City with the failed systems in the barn fires you cite.
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