Big Win for NYC Carriage Horses! Blog from NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant

BREAKING NEWS

NYCLASS is thrilled to report that Mayor de Blasio announced on August 30th that the hack line will be moved from the current chaotic, traffic-choked hackline location on Central Park South into Central Park—a safer, more humane, and car-free environment for the horses to be stationed while awaiting and giving rides.

NYCLASS and our supporters have fought for many years to make life better for the carriage horses. Today is a major step forward for all those who have rallied, door-knocked, made phone calls, protested and documented carriage horse cruelty, and this victory belongs to every one of our volunteers, supporters, and allies who have fought for these horses with us. Activism works!

This summer, ongoing brutal heatwaves left carriage horses suffering on Central Park South under the blazing sun. During the heatwaves this month, NYCLASS documented horses in respiratory distress. With this move, the horses will finally be able to find respite in the tree-lined park.

In addition, by moving the hack line into the park, the horses will be protected from the constant fumes, exhaust, loud honking, and dangers presented from heavy vehicular traffic on Central Park South. This move will not only improve horses’ lives, but it will also increase public safety. Removing the horses from Central Park South will open up car and bike lanes, reduce congestion, and decrease the likelihood of carriage horse crashes.

There have been dozens of reported carriage horse and vehicle crashes, horse collapses, and runaway spooked horses that have resulted in human and horse injuries. Carriage horses, with their highly evolved flight drive, should not be forced to maneuver among zooming taxis, ambulances, commercial trucks, and dense traffic.  

The safety hazards of allowing horses to operate on busy city streets are clear. This past winter, a horse spooked, threw the carriage driver to the ground, and ran wildly into Central Park South traffic with three terrified passengers aboard, ultimately crashing into cars on Central Park South and sending the injured passengers to the hospital. And most recently, on August 7th, a carriage horse collided with a bike rider in busy traffic, knocking the cyclist off his bike.

Commonsense reforms that dramatically improve the horses’ lives are long overdue. We look forward to continuing to work with Mayor de Blasio and the City Council in continuing to make meaningful positive changes for the carriage horses.

ACTION ALERT: WE NEED YOU AT THE OCTOBER 3 HEARING ON THE RULE-CHANGE

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule. We encourage our supporters to attend and testify in support of moving the horses into the park. It's very important we have a huge showing of support for this momentous change!  The public hearing will take place at 1 pm on October 3, 2018. The hearing will be in the DOT Bid Room at 55 Water Street, Concourse Level, New York, NY 10041. The entrance to the Bid Room is located on the southeast corner of 55 Water Street facing the NYC Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza.If you cannot attend in person and want to submit testimony online, you can do so by emailing your testimony to rules@dot.nyc.gov.

Folks can sign up to testify before the hearing by calling 212-839-6500, or can sign up in person the day of the hearing. 

Read the new Dept of Transportation rules here: http://rules.cityofnewyork.us/sites/default/files/proposed_rules_pdf/notice_of_public_hearing_and_opportunity_to_comment-horse_drawn_cab_passenger_boarding_areas_final_with_certifications.pdf 

For the animals,

Edita Birnkrant,

Executive Director, NYCLASS


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