Do the Neighs Have It? Activists Try to Dissuade Tourists from Carriage Rides

img 0682 Do the Neighs Have It? Activists Try to Dissuade Tourists from Carriage RidesThe two little blonde girls, each no more than nine, stood next to their parents on the cobblestone sidewalk at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, slouching in the way only bored children can. Moments before, an older woman had come up to the family wielding a flyer emblazoned with the words “DON’T RIDE A HORSE CARRIAGE,” and proceeded to feverishly explain what she viewed as the evils of the industry. During the speech, the girls’ father stared blankly into the intersection. He finally looked down at his daughter and asked, “What do you think about that? You asked earlier…about the horses? How they were treated?”

The girl didn’t have long to respond. After observing the interaction, a carriage driver finally swooped in. “Let me give our side of the story now,” he said before leading the family to his brown horse and extravagant carriage, explaining that the horse used to work in Amish country. The driver set the girl up with a carrot to feed his horse and before long the family climbed in for their twenty-minute ride through Central Park. 

It’s time for us to educate back,” explained the driver, Erez Ziv, before leading his horse down the street.

And so went most of Sunday afternoon as volunteers with New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safes Streets (NYCLASS) educated passersby—mostly tourists—on how the animals “suffer from injury, abuse and neglect.” Just a week after one horse fell, and two months since the on-the-job death of another, Charlie, the gathering was part of four holiday “Teach the Tourists” events this month where volunteers distribute anti-horse carriage flyers, triggering steely looks and curt comments from drivers.

“We’re not in your face,” Allie Feldman, the group’s lead organizer, told The Transom. “It would be counter-productive to scream.”

Before sending out volunteers, Ms. Feldman explained that their strategy should be creating a conversation with people. Talking points should include the abuse of the horses, as well as the group’s solution: a City Council bill, Intro. 86A, which would increase restrictions on horse carriages and eventually replace them with electric, antique cars or  “horseless carriages.”

While most drivers managed to ignore the public relations nightmare happening not three feet from their customers, a few shouted or grumbled in the volunteers’ direction. We heard a few “Fuck you”s—at least one shouted in a thick Irish brogue.

Ashley Arias, a student at Fordham University, said that a driver called her a “lying little bitch” on Saturday. But Ms. Arias didn’t seem to mind their comments or being a harasser herself—the holiday season was the best time to get the group’s message across. “This is when they want to ride the horses the most,” she said.

About ten volunteers showed up on Sunday, but pedicab solicitors soon joined their ranks. “This guy’s an entrepreneur,” said volunteer Erika Mansourian, pointing at one. “He’s working the abuse into his pitch.”

(Stephen Malone, president of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City said, “NYCLASS is getting in the faces of our customers and interfering with our business, claiming that our horses are ‘abused and suffering.”‘ If we try to correct them on their so-called facts, I’m labeled an ‘animal abuser’ as are my customers.  No New York City carriage driver, owner or stable has ever been cited for cruelty.  Pulling a carriage through Central Park does not constitute abuse.”)

One carriage driver stood a few feet from a cluster of volunteers, rolling his eyes. Did he think the flyers were going to hurt his business? “Look around,” he said with a gruff chuckle. As for the accusations of abuse, the driver said he takes such good care of his horse, Cosmo, that he’s overweight. “It’s convenient for them to have other facts,” the driver said.

Cosmo’s owner wouldn’t give us his name because he wasn’t so sure we weren’t part of an undercover anti-carriage operation, rather than a reporter. If we weren’t distracted by the earthy smell of horse dung, we’d probably have been more offended.

The above article has been updated to include a comment from Stephen Malone of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York as it appears in the print edition of The New York Observer.


  1. Sheila Weinstein says:

    Thanks, Anna for writing about our efforts. I’m the ‘older woman’ who tried desperately to keep that little familyfrom taking the carriage ride. It was a terrible lesson the father taught his little girls.Shame on him and all the other people who told us..”I don’t want to hear! I don’t want to know about the horses!” Unbelievable!

    1. Olivia says:

      These horses are well-treated and highly regulated. NYCCLASS’s founder started this campaign so he could get hold of the land the stables are located on. The protesters should be arrested for harassment and interfering with the operation of a business.

    2. Hrslady59 says:

      They just don’t want to hear your radical, delusional, unfounded BS. They have eyes, they can SEE the horses are healthy, cared for, clean, and well shod. Nothing unbelievable about it.

    3. SLH says:

      I have news for you Sheila if you think the carriage drivers are rough necks and thugs for protecting their horses and business from you. Try pulling that garbage on me or my family. You have NO RIGHT to intrude on any ones personal space and how delusional do you have to be to behave that way in front of children. 

      I’d happily bring my daughter to NYC to go for a Carriage ride to support them see the sights including the crazy ole lady with the dead horse sign. I guess in a way parents should thank you for giving their children an impromptu lesson in how not to behave in public unless your a crazy fool ! 

    4. bayoubengalfirst says:

      Sheila Weinstien- Why don’t you find a REAL cause to support and work for –like caring for the homeless, or helping illiterate children and adults learn to read or raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project?

      The tourists don’t need education about heavy horses since, if as you all claim, most are from the Midwest. There are plenty of farm, hitch and carriage horses, as well as light horse breeds in the Midwest.

      Actually, those responses were rather mild. I would have told you to go mind your own business and not try to upset my children.

  2. Stoptheabuse says:

    please see horsesinnyc on youtube.  These drivers are thugs who have no respect for women much less for the poor horses.  in fact, two of the women were attacked that same day after the observer reporter left.  Police took the report and the carriage driver name.  Bunch of abusive thugs

    1. Murat2trot says:

      And the NYPD told NY-CLASS they had to leave, for interfering with business, which is against the law.

  3. nice article..I’m glad because i am the who visit your site..thanks for sharing..

  4. Lgrechen says:

    Thank god people are out there educating tourists. It’s easy to get swept up in the romanticism of horse drawn carriages, and someone needs to explain how miserable these animals’ lives really are. Horses don’t belong in the middle of NYC traffic. Four have collapsed on the street since October alone. NYCLASS is doing great work. 

    1. Hrslady59 says:

      NY CLASS is the brain child of a real estate developer that is using the RARA’s to further his money driven agenda, and you fools are too ignorant to see it for what it is. That’s ok, they are now under investigation by the attorney generals office of NY and soon will be exposed for their crooked criminal ways. They will all be going down!

      1. Anonymous says:

        Looks like Eva Hughes is in town! Eva is the 350 pound VP of the carriage horse association. 

      2. Murat2trot says:

        Wrong.  Try again. 

      3. thedrafthorse says:

        Wow.  And the NY-CLASSists want to complain about the rhetoric used by the carriage drivers… and claim that THEY are the misogynist thugs… Sheesh.

      4. Mean people SUCK says:

        What does one’s weight have to do with anything?? What are you, a catty 13-yr-old? I wouldn’t know this Eva person from Adam, but I already like her just because a bigoted moron like you appears not to!

      5. bayoubengalfirst says:

        Well, it looks like a member of the “junior high school mean girls club” is already here- misty626. Shame on you.

    2. Skypony says:

      Only one Horse collapsed in October.

      1. Murat2trot says:

        Only one horse has collapsed PERIOD since NY-CLASS has been in existence (since August 2008). 

        The other “collapses” are what you, me, or any other person would call a trip and fall.  BIG difference – but that doesn’t matter to this group that will stop at NOTHING to slander and defame the carriage industry, facts be damned.

  5. volunteer says:

    I was one of the two volunteers who was rough shoved by driver #1006 (he wouldn’t give his name, of course). In between their phony “And what’s your name?” to the children, they swore at us, told tourists that we were “homeless” and “being paid” and “nut jobs.” Their behavior toward us tells you a lot about how they treat their animals. 

    1. Hrslady59 says:

      Honestly I think the drivers are being far too nice. “Nut jobs” doesn’t even come close to how loony the RARA’s (Radical Animal Rights Activists) really are.  I think he showed his daughters an EXCELLENT life lesson not to believe in fringe group gossip!  Woot for Dad!

    2. Joe Burzell says:

      are you a strict vegetarian who’s never eaten a scrap of meat? no? then stfu and go and protest at a slaughterhouse. there you will find a sharper example of animal mistreatment.
      are you a resident of nyc? no? then stfu and let the rest of us alone who do live here and are trying to earn a living to support our families. and make NY visitors happy in the process.
      are you studying veterinary medicine? no? then stfu because you’re not in a position to speak about how a horse or any animal should be treated.
      there are thousands of children – human beings – who live in NYC and are abused by their parents every day.  this is the real tragedy. if you’re concerned about life on the planet, start with human life and focus your efforts on something that can improve society.

    3. bayoubengalfirst says:

      And VOLUNTEER- What exactly WERE you doing? Were you busy shoving flyers at potential carriage passengers and interfereing with the carriage drivers’ RIGHT to engage in commerce? Did you get between the drivers and their fares? Did you attempt to browbeat children and their parents to NOT take carriage rides?Did you make untrue and disparaging remarks about the drivers? Did you call them any names? Id you randomly shout “HORSE ABUSER” aor “ANIMAL ABUSER” while trying to get people to take copies of your propaganda? Did you attempt to get too close to a carriage horse without permission or try to feed it something? Just wondering why a busy carriage driver would bother to “rough shove” you.

      What in the world is the conclusion we are supposed to draw between a driver shoving someone out of the way who is trying to take his job away and get his livelihood banned and the way he treats the very same horse whose job he is trying to protect along with his own? I can tell you, that if you harrassed me and got too close for my comfort to my horse, I would shove you if you refused to step back. I take excellent care of my carriage horse, and that includes protectiing her from any potential threat from someone who is obviously hostile to me and to her. So glad I don’t live and work in NYC.

  6. Murat2Trot says:

    It would help if NYCLASS were actually “educating” tourists about horses and their lives in NYC instead of repeating FALSE and unsubstantiated statements about them.

    Carriage horses in NYC are not abused.  It is not abuse to pull a carriage or to live in the city, any more than it is abuse for a dog to walk down the city or be kept in an apartment. 

    NYCLASS is preying on people’s emotions.

    And for the record, NYCLASS may not have been “screaming” – but they were interfering with business, which is against the law… The NYPD told them to shove off and they were forced to leave.

  7. Debrany19 says:

    this needs to stop, we need more people at the demos.  please share this story and keep up on updates where and when the next demo is and come, bring friends….

    1. Ceware says:

      Yes, there DOES need to be more people there — COUNTER-PROTESTING against you bullies. How about it NYC??

      1. bayoubengalfirst says:

        If I lived anywhere near NYC, I would be there to help document the abuse the carriage drivers have had to put up with weekly for years. It is very disheartening to see hardworking people hassled just for trying to m ake a living- especially in these hard times. The radical anti-carriage horse forces have bullied individuals and even corporations alike for too long. Anyone remember the chaos they caused marching through the American Girl Sore shouting and name-calling. What did Americal Girl do? They caved in and cancelled their carriage ride packages instead of calling the police and having those loud-mouthed tresspassers arrested.

  8. thedrafthorse says:

    I am amazed that people “don’t understand” why the carriage drivers are “curt” or generally distrustful of NY-CLASS.  NY-CLASS has made it a POLICY of LYING about the carriage industry in an effort to take away people’s horses and their jobs…

    For instance, NY-CLASS claims the horses live in tiny stalls that they can’t lie down in.  This is FALSE.  FACT: All NYC carriage horses live in box stalls.  _The Observer_ was on-hand to OBSERVE this for themselves at Clinton Park Stables in November, where more than half of the carriage horses live.

    NY-CLASS claims that the carriage stables are “firetraps” – Also NOT TRUE.  FACT: All NYC stables have high-volume sprinkler systems and all the fire extinguishers required by law, and are constructed primarily of masonry and concrete.  This goes above and beyond what nearly all “country” barns have to protect their horses.

    NY-CLASS claims that carriage horses “live half as long and suffer more” than “normal” horses.  Where are they getting these claims from?  FACT: Carriage horses live lifespans typical of the average horse.  Many NYC carriage horses work well into their late teens and early 20s, before being rehomed to other careers as carriage horses elsewhere, pleasure driving horses, therapeutic riding horses, or pasture ornaments.

    The FACT is that by trying to get people to NOT take carriage rides, NY-CLASS is directly working against the best interest and welfare of the HORSES, who need paying fares so that their drivers can afford to keep them and give them vet care.

    (Oh, and by the way, NY-CLASS LIES about the vet care, too…  ALL NYC carriage horses are seen by licensed veterinarians AT LEAST 2x a year… really 3 or 4 times per year, since horses are given check ups before going to and returning from their mandatory vacations on pasture.)

    The “EDUCATION” NY-CLASS is providing is not educational… it’s propaganda, slander and libel.

    1. Guest says:

       Though some of what you say might be true, how would you explain the four incidents involving horse carriages in just October alone? Though they may be treated well and live in adequate conditions, horses do not belong in NYC traffic. Sure they might have a nice place to live, but it is too dangerous to allow horses to run along side vehicles in the busy streets of NYC.

      1. thedrafthorse says:

        FOUR incidents in October alone?  WHAT are you TALKING about?

        Let’s review for those catching up at home:

        10/23 – CHARLIE dies unexpectedly and for unknown reasons on his way to work.  The ASPCA seizes the horse and sends him off for a necropsy at Cornell. The gross physical necropsy shows no cause of death.  An ulcer and fractured tooth are listed as “incidental findings” which in ‘necropsy-ese’ means that they DID NOT contribute to the (unknown) cause of death.  But the ASPCA pressured their vet, Dr. Pamela Corey to issue a misleading statement that implied that somehow the horse was neglected or in pain.  Dr. Corey issues a retraction to the Department of Health wherein she reports that she was pressured and taken out of context by the ASPCA, but that there was NO evidence that anyone would have known about the ulcer or the tooth, and that the carriage horses are otherwise well cared for.  The ASPCA suspended her for not sharing their “beliefs” about carriage horses.

        10/28 – Shortly after a vigil for Charlie breaks up and anti-carriage-horse activists pass the carriage stand, a night shift horse spooks and bolts up 59th St. before heading into the park and crashing his carriage.  No others are involved in the incident.  The carriage is damaged but NO ONE is hurt.  The horse was absolutely fine and was walked back to the stable without incident.

        11/4 – A carriage horse named Luke bucked and tripped, putting a leg over the shaft on his way home from work on the first day back after 6 days of the horses being unable to work due to storm damage in the park.  Luke lay calmly until his driver could unharness him and push the carriage back.  Luke was completely unhurt and walked back to his stable without incident.  He was inspected by the ASPCA and cleared for work the next day.

        12/4 – A white Percheron being driven around the corner at 5th and 59th St. lost his footing (tripped or slipped) and fell down.  The video of this incident shows that he fell with his hips over the shaft, which made it impossible to back the carriage away, and difficult for the horse to get up without help.  Despite being CURSED at by anti-carriage-horse protesters, his driver kept his horse calm and was able to take charge of the situation to help his horse get his feet under him and up.  The video CLEARLY shows that this horse was in good weight, was not sweating, and was not breathing heavily, indicating that reports that this horse was being “overworked” are clearly not true, as the horse did not demonstrate any indication that he was in distress.  The ASPCA has since evaluated the horse and determined that he is fine and he has been cleared to returned to work.

        None, absolutely NONE of these incidents had ANYTHING to do with traffic, and despite what NY-CLASS says, neither of the horses that tripped and fell “collapsed.” 

      2. thedrafthorse says:

        For the record – as this compilation shows, these are the only 4 “incidents” in the past 6 weeks, and I don’t know that the average “tourist” or member of the public would consider ALL or really any of them “accidents” in the traditional sense of the word (which would involve a vehicle and a crash, since the name of the organization involves the phrase “safe streets”). 

        Yet NY-CLASS’s “educational” flyers they were handing out this weekend include the (overly cheery) phrase “5 accidents in 6 weeks!”

        Apparently FACTS don’t matter to NY-CLASS and they seem to be just making stuff up now.

      3. Ceware says:

        Now?? When have they ever not just made stuff up? From what I have read, and my experience with radical animal rights activists in general, AT LEAST 75% of what they say on any topic is fabricated out of whole cloth!

        It is not the truth that matters to them, nor is it the animals! It is their own delusion of themselves as superior to everyone else and their craving to have power over other that drives them . They will (and DO)  make up whatever “facts” they need to accomplish that.

      4. thedrafthorse says:

        Also – I think that the RECORD speaks for itself.  In the past 30 years, there have been only THREE carriage horse fatalities due to traffic.  In 1985, in 1990 and in 2006 (Spotty).  There have been NO human fatalities. 

        In comparison, based on records that we have been able to compile, approximately 16 or 17 NYPD mounted patrol horses have died in the line of duty, and there are only about 1/3 as many police horses as licensed carriage horses.  Why is NY-CLASS not in Times Square harassing the NYPD mounted officers?  (And NYPD horses live in VERY similar stables and work in very similar conditions…)

        Consider that in March 2011 in ONE weekend, there were THREE eventing horses killed in competition.  Human fatalities are high in eventing, too, with 37 riders killed between 1997 and 2008.  Why is this relevant?  Well, not only did the same number of horses die in a single weekend in a wide-spread and accepted equestrian discipline as have died in THIRTY YEARS in NYC due to traffic, but eventing is the sport of choice of Steve Nislick, the co-president of NY-CLASS.  Why are carriage horses in NYC worthy of banning, but NY-CLASS’s supporters and leaders OK not only with the sport of eventing but ACTIVELY participate in it?

        Show horses (such as eventers or jumpers or halter horses or cutting horses) ROUTINELY are exposed to the dangers of traffic, only unlike carriage horses, they are traveling at 55 or 65 mph hurtling down busy highways every weekend all across the country.  THOUSANDS of horses are put “at risk” this way all the time. 

        I’m not buying your argument – and I’m not buying NY-CLASS.

      5. SLH says:

        Just adding a personal experience to this. When we showed at the Marshall and Sterling Indoor  Finals in 2004 when it was held at the DCU center in Worcester ,MA. the horses were housed partly in the center and the rest..across the busy street next to a parking garage and pub. Every day a few 100 horses not used to city traffic crossed back and forth over a few lanes of traffic and other then a police officer watching traffic during peak hrs no help. 

      6. Ceware says:

        Wow, you’re just making too much sense, guest! Great facts!! I’d be interested to know, in that 30 year time span how many HUMANS died in traffic? Anyone agitating to ban humans in the city? How many bike messengers? How’s the ban on that service coming along? How many pet dogs? Can we expect dogs in the city to become against the law?

        WHEN are people going to wake up to the irrationality of the entire animal rights agenda, is what I want to know. But for right now, I’d be happy if counter-protesters would start showing up to protect and support the horse-drawn carriages and drivers.

        Oh, and as to your question, “Why not the police horses?” Come on, you really have to ask?? Because bullies never pick on those with power. They only pick on hose who are vulnerable, whether that vulnerability come from bigotry against the Irish, or a developer wanting to get their greedy hands on the carriage horse stables, or needing to get a toe in the door with the carriage horses before they go after the police horses or what. The point is that it is a BASELESS harrassment that you cowards in NYC have allowed to go on shamefully long. BOOOOO. You are therefore complicit in the bigotry, strongarming, AR insanity and harassment. May you suffer all deserved consequences for your cowardice and apathy!! Get off your asses and HELP these horses and their drivers and owners.

      7. SLH says:

        I think you have to remove “charlie” from that list. His nercropsy has never been released and all findings were incidental so his tragic and all be it sad passing is in no way directly related to the “Carriage horse Industry”

        As to the others could be entirely just coincidence. In prior times there have been no incidences for stretches of months and years.

        I’t would be lovely and highly unlikely that the horses could work and remain only in CP . Since that is unlikely I am happy with knowing they are well cared for and being looked after. 

      8. Eva Hughes says:

        “how would you explain the four incidents involving horse carriages in just October alone?”

        The operative phrase here is “in just October alone”.  (I will grant you this, even though the incidents spilled over into November)  Only 2 of the 4 incidents were of a similar nature (the horses that fell), and NONE of them involved “NYC traffic”!!

        You can keep saying it’s “dangerous” till the cows come home — the statistics do not back that up.

        How do I explain 4 incidents in 2 months?  I don’t – just like nobody can explain why there might be two plane crashes within days of each other, or why there where 3 horrendous tour bus crashes inside of 2 months this year, or why anything else happens at any given time.  There is no sinister thread of wrong-doing running through our 4 incidents; the best way to sum them up is a “freak cluster of incidents.”

        Getting back to the operative phrase here – were there 4 incidents in any OTHER month or two month period?  No.  Are there regular incidents every few weeks, over the years? No.  Can and do things happen that involve carriages?  Yes.  And the only thing that indicates is that we live in the real world; nobody can walk between the raindrops.

        An acquaintance of mine (not in NYC) recently had one of her commercial carriage horses fall and break a leg and had to be euthanized.  This happened at TURN OUT, in the PASTURE.  Thank God that this sad incident occurred FAR away from the lunatics like the ones who surrounded the horse that tripped and fell a couple of weeks ago in NYC  (and got up unharmed); at least the horse who broke his leg had last moments that were of being taken care of by the people who loved and respected him, without his the last thing he saw being rabid ghouls who would use them for their own hysterical agenda.

  9. tourismwritesyourpaycheck says:

    Why do these activists need to “educate” the tourists anyway? Are tourists stupid because they’re from a different place? I’d love to take a NYC carriage ride and will should I have the pleasure of visiting NYC again. Does that make me stupid? Or does it mean I’m an individual in a free-market economy voting for what I like with my dollars? They have a few signatures on a petition. How many hundreds of thousands of people (including ones who actually live in NYC) have actually supported the carriages with their hard-earned income? Look at the “classy” group’s website. They want carriage operators to “surrender” their horses so they can ship the horses to yet-to-be identified (and funded) “sanctuaries”. So basically they want the state and/or the city to participate in and orchestrate through legislation, a shutdown of these historic and important private enterprises and a De facto seizure of their livestock. Doesn’t that sound a little like reasons a certain Revolution was fought? Every private business in the city should jumping to the defense of NYC’s carriage operators, lest they be next to fall afoul of the sensibilities or the agenda of these or similar radical fringe groups.      

    1. Guest says:

      It has nothing to do with the intelligence of tourists. It’s just that tourists are the ones who are more likely to actually ride in a horse carriage just for the fun and experience of it. While many New Yorkers would probably love to do so as well, they are familiar with the scenes of horse carriages and do not feel that it is a must to ride on a horse carriage. 

      1. tourismwritesyourpaycheck says:

        I would imagine that many intelligent, sophisticated New Yorkers would take family, friends and other out-of-town guests on a carriage ride when they want to show off the very best of their town.

    2. JGRL66 says:

      The fact that you want to take a carriage ride while knowing (if you read the article!) that those horses are ABUSED does, in fact, make you stupid. Yup. Tourists aren’t stupid. People who knowingly feed money into a business that abuses animals are stupid.  Just wanted to clarify. Oh…and sir or madam “tourismwritesyourpaycheck”. Last I check, my paycheck was not signed by you. My guess is, you sign everything with just an “X” anyway. (Not sure what that reference means? Look it up. Along with the FACTS about NYC carriage rides. Or do facts just distract you??

      1. tourismwritesyourpaycheck says:

        If you’re looking for “facts” try expanding your reading on the subject beyond one mediocre article. It’s called critical thinking. But, as you’re obviously aware that the weak and disingenuous animals rights “facts” don’t hold up under any kind of scrutiny, you resort to an attack on my person. Well done “JGRL66”. Sorry but I can’t think of a clever little dig based on your screen name. Me not from New Yorkie so me not too bright. “Yup,” as you so eloquently quipped.   

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have repeatedly asked the anti-carriage crowd for proof,
    as in actual facts, that the carriage horses are abused. The response?
    “They look sad.” Ask any of them about their horse knowledge – it is laughable.

    The lies that are spread about these horses and their
    drivers are nothing short of slander.

    I have also repeatedly asked the anti-carriage crowd for the names of the
    rescues where these horses will go and who will pay for their care. The
    response? “Don’t worry – we have it covered.” Um, riiiight. Horse rescues are
    over-flowing, there is a hay shortage in much of the country, let alone a land
    shortage for pasture, the wild horses are being rounded up, and horse slaughter
    is back on the table, and I’m not supposed to “worry” about it? Oh, and let’s
    not forget that NY-CLASS is in bed with PETA and PETA has come out in favor of
    horse slaughter. Oh, no, I’m not worried at all!

    Oh – and let’s not forget the shenanigans of the ASPCA in all of this. Giving
    $250,000 to NY-CLASS – a for profit corporation headed by someone who can well
    afford to fund it themselves – from donations raised by flooding us with
    pictures of animals who have actually been abused or abandoned? How is that not
    misleading, let alone unethical?


    I hope that you will stay on top of
    this story and present actual facts – not the conjecture and outright lies of
    groups like NY-CLASS.

  11. NYC carriage rides rock! says:

    I’m planning a trip to NYC for the spring and the top activity on the list is to visit the carriage horses and take a ride. It’s the highlight of any visit. If they are gone, I won’t be coming. Ever again. Sorry, but it wouldn’t be the same, and I do not in any way believe the industry is abusive to the horses. I’ve never seen a one that wasn’t loved and well cared for.

  12. bayoubengalfirst says:

    Anna Sanders–You call your self a reporter? Didn’t they teach you about avoiding bias in reporting, and about being careful not to “slant”  your story with ‘loaded” words and descriptions? Judging from your article, you must have slept through or skipped those classes.

    “If we weren’t distracted by the eathy smell of horse dung, we’d probably have been more offended.” So you spent time in the copmpany of these beautiful and powerful horses, and one of the only images you thought worthy of description was the smell of horse manure? Hummm. I’m sure you know that the smell of the manure is one of the favorite “talking points” if the anti-carriage horse crowd.

    No descriptions of the anti-carriage horse protesters and their comments, but drivers and their comments are described using words like “curt,” giving “steelly looks” and even their chuckles are described as “gruff.” ALL of these words have negative connotations. THERE’S plenty of “spin” and “slant” in the mere use of these words.

    The description of of the “F**K yous” as coming only from the drivers- one in a thick Irish brogue, what was THAT all about? Surely, you must have heard some cursing from the anti-carriage crowd. There is plenty of cussing in almost all of the videos they have made of themselves at the protests, and have posted on the Internet.

    Was the comment about the driver’s Irish brogue demonstrative of your anti-Irish bias that is more appropriate to the 18th and 19th centuries, or was it a disguised attempt to paint the drivers as immigrants- as was the quote from driver Erez ZEV. WHAT there were no drivers with “American” sounding names for you to quote? Were you hoping to capitalize on the anti-immigrant mood of some people?

    And the claim that Ashley the student made about having been called a bitch, did you verify that or just take her hearsay claim as gospel?

    And what about one of the major “happenings” at that particular protest? The fact that NYPD officers told the RARAs they could not get between the drivers and potential passengers, or interfere with their right to do business went TOTALLY UNREPORTED by you. Were you unaware, or did you selectively decide to leave THAT out of your story?

    And BTW, I am a graduate of the Manship School Of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University, Class of December 1993 as well as a former journalism teacher and retired p[rofessional editor, so I do have the “creds” to critique this article. AND no, contrary to RARA posts elsewhere, I am not a “paid keyboard jocky” for the Horse and Carriage Association of New YorK, or for the Teamsters local that represents people in the “carriage trade.”

    I post with out any renumeration to counter biased “reports” and the lies and hyperbole used by the radical animal rights activists in “comments sections” to such articles in their push to ban horse-drawn carriages. I am not ashamed to say that I live carriage horses and hope the iconic tradition of NYC horse-drawn carriage rides in Central park are NOT replaced with fake replicars that use energy hungry batteries.

    1. thedrafthorse says:

      Well stated, Bayou Bengal.  I tried to raise this issue with the reporter myself.  It’s VERY obvious how slanted this story is when the author describes her reporting on this story as “hanging out with NY-CLASS” in her twitter feed.  She obviously was so “with” NY-CLASS that the carriage driver who wouldn’t give his name couldn’t be convinced that she wasn’t one of them. 

      Ms. Sanders also reports that the “steely looks” and “curt” responses also were coming from the NY-CLASS volunteers when she entered into a friendly conversation with a driver, but she chose not to report those facts. 

    2. Ceware says:

      YAY!!!!!!! GREAT, awesome, wonderful, NECESSARY post!!! Thank you so much. This sort of bias which you so aptly point out is RAMPANT in the articles I’ve read about this issue. The only place anyone seems to get a single chance to speak to the side of the carriage horse drivers and owners is in comments sections. That fact alone has gotten me TOTALLY on the carriage’s side. I know a smear campaign when I see one — even from 1,400 miles awat and ZERO conflict of interest. Just a middle-aged Wisconsinite who makes a living in a hospitl laboratory, but has loved and owned horses and dogs most of her life and is SICK TO DEATH of the way the radical animal rights agenda has bullshat its way into the nation’s world view. It simply MUST BE STOPPED.

      There is absolutely NO LEGITIMATE REASON whatsoever for these JERKS to be allowed to interfere with a legitimate and legal enterprise. SHAME ON YOU< NYC< for not putting a STOP to this. The carriages are iconic! You would never stand for this if a mentally ill special interest activist group was trying to keep people away from the Empire State building, or the Staue of Liberty, or the theatres on Broadway. MAN UP and stop this, NOW. And while you're at it deal with the ASPCA conflict of interest as well. What other NYC business is inspected 180 times in one year?? THAT qualifies as harrassment all by itself. It's disgusting. FIX IT. NOW.

    3. Anna Sanders says:

      Normally I wouldn’t reply to an anonymous commenter, but your comment was directly addressed to me, so I will. 

      I am a journalism student at NYU. Yes, they have taught my peers and me about bias. The lesson can be summarized in a rhetorical question that my teacher failed to answer because there really is no answer: Can anything written by a person (and not a robot) be biased? 

      As to your accusations about my description of horse crap, I was merely describing what I felt at the moment. In the first paragraph, I also described one of the protesting women as “feverishly” explaining her beliefs to a family. I left the event after about 2 hours, and during that time I did not hear any “fuck you”s from the protestors. If I had, I would have included that in the piece. 

      With regards to your belief that I am somehow biased against immigrants or the Irish, I can assure you I am not. My grandmother is Irish, as is my boyfriends family. The man with the non-American sounding name, as you say, was the only one who gave me his name. Asking if there were “no drivers with ‘American’ sounding names for you to quote” is offensive because it assumes that America isn’t a country where most people came from somewhere else. Seeking out drivers with certain names would have proved more biased, as I’m sure you learned at LSU. It was not my intention to “capitalize” on anti-immigrant feelings by quoting the only driver who would give me his name and describing what was clearly an Irish accent. The use of description is a decisive tool in journalism, as you probably learned at LSU. 

      As to Ashley’s comments, I merely said “she said” that someone called her an offensive name because I felt that it accurately portrayed the feeling at the protest, on both sides. I never claimed to believe what Ashley said, and I also referred to her as a “harasser”, which most of the pro-carriage comments on this piece seem to also believe. There is absolutely no way I could verify that someone called her a bitch because, if I asked protestors who witnessed it, I couldn’t verify their statements and I don’t think any drivers would actually rat out a fellow driver, so I couldn’t take their word for it, either. 

      Like I said earlier, I left before this major “happening” occurred. I didn’t selectively decide to leave it out of my story. I only became aware of it on Tuesday in the comments section. Needless to say, I can only take both sides of what happened with a grain of salt–NYCLASS was asked to leave, but they said they were “roughed up” by a driver. I was on deadline for this story and chose to leave it out based on the practicality of a 500 word count I already went over. As you are a former journalism student and teacher, I’m sure you understand something about word counts and deadlines. 

      As to other comments about my being “so obviously with NYCLASS” because of my Twitter statuses, let me explain. I wanted to inform NYCLASS through their Twitter feed about the story with the hopes that they might share it with their followers. I said “my afternoon with NYCLASS” and “Hung out with NYCLASS” in the statuses because I wanted to sound more casual in my Twitter account. From now on I will be more careful about the phrasing and, if I could go back in time, I would say “covered” instead. I apologize if these statuses were somehow unprofessional. I am a student and  am still learning.

      Because the event was organized by NYCLASS, I of course had to arrive based on when they arrived. The point of the article was to observe the scene as I saw it in the most relevant way possible. In other articles, I have written from an event held by the carriage association as well as quoted statements from them. One such statement I quoted caused one anti-carriage person to comment that I “parrot[ed]” the association’s words. 

      I do not think this article was biased and I stand behind it. I believe from the comments section that this is an interesting issue to report because of the passion each side feels, but my and the Observer’s intention was not to cross-check “facts” from both sides. I am done with my semester internship at the Observer, but maybe another publication can better quell the he said/she said nature of this issue. 

      1. thedrafthorse says:

        Thank you, Anna, for your response.  I am still disappointed that the Horse and Carriage Association was not asked for comment (and further, that the Horse and Carriage Association’s comment that was eventually supplied by the President, who had not read the article, was not included, even a single sentence).  The statement contained information that directly contradicted the claims of Ms. Feldman in this article that NY-CLASS “doesn’t scream at people.” 

        That being said…

        This is NOT a “he said / she said” issue.  People SAY all kinds of things on all sides.  This is a “NY-CLASS and animal rights group say / the carriage industry IS x, y and z” issue.  There are facts and lots of them – that are easily discoverable, verifiable and reportable by journalists, if they (and I am NOT talking about you here) would only care to report them.

        For instance, NY-CLASS routinely *says* that carriage horses don’t receive water while at work.  Meanwhile, the horses all pass the water trough at 6th Ave. and 59th St. on every single ride, and anyone at that location during NY-CLASS’s protest would have seen the horses getting water.  Simply reporting those *two* facts paints a very accurate picture of what is going on at the hackline. 

        I think that if NY-CLASS is going to go out of their way to come to someone’s place of work, physically get in the way of customers of that business and TELL people not to patronize that business based on terrible – but unsubstantiated – allegations, then there should be some objective investigation / critical thinking about the validity of their claims.  And yes, wording matters.  Instead of characterizing volunteers as “feverishly explain[ing] the evils of the industry” without “evils” being qualified, saying the volunteer “proceeded to feverishly explain what she believed were the evils of the industry” accurately reports the events without giving the appearance that the reporter (you) have evaluated the claims of NY-CLASS and judged them to be valid – or, worse, simply happen to agree with them.

        Bayou Bengal’s point about the ethnic identification of carriage drivers vs. your point that simply happens to be true…  I guess the point is how is it relevant what accent anyone said anything in?  Would you have reported it if it was delivered in a Southern accent?  A Brooklyn accent? A Jamaican accent?  A Midwestern newscaster accent?  I think this is a case of inadvertently stumbling into a very contentious issue (one that has been developing for decades and has years of baggage associated with it), as anti-carriage-horse activists (including some with NY-CLASS) have, in the past and unreported by the Obeserver or witnessed by you, leveled some highly charged ethnic and/or racial slurs at the carriage drivers, as well as a lot of “anti-immigrant” hate speech.  It’s a very unfortunate but very real aspect of the story, and why Bayou Bengal picked up on it, regardless of whether or not you meant anything by it.  A quick glance through past posts on “Carriage Horse Cruelty”‘s facebook page will reveal the kinds of hateful stereotyping Bayou Bengal is referring to.

        At any rate, thank you for coming and posting a response.


  13. NYC carriage horses ROCK!! says:

    Too bad you didn’t seem to learn anything. For reasons better articulated by other than me, your article was a biased piece of AR drivel. The comments section should give you a clue. The best thing about even taking the time here was the palate-cleanser provided by reading the pro-carriage comments and seeing all the likes they got, compared to the distinctly faint praise for your agenda and the relative dearth of likes. Apparently the majority of people are a LOT smarter than you think they are. And THANK GOD for that.

  14. bayoubengalfirst says:

    Actually commercial carriage horse have fairly easy jobs compared to farm horses and even Combined Driving Event hprses “CDE”. Her is a video compilation of incidents and accidents that happened in CDE meets. THIS is a compilation and all of these did not happen at a single competition. But still, for those who feel that the falls of a few carriage horses in more than a month anounts to cruelty- maybe you would like to compare the NYC incidents with these that were captured on video. Many of the riadical animal rights activists seem to take an almost ghoulish joy in being able to witness and video the rare falls that do happen. Remember there are 68 horses in two shifts each day on NYC streets. That is a total of 136 DIFFERENT horses on NYC streets for a total of 18 hours each day. That means a total of 952 horses on the streets per seven-day week, or 3,808 horse every four weeks that traverse city streets– and the radicals are trying to make a “federal” case out of three horses falling and one horse collapsing and dying from STILL unknown causes within roughly a SIX-week period. Gimme a break.

  15. Ceware says:

    So … wait a minute. I’ve been researching a little bit, and trying to get this Carriage Horse/ASPCA/NY-CLASS thing straight in my head. Basically, what I’m coming away with is this:
    In 2008, $250,000 in donations from the nation’s warm-hearted pet lovers, likely solicited via ASPCA’s glurgy, HSUS-like ads with Shawn Colvin singing a sad song about angels, was given to the group NY-CLASS, which is a for-profit enterprise. NY-CLASS is led by two wealthy businessmen, Steve Nislick and Ed Sayres, and has for years actively campaigned to eliminate the NYC carriage horses, for two reasons: 1) they are designing a “horseless carriage” to sell and/or operate for a profit, once they  ban the real horse-drawn carriages, and 2) Nislick owns a real eastate company that wants to develop the prime Manhattan real estate where the horses are stabled.Coincidentally, Ed Ayers is — wait for it — the $500K/year president and CEO of the ASPCA, which regulates the carriage horse industry. SO:  The president (Sayres) of the ASPCA — which *regulates* the NYC carriage trade AND wants to eliminate it — gave $250,000 *in ASPCA donor money* to his buddy and NY-CLass co-president Nislik — who owns a real estate company that wants to develop the real estate that the carriage horses stables now occupy, and is also developing, along with the ASPCA president, a replacement for NYC carriage rides. 
    Have I got that right?!? Really??Yeesh. Sounds like something that would happen in the Mob world. Except that the Teamsters are on the HONEST side!!

    1. Murat2trot says:

      NYC carriage horses ROCK! – It’s worse than that.  WAAAAAAAAAAAY worse than that.

      And your numbers, it turns out, are low. NOT ONLY did the ASPCA give $250,000 of its donors’ money  to NY-CLASS in 2008, they did it again in 2010 ($100,000) and 2011 ($100,000)!  That’s nearly a half a million dollars of donors’ money that that was supposed to help the abused and homeless kitties and puppies advertised on TV,
      not to print and deliver misleading and defamatory flyers and other
      materials, hobnob with celebrities at horse events in Florida, spread
      false information about the stables that the ASPCA HLE agents KNOW to be
      false because they inspect the stables, and build $12,500 toy cars.  Nice racket.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Lame how these same ignorant racists drivers like to play the race card and yet on youtube, you can view them making racists and homophobic remarks.  These people are parasites who live of the taxpayers.  Most are illegals uneducated thugs who attacks people for exercising their 1st amendment rights.