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Monday Maul: New York Carriage Horse Escapes Slavery

Vin Paneccasio

In our society, we have, from cave-man times, used animals as part of our economy. We eat them.” — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg made that arrogant comment on August 17 “in an interview on WOR-AM,” according to a report in The New York Times about a frightened carriage horse who broke free from the chains of slave labor.

He might as well have said, “I’m Michael Bloomberg and I approve of slavery.”

The New York Times reported on August 16 that “a spooked carriage horse burst out of line near Central Park on Thursday, thundered into the busy traffic on Columbus Circle, dumped his driver and two passengers, struck two cars, shed the wreckage of his carriage and ran free for four blocks before being captured on Ninth Avenue, the authorities and witnesses said. Three people were injured, the police said. The horse, a 6-year-old draft gelding named Oreo who has a white and brown coat, suffered a minor scratch to his muzzle, said the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which enforces carriage-horse regulations.”

According to the New York Daily News, “Mehmet Dundar (the carriage driver) said the crash of metal beams falling at a construction site on West 59th St. — coupled with the blare of car horns — spooked the gelding and caused him to bolt.”

Oreo was eventually cornered, at which point, The New York Times reported, “the horse was tied to a pole, and officers shot him with a tranquilizer dart … Oreo slumped to the ground. But he was able to stand up and get into the police truck.”

It sounds to me like Oreo was brought under control and arrested.

Hopefully, Oreo knows that there are good folks — including those associated with New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets — who are leading the anti-slavery movement in New York City.

The New York Times reported on August 17 that “several animal rights groups and anti-carriage groups are backing previously proposed City Council legislation that would either ban horse-drawn carriages or replace them with ‘horseless carriages,’ electric cars driven by the former carriage drivers. … But the legislation lacks support from crucial city officials, including the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.”

In addition to telling WOR-AM that “in our society, we have, from cave-man times, used animals as part of our economy,” as The New York Times reported, Mayor Bloomberg suggested that horse-drawn carriages are “something that a lot of tourists really love.”

Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg should ask the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to develop a horse-drawn-carriage video game that tourists can play while they enjoy the “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” at the Olive Garden in Times Square.

In October 2011, The New York Times reported that “days after a carriage horse collapsed and died in Midtown, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg … dismissed calls for a ban on the carriage industry, saying he could not imagine why ‘anybody wants to destroy something that is part of New York’s heritage and that tourists love.'”

According to that October 26, 2011, report in The New York Times, “Stephen Malone, a spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, called the industry’s critics ‘bleeding hearts’ and ‘uninformed.’ He said his family had been in the horse-drawn carriage business since 1964. ‘People want to really humanize the horse and compare it to a dog or a cat in the sense that it should be living in an apartment,’ he said.”

It’s worth pointing out that 1964 was the year President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It’s also worth pointing out that Mr. Malone’s unenlightened comment is strangely reminiscent of what Georgia Sen. Richard Russell Jr. said in 1964, according to language on the Federal Highway Administration website, about the Civil Rights Act: “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.”

Which brings us back to Mayor Bloomberg’s approval of slavery.

Of course, Mayor Bloomberg would not be supportive of New York City’s carriage-horse industry if his beloved tourists were being dragged around town by human slaves. Or might that be just the answer?

As he campaigned in November 2011 for the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich suggested that “schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school,” as Politico reported at the time.

Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg should float the idea of replacing carriage horses with students. Or, if the mayor thinks doing that would be too controversial, maybe he should propose having the city’s inmate population pull the carriages around.

Calling the good folks who are leading the anti-slavery movement “bleeding hearts” and “uninformed,” as Mr. Malone did, and pointing out that “in our society, we have, from cave-man times, used animals as part of our economy,” as Mayor Bloomberg did, reflects the same Neanderthal attitude Georgia Sen. Richard Russell Jr. and opponents of the Civil Rights Act had.

And “from cave-man times,” it has been that very attitude that has prevented the drooling class from evolving.

Monday Maul cartoons are created for The Daily Maul by New York-based artist Vin Paneccasio. Providing a fix for your schadenfreude jones, while spiritually rewarding, can be physically and emotionally exhausting. You can keep us alert and fairly lucid by keeping us caffeinated. And you can support our work by visiting the Shopping Maul and getting yourself some schadenfreude-fantasy you can wear.

2 Comments

  1. Karen wrote:

    You should be ashamed of yourselves for demining what has been and still is human slavery. You are all so removed from the nature of life and earth that insanity has replaced that part of you.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink
  2. David Brensilver wrote:

    Karen,

    Your perspective bolsters my argument.

    David

    Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

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