by MPD
Categories: Animals, Events
Tags: .


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.

  • jason

    That’s really impressive. I never thought that I would hear a Governor talk about animal issues that way. I think it’s great what John and the League is doing. I wish I was there.

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  • Roland

    Paterson has a lot of compassion. He has compassion for animals and the most vulnerable members of our state. He passed a bill just yesterday to protect Transgender state employees from discrimination. Paterson has been put in a hard position- a failing economy and a dysfunction senate. But He has always stood strong and fought hard. The media is biased since it overlooks every failings of Bloomberg yet attacks anything that Patterson does or doesn’t.

    Yeah for Gov Paterson .

  • Marie

    Thanks League of Humane Voters and a Big thanks for our Governor Paterson. We animal rights activists must remember to vote for animal-friendly politicians. We chant that we will “by any means” protect animals yet we don’t even VOTE on their behalf. Legislation is very important. WE need legislation to protect animals and hold animal abusers accountable. The least that we can do for our 4 legged friends is to vote FOR Them.

    Thanks again Governor.

  • Graxe

    It is APPALLING that the Governor so blithely spreads misinformation and outright lies about our industry.

    The horse-drawn carriages are a New York City icon; they are ambassadors to our visitors, and the horses themselves are working animals that are entitled to proper care and good handling.

    Fortunately, our record reflects exactly that. Our horses lead exceedingly reasonable and content lives. They each receive a superior, formulated diet, occupy roomy box stalls, receive vet & farrier care, and are groomed and bathed regularly. This amounts to food, shelter, and medical care – which many CHILDREN in this city do not have: what do you say about THAT, Mr. Governor??
    Beyond these basics, they are loved by their owners/drivers; they receive affection, treats, and human interaction everyday.
    Every stable has a sprinkler system in case of fire, and every stable has 24/7 stablemen. We are overseen by 5 city agencies, and not one WEEK goes by (and sometimes, day) that our horses are not checked by the ASPCA or the Dept of Health. (Let’s see Child Protective Services match that record, MR GOVERNOR!!)
    The horses receive rotation turnout several times a year on farms in both Upstate NY and PA.

    When the time comes, we retire them to loving, forever homes; some of the owners retire them themselves on privately owned land.

    As far as a horse being put down three months ago after an incident with a parking meter (!!!), it NEVER HAPPENED. PLEASE, Governor Paterson, what are your sources for this non-event?

    Any public official needs to be held accountable for slanderous statements – Gov. Paterson needs to put down the Kool Aid that someone is feeding him, and inform himself before he makes pronouncements on an industry he obviously knows NOTHING about.

    • Layla

      You must be kidding me if you think horse-drawn carriages in a huge metropolitan city are humane. Please don’t insult our intelligence with statements like this.

      • http://EARTH1 Pete “ZAZ” Zaslow

        Okay, now what will happen if this gets passed? In other word what will become of the horses?… petting zoo? or home on the range? Can the police use them? I know the cops take pretty good care of them. I would just like to know the truth. “I can handle it”

    • dcnDPO

      OHHH… right, right, right. Horses walking IN speeding traffic is 100% humane. There’s a reason we have cars…. because we DON’T ride horses anymore. An icon??? to NYC????? Ask ANYONE outside of NYC what they think an icon of NYC is… 1 in 0,000,000 will say horse-drawn carriages.

      Horse-drawn carriages are an “icon” of the early days… you know, many centuries ago – before the industrial revolution… where we make fast cars and blazing engines that go on streets MADE for CARS and specifically NOT for horses.

    • Karen Curious

      Why can’t we have dirt roads plowed out for these horses in the park???? And stables built in the park and a large area such as an arena for them to run around in after work???
      How can we keep these horse out of traffic? I know horses, they love to have jobs but I don’t think they enjoy drivers such as the one above my comment racing around them having no respect for them. It’s terrible, it makes me angry. What about the stories of these horses being retired to slaughter houses at the Canadian border for human consumption in Japan and France???? We really need to put the horses welfare first and I believe what you are saying about the care that these horses are being provided but it would be nice of the MAYOR to make horse lanes and horse stables in the PARK!!!!! How can we make this happen?????

    • David Risley

      Misinformation and lies? I have lived in this city for about 15 years. Since day one, the horse and carriage industry has been encouraged to get their act together with the treatment of these horses. Plenty of proposals were offered to properly care for them and there have been many alternatives offered. With every passing year, nothing has happened. I still walk down 59th street to this very day and I am devastated at the sight of these poor horses – unkempt and thin. Take a look at the police horses in the city – there is a fine example of treating an animal with care and it shows – why can’t the same regulations and respect be applied to the carriage horses? I think you have had plenty of opportunity to straighten this out through the years, and still nothing has been done. There is no lying going on here – it doesn’t take a rock scientist to see it – just walk 59th street and through Central Park. Don’t be so alarmed and defensive that many have had it with the treatment of these animals in our city and want it abolished altogether – it’s a blemish and an embarrassment that you have had many opportunities to pay attention and improve upon and just have not.

    • donna

      You may be able to fool some of the the tourists into believing this baloney but everyone who lives in NYC knows these horses are miserable. They propose a genuine safety hazard and THEY DO NOT BELONG ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK IN 2009. The stench alone should be an issue.
      I saw one of these “ambassadors” standing in the freezing cold on the street at night with just a flimsy blanket over it. How humane is that? As for Gov. Paterson, he’s now become officially OK in my book and has my full support in this. I, like so many other NY’ers, look forward to the day you guys are banned for good.

  • herwin

    great interview, thanks ! i think its a very good point that in order to spread your own message, it is good to be active and interested in other peoples messages as well.

  • Junior

    Undercover investigation of one of the warehouse these poor houses are housed in.

    And I dare you to ask them how much is the fare after watching this video. TeeHeeHee

  • Donny Moss

    Great interview, Mr. DuDell. Like the governor, veterinary experts who don’t have a vested interest in this industry have stated unequivocally that 19th century horse and buggies cannot be operated humanely or safely in the congested streets of midtown Manhattan. Besides, these horses have no pasture for daily turnout. Depriving them of the ability to do what comes naturally to them – graze and interact physically with other horses (as herd animals do) is cruel by just about anyone’s standards.

  • Junior

    But now, in order to save this self dubbed “iconic” trade, the NYC Tourist Board has appointed a new Tourist Ambassador to NYC … and it is someone of whom the city can be proud. NYC’s new Ambassador was chosen for this position out of a long list of very worthy candidates. He outshone the rest because of his outgoing and dynamic personality and his proven willingness to make threatening, intimidating and bullying telephone calls to companies that dare to put out an advertising campaign that might negatively affect his industry. Mr. Tourist Ambassador feels no compunction about calling people fascists if they protest the use of horse-drawn carriages. However, let’s be very clear about what constitutes “fascism.” It apparently is not when you bully restaurants from having fundraisers (as happened to my friends at the Coalition to Ban HDCs). And it is not when you try to close down a mild mannered photography show about carriage horses. There callers threatened to call the Cardinal and to have protests unless that show was shut down. And it certainly is not when you threaten journalists to kill a story. But, hey … all’s fair in love and war… right?

  • volpina

    Thank You Governor Paterson!!!!!

  • Elizabeth

    I am pleased that Governor Patterson has clearly come out in favor of a ban of the horse-drawn carriage industry.

    It is always troublesome when the industry, where it is prevalent, and sometimes our side, lies or exaggerates to make a point. For us it is so unnecessary because we have such good powerful and ethical arguments. For example, horses need daily turnout to rest and socialize with other horses. Giving them 1-2 months off a year is meaningless since for 10-11 months, they slave for 9 hours a day, 7 days a week – working in heavy traffic only to return to a small stall and to start all over again the next morning. This is clearly inhumane.

    I am, however, very curious about Governor Patterson’s comment about a horse being destroyed three months ago when his hoof got caught on a parking meter. Where did this happen? Another city? I checked with my contacts at the ASPCA and the DoH and they were not aware of this incident. If anyone knows more about this, please reach out to me through my web site

    In the meantime – take a look at this undercover video by Animals Angels who gave us permission to release it. This stable is a catastrophe and anyone who is aware of its existence, could have done something about it, but chose not to – shame on you.

    Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages
    Horses Without Carriages International

  • Rory Freedman

    Fantastic! So reassuring when politicians take a firm stance on animal issues! Well done, Michael!!!!!

  • sabita patwardhan

    Very very glad to see the answers. Animal abuse is so enormously widespread that they need every sincere spokesman they can get.

    It is very important to time and again point out that the group who can make the biggest difference are CONSUMERS. The reason is that there is a group of people among producers who just don’t care and we have to accept that these selfish people will never change. They use any excuse they can conjure up.
    Then there is the group who would care but don’t like to read or inform themselves about what is going on. It is our responsibility to NEVER be quiet about the totally disgusting abuse and to spread out info to these people.

  • GreenBalls

    Please take action and help the horses. Just sign this message to the city council.

  • Valentine

    Thank you Governor Paterson for your leadership in calling for an end to the barbaric practice of making horses pull carriages in 21st century traffic. If New Delhi can do it, then New York City can too (wait, shouldn’t it be the other way around?)

  • Lois Marie Frescura

    Thank You Governor David Paterson. You are a very wise and compassionate man.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    -Gandhi (1869-1948)

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  • Adriana Rojas

    When I first heard he was attending the reception, I was very surprised (pleasantly, that is). Considering the mixed reviews about his leadership and the difficult choices he’s been faced with, I found it admirable that he would take the time out for this event, let alone have an opinion and make a stand.
    As a NYLHV member, I am proud of him and thankful for his time and contribution to this important issue in our city.

  • Maria Helena

    I’m from Brazil and often visit New York, a city I love and admire. The only thing that always upsets me is to see those poor horses dragging people around in the traffic rain and shine, as a horse person I can see their suffering. This type of ride belongs to the past and I salute the Governor for his empathy and humane stance regarding these horses.

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