Yesterday, I attended a rally at City Hall for the Carriage Horse Industry. Hundred of drivers, workers and their families were joined by Teamsters, other union members, New Yorkers and animal lovers to protest the Mayor’s introduction of a bill in the City Council to ban the horses by 2016. It was a day of rallies at City Hall, rallies for and against the Carriage Horses, a “die-in” calling for a further inquiry into the death of Eric Garner. It is an important moment for the Mayor and Council to get their priorities straight.
I was at the rally standing for the horses in my Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood who bring beauty and majesty with their calm and peaceful spirits to the neighborhood and to thousands who visit them in Central Park every day. And to stand with the carriage owners, drivers and workers and their families who have broken no laws, and care for their horses with deep love, respect and pride.
It was the biggest rally to date in support of keeping the horses in NYC. The Teamsters were out in full force, joined by 10 plus other unions including 32 BJ SEIU.
A highlight of the rally was getting to connect with Jon Katz and Maria Wulf, who came down from Bedlam Farm upstate to participate. Jon has been an eloquent and important voice writing and speaking out on behalf of the drivers and horses and the importance of having working animals in our midst! Maria, a fiber artist created a beautiful quilt depicting the bond between horses and humans, which appeared in a sign brought to the rally by Pamela Rickenbach of Blue Star Equiculture.
Here are some photographs from the rally. It was a hugely positive day and we have a long way to go. The majority of Councilmembers remain undecided. It will be about a six month process before the bill comes up for a vote. I am cautiously optimistic. I hope you will take a moment to write your Councilmember and ask them to vote against the bill.