Friday, June 26, 2015

Carriage Horses Redux, and a Win...

Another essential dispatch from Jon Katz at Bedlam Farm.

"No one really knows how many millions of dollars NY Class, PETA, and a coalition of animal rights groups have spent trying to mobilize public support for the carriage horse ban and bullying the members of the City Council to pass the mayor's carriage horse ban...

"In the last week alone, these groups have mailed out hundreds of thousands of glossy color posted sized pieces showing dead horses (some of them from New York, some from elsewhere) to people for days in a row. They are organizing expensive phone channeling telephone calls from all over the country. They are following carriage drivers with video cameras, trying to catch them violating city regulations, they have hired private detectives to follow them, they have released a series of videos on you tube, and enlisted various naive and poorly informed Hollywood stars who think they are being hip and progressive.

"They have established a network of blogs and fund-raising websites using photographs of dead and injured horses, most from unknown places outside of New York to raise tens of millions of dollars from people who believe they are saving or rescuing animals, rather than sending them off to languish or die..

"The animal rights groups have organized hundreds of demonstrators – some  paid – to gather at the carriage horse lines in Central Park, hand out thousands of pamphlets, intimidate children, tourists and horse lovers, to shout insults at the carriage drivers and call them murderers, to secretly tape them in the hopes of catching them saying something controversial or angry.

"... The next chapter in this disturbing drama will be – should be – to stop the intimidation, harassment and abuse of the carriage trade, it is unconscionable that is occurring, and that the city government appears to be supporting it...  The animal rights ethos has become in some ways a fascistic, not a progressive one. Its targets are the poor and the working class. It despises the democratic process, and it dehumanizes it's targets and treats them in ways that are beyond the pale of a democratic and civil society."

The carriage trade is considering  lawsuit. I would not be optimistic about this but for a strangely parallel suit won by environmentally conscious ranchers against the so- called Center for Biodiversity (do NOT confuse with the scholarly Berry Center for Biodiversity at U Wy Laramie, run by my friend Carlos Martinez del Rio-- I mean the one down here run by the former grad student in literature from Long Island, the one that seems to harass good ranchers as though it were a personal feud). A rancher named Jim Chilton has a 25,000 acre lease in Arizona where his environmental practices have been praised by a team of independent researchers who studied the land for six years, among others.

Unimpressed, the CDB stepped up their campaign of "psychological warfare" to drive him off the land, one that included outright lies and photographs of stripped ground that turned out to be a Forest Service parking lot. The result, according to Ted Williams of Fly Rod and Reel (not online yet I think) was that "... Chilton then took CBD to court, winning $100,000 for harm to his reputation and $500,000 in punitive damages... this is the only time an NGO has been successfully sued for libel."

Go get 'em!

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