Celebrity-Stuffed PETA Video Denounces Carriage Horse Industry, Urges de Blasio To Ban It Already
The battle over carriage horses in the city is dragging on and on, with no end in sight, and, as yet, no bill introduced in the City Council that would actually ban the industry and replace it with the classic cars favored by animal rights group NYCLASS. While Bill de Blasio famously promised "an immediate ban" on carriage horses during his campaign, the mayoral reality hasn't been quite so neat; a recent Newsday story found that 19 city council members are undecided on the merits of a ban, versus 15 who support it and eight who oppose it.
Screenshot via PETA
Neither side definitely has the 26-vote majority they'd need for victory, and in the meantime, everyone is ramping up their publicity. First there was Liam Neeson's big visit to the Clinton Park stables, where he called carriage driving "a beautiful industry." And yesterday, PETA released a new video wherein millions of celebrities denounce the carriage horse industry as cruel and inhumane. If you were waiting to hear what Dave Navarro's eyebrows think about horses before you made up your mind, wait no more.
Here's the full video:
As you can see, it's also a not-so-subtle nudge to de Blasio to go ahead and take action on the carriage horses; viewers are being encouraged to tweet at the mayor with the hashtag #TYdeBlasio. Neither the mayor nor Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, who also supports a ban, have spoken publicly about the bill in quite a while. Mark Viverito told WABC in January she was "not sure" when a ban bill might be reintroduced.
In the meantime, we've got this ongoing war of words and famous people. PETA spokesperson Dan Mathews tell us the non-profit's reliance on celebrities is "a numbers game: if it was my boyfriend in the video, all of our dozens of friends would see it; when someone like Pink, who has 22 million followers is in it, millions take notice and become more informed on the issue. Because this is an issue involving tourists, it's of interest to everyone around the world who visits the city, not just New Yorkers."
Christina Hansen, not surprisingly, feels differently. She's a carriage driver and a spokesperson for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, an industry group. She tells the Voice via email that the latest PETA video is "a tone-deaf compilation of old, tired, and false material," adding, "This is a desperate attempt on the part of a few very wealthy donors to PETA and to Bill de Blasio's mayoral campaign to remind the Mayor who bought and paid for him on this issue." (Hansen says she suspects, too, that PETA sped up the footage to make midtown traffic look more dangerous than it is: "The horses trotting in traffic have obviously been sped up, from the rate of their footfalls.")
This fun and productive back-and-forth between the two sides will continue until the City Council pulls itself out of its apparent stupor and just puts this thing to a vote already.
Hansen's full statement is on the following page.