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IRISH VOICE Letters To the Editor

The IRISH VOICE published a very biased article Irish Fight to Save Carriages on April 24, 2008. These letters are in response.
MAY 2, 2008 - A Biased Report - LAST week's article "Irish Fight to Save Carriages" presented only one distorted view - that of the carriage industry. To suggest that this is a racial or ethnic issue is disingenuous and not facing what it is really about - animal cruelly, exploitation and safety to pedestrians. All the major animal welfare organizations are in favor of a ban. This includes the ASPCA, HSUS, PETA and Friends of Animals. Surely, they must know something about animals. These drivers do not "own" being Irish, nor do they own the streets of New York City as one of them suggests.

Many people in the movement to ban horse-drawn carriages are Irish, including natives, first and second generation. It is insulting to hear us accused of making racial slurs, particularly when the writer of the article, April Drew, did not interview any of us. These are lies to appeal to the Irish people who read the Irish Voice, to garner sympathy by playing the race card, to create a conflict where there is none.

When the carriage industry is not making up stories or using intimidation, they resort to calling us names - terrorists, radicals, extremists and now racists. Carolyn Daly is a paid spokesperson for the industry who fabricates stories in the attempt to make her case, including that we know nothing about horses, that the streets are odor free or that the horses work a 40 hour week when the law states that they may work nine hours a day, seven days a week.

The family from Tennessee materialized by Ms. Drew has no idea how the horses are really treated. They do not see where the horses sleep at night - small stalls accessed by steep ramps in multi-storied warehouses. They do not know that these horses have no turnout. They are not aware that the horses do not have access to water in the winter when Parks Department turns off the water that fills the troughs. And they do not know that the horse pulling their carriage may go on to slaughter when no longer wanted. In short, they do not have a clue. The Irish Voice and the author of this biased piece owes its readers an apology for such a distorted, inflammatory, race-baiting article.

Elizabeth Forel - Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages - New York, New York.

No Horse Sense - THE obscenity of having horses haul humans around the streets of an over-crowded city is not an Irish issue - or even an issue about the jobs of Irish immigrants. This is an issue concerning animal welfare, nothing more, nothing less. The drivers' "right" to keep a job ends where the abuse of these horses begins. Living in cramped brick warehouses and being forced out in terrible weather in horrendous and dangerous traffic is abuse, no matter how the drivers try to whitewash it. As a person born and raised in Manhattan many decades ago, I resent driver Tommy Hughes in last week's Irish Voice story claiming that only outsiders object to this horrible industry. There are many, many locals born in this city who find this a very dirty business, and will continue to be a voice for these horses. We will not be so easily dismissed.

Judy Purcell Glen Oaks, New York.

Other Cities See Sense - THE carriage horse issue is not an Irish thing. It is about the inhumane use of horses in heavy traffic, where horse vs. car "accidents" (waiting to happen) happen more often, every year. Thank God the tourists are starting to wake up to the fact that when they pay a driver to take them in his carriage, they are supporting the abuse of those poor horses, and they skip that when they visit us here in New York City. Carriage rides have been outlawed in cities from Paris to London, Canada, and all the way to China. The days are numbered for those inhumane rides in New York. I would suggest that all the carriage drivers send their horses to retirement farms and let them graze, trade the carriages in for rickshaws, and pull the tourists around in heavy traffic, dodging taxi cabs on their own steam for a change.

J. Jones New York, New York

Not a Racial Issue -  I FIND it interesting that April Drew's article in last week's issue was titled "Irish Fight to Save Carriages." I find it equally interesting that the spokeswoman for the carriage industry, Carolyn Daly, is transparent in her attempts to make this a racial issue. My father's family, the McCalls, hail from Cortland, New York, a community built and settled by the Irish, and I am a proud Irish offspring. I am also an animal rights advocate. My Seneca native mother rode horses as a young girl with no saddle, and my grandfather got all of his horses and cows into the barn at the end of the day without ever touching a single animal. I know a little something about horses. Horses don't care if you are Irish, Indian or purple. They want to be in pasture, all day, all year, unless they are sick or it is very windy out. They don't want to be tethered 24/7 in a tiny stall where they cannot turn left or right, followed by more restraint hauling a carriage. They don't like strangers, they fear loud noises and sudden movements. Essentially all the elements that make up New York City are what horses fear and dislike. New York City is a cruel environment for horses no matter who the carriage drivers or owners happen to be.

Susan Davis - Astoria, New York 

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