In response to a lawsuit filed by the horse-drawn carriage industry to silence the opposition in NYC, animal rights activists staged a protest wearing symbolic tape over their mouths to demonstrate that, even if silenced, they can convince tourists to abstain from taking “cruel and dangerous” horse-drawn carriage rides in midtown Manhattan.
The silent protest, which replaced chants with images, garnered so much attention from pedestrians that NYCLASS said it intends to its incorporate the tactic into future actions. That said, the organization will not be silenced, according to Jill Carnegie, NYCLASS’ director of campaigns: “We believe in the First Amendment – and that means we have the right to educate everyone about the cruelties of the reckless carriage horse industry. We won’t stop until they are removed from dangerous city streets.”
Animal rights activists in NYC stage a symbolic silent protest after being sued by the horse-drawn carriage industry
In December, 2016, Central Park Sightseeing, a horse-drawn carriage company, filed the lawsuit against NYCLASS and several individual activists in which it sought – and won – an injunction to limit first amendment expression in the area where tourists board the carriages. The defendants intend to appeal the injunction in order to protect their constitutional rights. ‘We cannot allow a ruling that says freedom of speech should be censored on public streets merely because carriage drivers don’t like the truth,” said Carnegie. “Speaking up and fighting for what you believe in is our duty as engaged Americans, especially at a time of upheaval and uncertainty.”
NYC’s horse-drawn carriage industry and animal rights activists in legal battle over protests
The NYC animal rights community did not expect to be protesting horse-drawn carriages in 2017 because, in 2013, NYC Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio ran for office on an unmistakeable promise to ban horse-drawn carriages if elected. His “Watch me do it!” pledge has since been replaced with, “Take it up with the City Council.”
Please join NYCLASS in it effort to compel the Mayor and City Council to take horse-drawn carriages off the streets of NYC.
As part of the 2017 Worldwide Rally For Cecil, animal rights activists staged a rally in Union Square, a social justice hub in NYC, to remember the majestic lion in Zimbabwe who was killed by Walter Palmer, a hunter from Minnesota. During the rally, advocates distributed information to the public about cruelty and impact of hunting and the lies perpetuated by hunters to justify killing animals for trophies.
According to CompassionWorks International (CWI), the organizer of the Worldwide Rally for Cecil, similar events took place in 41 Cities, 20 U.S. states and 10 countries, including Australia, Ireland, Macedonia, Serbia and Zimbabwe.
Activists with CompassionWorks International stage a Rally For Cecil at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the weekend of a convention for hunters
The largest rally took place in Las Vegas, where the nation’s leading hunting organization, Safari Club International (SCI), held its annual convention. During the convention, CWI hired a mobile billboard company to drive along the Las Vegas strip with a message condemning trophy hunting.
Anti-trophy hunting mobile billboard travels the Las Vegas trip during a hunting convention
LUSH, a cruelty-free cosmetics company, provided CWI with a grant to pay for the mobile billboard. The company also posted a “KILLING IS NOT CONSERVATION” sign in the window of its retail store in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where hunting convention took place.
LUSH, a company that supports animal rights, sent a strong message to attendees of the hunting convention that took place in Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas
In a message to rally organizers and the media, Carrie LeBlanc, CWI’s Executive Director, said of trophy hunting, “Killing for fun and for ego is vile and lacking in compassion and morality. We have a shared responsibility to protect and conserve our natural world, not to kill it for bragging rights and a rug.”
In 2018, the Worldwide Rally For Cecil will become the Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH). To join the campaign to end trophy hunting, please visit WRATH and CompassionWorks International.
With NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio failing to deliver on his campaign promise to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets midtown Manhattan, animal advocates with Empty the Carriages have resumed the grass-roots effort to compel tourists to boycott carriage rides. Along Central Park South where tourists board the carriages, tensions are running higher than ever between the advocates and the drivers.
With many tourists opting out of carriage rides, the drivers have filed a lawsuit against the advocates in an effort to curb their impact. Among their demands is a 15 foot buffer zone that would prevent advocates from being able to interact with tourists contemplating a carriage ride.
A NYC horse-drawn carriage driver tears up an activist’s poster
For decades, animal advocates and other concerned NYers have campaigned, in the streets and at City Hall, to ban horse-drawn carriages on the grounds that the industry is inhumane and unsafe. When, in 2013, Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio included a horse-drawn carriage ban in his campaign platform, the industry fought back with the help of the pro-carriage media, elected officials and actor Liam Neeson.
This 2006 accident in which a horse named Spotty died sparked the movement to ban horse-drawn carriages from Manhattan
Instead of working to fulfill his promise by building a case for a ban with lawmakers, the media and the public, the Mayor abandoned the very issue that helped catapult him to his Mayoral victory.
Elected officials and animal advocates in NYC staged a rally at City Hall and testified at a public hearing in support of a bill to ban wild and exotic animals from circuses.
In 2016, Ringling Brothers eliminated elephant acts from its circus, but the company continues to use tigers, camels and other exotic animals. Other circuses that travel to New York, such as Universoul, continue to use elephants. Cole Bros., another company that used elephants in its circus, went out of business in 2016 due to diminished attendance and show cancellations in Long Island and New Jersey.
Elephants and tigers among the many animals beaten into submission by circus “trainers.”
At the public hearing, City Council Member Corey Johnson, a co-sponsor on the bill, said “We’re probably going to look back on this [wild animals in circuses] years from now and say, ‘Why were we comfortable with that?’ In the largest city in the United States, I think we need to set the tone and example for the rest of the country.”
NYC Council Member Corey Johnson testifies in support of bill to ban wild and exotic animals from circuses
Dozens of cities and countries around the world have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. Animal rights groups in the United States say they will continue to protest until all circuses retire all of their wild and exotic animals.
If you live in NYC, please ask your Council Member to co-sponsor Int. 1233 to ban wild & exotic animals from performances in NYC.
In a country with dozens of elephant camps masquerading as sanctuaries, one spot in Thailand stands out as the real deal — Elephant Nature Park, a refuge for dozens of elephants rescued from logging concessions, the entertainment industry and land mine explosions.
Most of the elephant camps in Thailand allow visitors to ride the animals, a sign that they are beaten into submission by “trainers.” Elephant Nature Park, on the other hand, prioritizes the needs of the elephants by rehabilitating them, incorporating them into a herd and providing them with as natural an environment as possible.