In the highly charged effort to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of NYC, activists can rarely anticipate the unseemly events that lurk around the corner – from false accusations by elected officials and hostile media outlets to physical and verbal attacks by carriage operators. What they can – and are – doing, however, is moving mountains to help pass the Mayor’s historic bill to ban the city’s inhumane, unsafe and archaic horse-drawn carriage trade.
Following are some of the most compelling tactics being employed by NYCLASS, the animal rights group leading the lobbying effort, and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, which started the movement in 2006.
1. TV Commercial: With the help of a pro-animal TV production company, NYCLASS created a commercial that has aired and will air again on local television in the months leading up to a vote.
2. Postcard Campaign: The NY Observer reports that NYCLASS “is turning up the heat on lawmakers by mailing graphic postcards to all 51 Council Members every day until the carriage-banning legislation is passed.” Each of the 7,000 postcards is signed by a NYC voter and will be sent to his or her Council Member.
3. Subway ads: In February, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is rolling out this provocative ad campaign in NYC subway stations. Since 2007, the Coalition, which is the go-to group for information about the issue, has been staging regular protests against the industry and producing a weekly newsletter sent to advocates around the world.
4. An army of activists: Hundreds of NYC voters feel passionately enough about the plight of the horses to dedicate their free time to educating voters in the streets and lobbying lawmakers at City Hall. This week, activists with NYCLASS conducting outreach in front of the offices of two “undecided” NYC Council Members were unexpectedly invited inside to make their case for a ban.
Luckily, the activists were not carrying the dead horse replica that they sometimes use to attract attention in neighborhoods where local Council Members opposes the ban.
NYCLASS and The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages are leading the fight locally, but they are not working alone. Representatives from national advocacy groups, including PETA, HSUS, FOA, the ASPCA and Last Chance for Animals, are also lobbying Council Members and/or running educational campaigns.
Since 2008, PETA has also lent major star power to the effort, rolling out billboards and videos with pro-animal celebrities like Pink, Lea Michele, Kathy Najimy and Kristen Johnston.
To date, the majority of Council Members have not publicly stated whether they plan to vote in favor of or against the horse-drawn carriage ban. Like most politicians, they will make their decision based on political expedience — not on the merits of the issue. In the unlikely event that the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages is voted down, it won’t be for a lack of effort by the advocacy community. But perish the thought!
2. To learn more about the issue and keep apprised of news, subscribe to the weekly newsletter of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.
3. Watch the award-winning documentary film BLINDERS to see why people have been fighting for years to take the horses out of NYC:
Filed under: Entertainment
Tagged with: Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, horse-drawn carriages, New York, NYC, NYCLASS