I am excited to announce that my 30th book, "Who Speaks For the Carriage Horses: The Future Of Animals In Our World?" is now onsale, for $3.99. The book also contains about 50 of my carriage horse photos.
I am proud to have written this book, it explores the quite surprising truth behind the bitter and wrenching carriage horse controversy in New York, a subject I would not have imagined even a year ago that I would be writing a book about. My decision to go to New York City in January of this year and visit the Clinton Park stables – the first of many visits – was a fateful one. I am a former journalist – I worked for the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, I wrote for Rolling Stone and Wired magazines.
I had been reading for years about the alleged mistreatment of the horses and was surprised to hear the city's new mayor vow that removing the horses from the city was his first and most important priority upon taking office. He promised to ban them in his first week. He failed in that and was met by enormous and widespread opposition to the ban – all three city papers, a strong majority of city residents, the city's Chamber of Commerce and horse and animal lovers from all over the country. He refuses to this day to meet with the carriage owners or drivers or discuss his determination to remove the horses from the city.
This week, he announced that he is trying again, he is hopping to move a carriage horse ban through the City Council, generally considered a rubber-stamp entity. I imagine the fate of the horses will end up in the courts, a long and unnecessary fight.
I have always believed in rights for animals, one of my steers was the national poster boy for the Humane Society's campaign against corporate farming. But this year, I came to see clearly in the carriage horse controversy that the movement that calls itself supportive of animal rights in New York City and seeks to banish the horses is not helping the horses or other animals, they have become a rogue social culture, obsessed with manipulative fund-raising, indifference to truth or fairness. They seem utterly ignorant of the real lives and needs of real animals.
They have no right to speak for the carriage horses or to presume to know their rights.
They regularly harass and abuse the carriage drivers and the tourists, visitors and even children who ride in the carriage horses through the city's beautiful great park, which was, in great measure, designed for the horses. The mayor has never owned a dog or a cat. He proposes to replace the horses with a fleet of $160,000 vintage "cruelty-free" electric cars. My book argues that the carriage horses are among the luckiest, most regulated and most fortunate animals in the world, they are not in need of rescue or government intervention.
Some of the questions addressed in my book:
Does truth matter? Do the people who own animals have any rights at all? It is cruel and abusive for working animals to work? Are the carriage horses really at peril? Can animals remain in our world when the prime goal of the animal rights movement seems to be to remove them to private farms and preserves where they will never been seen again? It is just to take away people's animals and livelihood because private individuals and organizations – none of whom have been elected or given statutory power – arbitrarily decide to redefine what abuse and cruelty is?
I have written a dozen books about dogs and other animals, talked to countless vets, behaviorists, trainers and animal lovers, I have owned a horse and have three equines of my own – donkeys. I was well equipped to explore this subject. I was profoundly shocked by the failure of the New York City media or political world to question or explore the increasingly outrageous, distorted, or simply false claims made for years now by some animal rights organizations against the carriage trade owners and drivers. I felt it was an outrage, the truth is readily available to anyone who wants to to find it.
I have been writing about the carriage horse controversy for six months and have gathered and edited these writings – and added new material – for this book, which is available only in e-form anywhere digital books are sold. It can be read on tablets, smartphones computers.
I do not believe in the "left" or "right" view of our world. I believe truth and facts matter, and I have worked hard to determine both in this wrenching story. I have dedicated the book to the New York Carriage Drivers, I wish them peace and freedom, they have broken no laws, committed no crimes, ignored none of the hundreds of regulations which govern their work.
It would have taken at least another year to publish this book in paper form, I'm not sure a publisher would have been interested. A portion of the proceeds will go to the fund to Save The New York Carriage Horses. The book was prepared by me alone, and not in conjunction with the carriage trade, none of whose members have yet seen it. The horse owners and drivers have been very generous of giving me their time and sharing their long and difficult experience. I thank them for that. If any living things in this controversy have been abused, it is the people, not the horses.
I am a trained journalist and experienced and successful animal author, I have written five New York Times bestsellers. I love animals and wish for them to remain in our world, have work and meaning, and be safe within reason. I hope you will consider buying this book and spreading the word about it if you like it. This week, the mayor of New York City has vowed to resume his campaign to ban the carriage horses from New York. My book could not come out at a better time and thanks for considering it.
I believe this assault on honest and hard-working people who work with animals is an injustice, committed in the name of progressivism, both to the people in the carriage trade and to the horses, who have as much right to be in New York City as we do. If the horses are driven from the city, anlmals all over the country and the world will be taken away from us. New York is the great stage. I hope the book will help to stop this, to right this wrong.