If a year ago you had told me that I would ever speak with the Governor of New York about animal welfare issues, I would have called you a bald-faced liar.
But last night I had the opportunity to do just that, thanks to the New York League of Humane Voters – a nonprofit organization which works to ensure that animal welfare issues are taken seriously in government.
Last night, the organization held a VIP Reception for Governor David Paterson at the studio of world-renowned artist Peter Max and Ecorazzi was there to get an exclusive interview. Check it out and leave a comment with your thoughts!
Ecorazzi: Why have you chosen to work with the NYLHV and to support animal welfare issues?
David Paterson: In difficult economic times people seem to become more inhumane to each other. I think we know that. What we don’t know is that they become more inhumane to animals, as well. During times like these we see more acts of violence and neglect towards animals. For instance, some people can’t afford to keep animals and so instead of bringing them to a place like the ASPCA, they just abandon them. And so the New York League of Humane Voters –- who I’ve been affiliated with for a while –- is trying to persuade people, if not morally than legally, that the mistreatment of animals is wrong.
In our society there are a lot of ways that we showcase animals. Whether it’s in zoos or circuses or even marching around Central Park. We use them for fun. But after the event is over and everybody goes home, that animal is probably suffering somewhere. I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think that people or animals should be subjected to that kind of treatment.
E: You mentioned the horse drawn carriage industry in your speech at the NYLHV gala a few weeks ago. What is your official stance on this industry?
DP: If there was a way to guarantee real humane treatment of the horse, that would be one thing, but there isn’t. These animals are kept in stables that are too small, often they’re cold, they work long hours and they don’t have time off. That might sound like we’re talking about human beings, but like you and me, animals need time to rest. These horses are abused and really shouldn’t be trotting around in congested areas.
There was a horse about three months ago that got his foot caught on a parking meter and had to be destroyed -– it’s awful. You know, it looks nice when you go to the park and see a horse drawn carriage, but unless there is someway to care for these horses properly, and it doesn’t appear that there is, I think we should ban it completely.
E: Concerned citizens are always searching for effective ways to reach out to government. As an elected official, what would you say is the best way for activists to have their voice heard?
DP: I think the way John Phillips [Executive Director of the NYLHV] does it is really the best way. He comes to a lot of different events that aren’t animal rights events and reaches out to a variety of people. He’s supportive of other organizations and causes, and that’s how he spreads the message. Once you actually show up and participate then coming up and talking to an elected official is as easy as you just did. And I think that’s how he got me involved. I think good leaders understand that supporting other causes brings a lot of support back to their own cause.
Ecorazzi would like to give a huge thank you to Governor Paterson for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. Of course, the opportunity wouldn’t have existed without the efforts of the New York League of Humane Voters. Check out their site and find out why we always give them our full support.