Friday, April 17, 2009

NYC, Help Keep Carriage Horses Safe--Oppose Intro. 653!

Intro. 653Carriage Horse Industry

Bill Sponsor(s): Councilmembers Kendall Stewart, Simcha Felder, David Weprin, G. Oliver Koppell

ASPCA Position: Oppose

Action Needed: Please send an email or mail a letter(.doc) to your New York City councilmember urging him or her to oppose Intro. 653.
Intro. 653 is a bill currently before the City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee that seeks to eliminate the authority of the city’s departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Consumer Affairs, the NYC Police Department and agents of the ASPCA—who have expertise in equine care and a commitment to the welfare of animals—to inspect carriage horse stables.
The sight of a carthorse being brutally beaten by his driver spurred Henry Bergh to found the ASPCA in 1866—and the ASPCA has worked to protect New York City’s working horses ever since. The ASPCA is currently the primary agency enforcing the city’s carriage horse laws.
The ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) agents: monitor horses and their drivers out in the field; conduct routine and periodic inspections of the hack line; inspect logbooks in order to enforce the limit of hours horses may work each day and verify the “trip cards” carried by drivers; enforce the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s rules and regulations on the proper medical care, treatment, and housing of carriage horses in the City; and monitor the care and condition of the horses at their stables. This includes: checking stalls for proper bedding, size and cleanliness; ensuring that horses are fed a proper diet that is free of vermin; and
evaluating lighting, ventilation and unsafe conditions.
Intro. 653 calls for the inspection of the stables by a “single entity that has veterinary training in the care of horses,” but does not state who would select this entity or who would fund the inspections. There is no language in this bill that would prevent the carriage horse industry from self-regulating through a third-party arrangement.
Without access to the stables, the ASPCA cannot monitor the conditions of the horses or their living environments, and will no longer be able to ensure that failures to comply with the law are addressed.
What You Can Do Help the ASPCA continue in our role as advocate and protector of our city’s carriage horses by urging your New York City councilmember to oppose Intro. 653. Please download this sample letter and then customize, print and mail it(.doc). You also may copy the letter into your personal email account and email it to your councilmember.
Find out who represents you and obtain your councilmember’s email and mailing addresses here.
Please also ask friends and family who live in New York City to send their own letters to their councilmembers.
Thank you for your support.

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