Kathy Najimy was on the Wendy Williams show to talk about the NYC carriage horses; actually, it can be more accurately described as the same old lies, misrepresentations, and libel presented as truth. Ms. Najimy is well aware that she is telling lies and yet, she just doesn’t seem to care. I hate to give it more airtime, but here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ee-HUpDC2s4&feature=player_embedded
I sent the following response to Ms. Williams:
Dear Ms. Williams,
I realize that your show is not a “news” show, but allowing outright lies to be presented as fact is simply unacceptable. Ms. Najimy’s assertion that “nine [carriage] horses have just dropped in midtown this year” is not only false, Ms. Najimy knows it is a bald-faced lie.
Not only does Ms. Najimy know nothing about horses in general she knows nothing about the NYC carriage horses in particular. Has she ever been to the stables? No, she has not. Has she ever talked to the drivers, their vets, or farriers? No, no, and no. Has she read the rules and regulations governing the NYC carriage horses? Highly unlikely. Yet she continues to lie about the carriage horses. One has to wonder why…
Here are the facts about the NYC Carriage horses:
Not one NYC carriage horse driver has ever been cited for abuse or neglect of their horse(s). In the last 30 – that’s THIRTY – years, three horses have died in traffic accidents, and seven others died while on duty from either natural or unknown causes. Two drivers have been injured, one seriously. Three passengers suffered minor injuries. Can any other equestrian discipline match these numbers? I’m not trying to minimize the death of any horse or the injury to any person, but those are remarkable numbers.
As an aside, Steve Nislick, one of the founders of NYClass, one of the groups trying to get the carriage horses banned, is an eventer – ask him how many eventing horses have died in the last year while competing, in addition to the three that recently died in a trailering accident.
As for “accidents”:
How many fatal accidents in the city have occurred between cars/taxis and pedestrians or bicyclists in 2011? Answer: 237 (Press Release, NYC.gov, Mayor Bloomberg, Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan, and Police Commissioner Kelly Announce All-Time Record Low in Traffic Fatalities in 2011, http://tinyurl.com/bpwrb3b)
In 2010 there were more than 6,000 New York City traffic accidents involving cyclists and cars/taxis. (Stephanie Smith, Bicycle injuries: Is the right-of-way fight getting ugly?, CNN, April 20, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/74huhsj)
There have also been accidents involving dogs. (A Walk in the Park, Central Park Dog Off Leash Policy Questioned – Suit Filed After Injury, Nov. 22, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/cz8etmf)
By the anti-horse crowd’s logic I guess we should also ban pedestrians, cyclists, and dogs.
And how many carriage horse accidents involving cars/taxis were there in 2011? Answer: three. In 2012 there has been one.
The New York City carriage horses are some of the most regulated animals in this country, overseen by the ASPCA, the Health Department, and the Bureau of Consumer Affairs. The fact there has never been a citation for mistreatment or cruelty, even with an awful lot of folks looking for it (including the ASPCA which supports a ban), speaks volumes. The incredibly low number of accidents is also astonishing given the number of carriage rides.
Speaking of the ASPCA, did you know that the ASPCA’s former vet, Dr. Pamela Corey, resigned over the handling of the investigation of Charlie’s death? (Mary Johnson, Carriage Horse Vet Resigns from ASPCA, DNAInfo, March 10, 2012, http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120310/manhattan/carriage-horse-vet-resigns-from-aspca)
Did you know that the ASPCA gave Steve Nislick, one of the founders of NYClass $400,000? (Emily B. Hager, Push to Ban New York Carriage Horses Gains Steam, N.Y. Times, Dec. 7, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/c5motyp)
Did you know that NYClass paid $125,000 for an ad with Lea Michele calling for a ban on the carriage horses? (Annie Hartnett, Glee Star Lea Michele Calls for Boycott of Horse-Drawn Carriages, Jan. 13, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/cvsclqk). As is the case with Ms. Nijimy, Ms. Michele knows nothing about horses and has refused repeated invitations to tour the NYC carriage horse stables.
Did you know that Mr. Nislick wants the land upon which the carriage stables are located? (Anna Sanders, The Carriage Horse Wars Stampede Through City Hall, New York Observer, Nov. 22, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/84u93xw)
Did you know that Steve Nislick has been trying to buy votes for Intro 86, a law that would allow the city to seize the privately owned carriage horses? (David Seifman, Secret tape: how to spin to council, Candid carriage foe, N.Y. Post, Jan. 1, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/br38sds)
Did you know that there is not even a proto-type available for the faux antique car being touted as a replacement for the carriage horses? In an article in the New York Times (Emily B. Hager, Meet the Contraption That Wants to Replace Central Park Horses, N.Y. Times, Oct. 7, 2011, http://tinyurl.com/3eeqa8c) the developer of the prototype, Jason Wenig “said that once he got the green light, he could have prototypes on the road in a year.”
So, basically, there is nothing in place to have actual, useable cars on the road. And who is going to pay to build the prototypes? Where will these cars be housed? And who is going to pay for their upkeep? Where are the spent batteries going to be disposed?
In the same article it states: “The cars are projected to cost $125,000 to $175,000. NY-Class envisions that a nonprofit group that provides financing to start-ups would buy the cars and lease them to drivers for $21,000 a year. Purchasing a new horse and carriage costs $15,000 on average.”
I would hardly call this an offer – “envisions that a nonprofit group…” is not the same thing as a done deal. And leasing at $21,000 PER YEAR? So, basically, the carriage drivers are being asked to give up their horses, their carriage, their livelihood for the possibility of maybe getting a lease for one of these cars?
And the projected cost of the proto-type is between $400,000 and $475,000. Do the anti-horse people have any idea how much hay, or how many vet/farrier bills this could cover for the 100,000 plus “unwanted” horses in this country? (http://www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org/)
Ms. Najimy and the other anti-horse people claim they have homes for the 200 plus carriage horses – but why would they need new homes when they already have homes? As I said earlier, the NYC carriage horses are privately owned. In addition, Blue Star Equiculture, www.equiculture.org, is the official retirement home for the carriage horses. (Matthew Kassel, After 12 Years, This Horse Is About To Retire From Pulling Tourist Carriages Around Central Park, Business Insider, April 6, 2012, http://tinyurl.com/7qs78rf)
Additionally, the anti-horse crowd has refused to identify these “homes.” Could it be that what the anti-horse people really hope is that the carriage horse owners will tire of the fight and take their horses out of the city on their own? Then the anti-horse crowd can claim “victory” without actually having to put up any money or do any work to find these horses “homes.”
So, again, why is the anti-horse crowd focusing on horses that are well-cared for, well-loved, have jobs, and are safe? What this really boils down to are two things: real estate and the radical animal rights activists’ goal of eliminating any human-animal interaction.
And I have a question for Ms. Najimy: how much money is she being paid to jump on this ill-conceived bandwagon?
By the way – I am not a carriage driver. I haven’t lived in the NYC vicinity in years. But I am a horse owner and I simply cannot stand idly by and watch the further erosion of our bond with our animals all for the greed of a real estate developer and the twisted machinations of radical animal rights activists.
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. Winston Churchill