By Elizabeth Forel
There has been yet another carriage horse accident in New York City. On June 9th, a Belgian draft named Pumpkin was waiting at the hack line at Central Park South when something spooked him and he bolted, charging into the park, dragging his driverless carriage – coming at people. A tourist jumped into the carriage trying to control him. His driver was on the sidewalk and obviously not paying attention – something we often see.
Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker, who was in the area, tweeted ”Almost got ran over by a horse carriage running wild through the city.” What would have happened if he had been trampled and injured or worse? Would it have been a game changer?
NYC continues to dodge the bullet but it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.
Mayor deBlasio promised to ban the inhumane and unsafe horse-drawn carriage trade his first week in office and many people voted for him based on that promise. They also voted for him because of his progressive agenda. He quickly learned that this was a very complicated issue and a ban could not happen in a short time frame. He has said it will happen by the end of the year. And we believe him. But our patience is running thin.
Bill deBlasio is the first mayor who gets it, who has expressed compassion for these horses and a real understanding of the safety issue. He is a true advocate who has had a lot thrown at him by the right wing press – but he continues to be resolute and steadfast on his promise.
That’s what a true leader does. However, we want to impress upon the Mayor that he needs to take this more seriously and to ultimately accept the responsibility for these accidents because they are happening on his watch.
Because action was not taken early, the other side’s untruthful rhetoric now defines the issue – at least to the gullible who believe everything they read and hear. In the present onslaught of media bias against the pending carriage horse ban, which started in September after deBlasio won the Democratic mayoral primary, the rationale for a ban has been ignored. We’ve not been given equal time in the media and when we’re given any time at all; our comments are often manipulated in favor of the drivers.
The NY Daily News has been the worst offender by far, not even pretending to be objective. They even went so far as to set up a petition against the ban, handing out stickers on Central Park South telling people that the Mayor plans to send the horses to slaughter to be made into dog food. They have seemingly made this a crusade against Mayor deBlasio’s progressive agenda, using the horse-drawn carriage issue as a metaphor. To responsible journalists, it should beg the question of what exactly is going on – what has prompted this blitzkrieg. But they have been quiet on this subject.
So when Quinnipiac does a poll in this kind of biased environment, it should not be taken seriously. Months and months of propaganda and brain washing have been fed to the public – the very people who participate in the poll. Prior to this time, every poll taken showed between 75 and 80% of respondents in favor of a ban.
“It’s the Horses, Stupid”
What the media has lost sight of in their quest to bring down Mayor deBlasio, is that the very nature of the horse makes this majestic animal unsuitable to work on the crowded streets of NYC. Although gentle by nature, at 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, they can become uncontrollable, unwitting weapons when spooked. As prey animals, their nature is to respond to upsetting stimuli in a flight or fight manner – just as Pumpkin did. Horses are predictably unpredictable and there is no such thing as a “bomb proof” horse. (“It’s the economy, stupid” – was a campaign phrase coined by James Carville for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. It means, it was indeed the economy – just as – this issue is about the horses and their nature.)
A NYC carriage horse begins his or her day by getting “suited up” with the heavy equipment required to pull a carriage. As prey animals, a horse’s eyes are located on the side of their head to allow them to see who is coming from behind. To work the streets of NYC, a horse must wear blinders to block his peripheral vision. Often, the horse has a check rein to prevent him from lowering his head. The horse is confined between the shafts of his carriage with very little freedom of movement and can legally work up to nine hours a day, seven days a week. Much of the time he is stuck on the hack line, tied to his carriage and bored – behavior that is often manifested by repetitive stomping.
The opposition says they are “work horses” –but I beg to differ. They are entertainment horses in a frivolous, and out dated business. More....