Christine Quinn | Martina Navratilova | New York | News | PETA

Martina Navratilova Blasts NYC's 'Cruel' Horse-Drawn Carriage Industry After Anti-Gay, Racist Incident: VIDEO



HorsePETA spokeswoman Martina Navratilova has sent a letter to NYC City Council speaker Christine Quinn on the group's behalf condemning the horse-drawn carriage industry following a disturbing incident over LGBT Pride weekend which was captured on video in which a group of women leafleting near the carriages were verbally assaulted with homophobic and racist slurs by one of the drivers.

Navratilova says the incident is just further proof that the NYC horse-drawn carriage industry, given recent accidents which have led to horse and human injuries, needs an overhaul, and urges Quinn to change her position on the issue.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP....

NavratilovaNavratilova's letter to Quinn:

July 16, 2012
The Honorable Christine Quinn
New York City Council Speaker
Dear Speaker Quinn:
I'm writing to ask that you shift your position on the city's horse-drawn carriage problem, not just because of the danger and the cruelty endured by the horses in midtown traffic but also because of the aggressive homophobia exhibited by carriage drivers.
As any animal lover will tell you, the carriage drivers you support spew hate when anyone expresses concern for the horses they force to work in all weather extremes, and during Pride weekend it was captured on video. "You have a big dyke convention here?" shouted the driver at a small group of women, mostly seniors, who were peacefully leafleting near where the carriages line up. "F**king ni**er," he said to a black woman in the group. How can you support such a scurrilous industry that spouts racist and homophobic vitriol?
Many PETA advocates, including me, are gay. We share a heightened sense of responsibility in fighting the callous disregard that many have for animal suffering because we have experienced a similar disregard for the cruelty that we ourselves have faced. You are a champion of gay rights; won't you extend your compassion to the city's beleaguered working animals? These animals have been stripped of all their rights and have been denied the opportunity to fulfill their natural instincts. And for years, there have been accidents resulting in horse deaths and human injuries, the most recent occurring just last month when an SUV collided with a horse, which I hope you read about. That's why I urge you to support Intro. 86A, the bill seeking to replace the archaic horse-drawn carriages with eco-friendly classic cars. At the very least, won't you green-light the pilot program to test the viability of this savvy idea? It doesn't cost the city a cent or any jobs and is sure to be a hit with tourists. All eyes are on you to make the right move.
As evidenced by the hateful, bigoted carriage driver in the video, everything about this industry is stuck in the 19th century. Help us move into a more civilized future. I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.
Martina Navratilova

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

An UPDATE to the story HERE.

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  1. I actually think the idea of merging a small organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals, their rights, as well as the humane treatment of all people, including LGBT is a niche and neat idea. I'm not saying Peta is that, but someone else could start that. I agre with the comment above how one thing I love about my LGBT community is just how many of us are animal lovers. It's amazing. I also swear animals tend to gravitate toward LGBT (having had a farm and many gay friends) it's as though we can sense each other's compassion

    Posted by: TXBoy | Jul 17, 2012 4:59:46 PM

  2. It's not impossible to fight for two worthy causes in the same breath. It's very reasonable an effective to mandate an end to the cruelty the horses face as well as mandating a redefining phase of the people who are running the industry. An employee who screams bigotry at passersby and an industry that has poor treatment of their animals goes hand in hand for this gay person. I salute Martina for caring about issues that don't effect her, but do effect the life of another living thing. Coupled with her willingness to stand up to prejudice, and she proves to be a stand up human being.

    Posted by: Goldstandard | Jul 17, 2012 5:04:56 PM

  3. "Why is it when a white man is homophobic, people are allowed to lash out on his race? When a black man is violently homophobic, we're not allowed to comment on their race? Reverse racism much?"

    Is this your first coming to this blog? We're you able to read before today?

    I don't like insults against Irish Catholics because of one homophobic idiot who happens to be Irish Catholic, BUT these comments are "baby talk" compared to what's said here about Blacks when the subject is a homophobic Black.

    Maybe you weren't being serious. Yes, that's it--you were being sarcastic. Right?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 17, 2012 5:11:02 PM

  4. @ Chris
    Peta doesnt represent all animal lovers. I notice people who resent thos who are animal lovers like to throw out a peta dig at People who work for the welfare of animals. It's a go to (lazy) insult. There's thousands of animal welfare organizations that are not at all affiliated to Peta. People who actually realize that animals can feel pain, hurt and suffering just as we can. Instead of constantly bashing Peta or heck, people who love animals and have NOTHING to do with PETA; go make yourself useful and volunteer one hour, just one day, at your local pound and see the number of dogs that come in after being terribly abused, kicked, thrown out of a car, or used as bait in a dog fight. Go show them some love and see them roll over for a belly rub and feel a little less hostile on this topic.

    Posted by: Mark J. | Jul 17, 2012 5:23:06 PM

  5. Mark J-

    Beautifully put. You should be proud of the heart you have.

    Posted by: Jenkins | Jul 17, 2012 5:25:01 PM

  6. It's her letter, it's her right and she can advocate for whatever cause she wants.

    I support Martina's quest one hundred percent. They need to regulate the industry more carefully to make sure the practices and those hired are on the up & up.

    Posted by: ConstanceStance | Jul 17, 2012 5:26:57 PM

  7. Hey, I thought making comments about a persons background is a no no. Or does that only apply to the constant wave of black homophobes who target our community. We have to be super PC and not addresss their brand of homophobia, which is cultural and we all know it stems from their culture. Meanwhile, how many Irish jabs have been taken on this guy?

    Posted by: JOJO | Jul 17, 2012 5:36:00 PM

  8. i just watch the video and there no racist slurs directed at the racist homophobic animal abuser.

    Posted by: Mary | Jul 17, 2012 6:08:28 PM

  9. i just watch the video and there no racist slurs directed at the racist homophobic animal abuser.

    Posted by: Mary | Jul 17, 2012 6:08:30 PM

  10. Disgraceful that it happened during Pride Day. here is another video of another carriage drivers calling people gay.

    Posted by: John | Jul 17, 2012 6:12:20 PM

  11. These are uneducated people from the bottom of the barrel. They attack people, make racists remarks and homophobic remarks. These people have no compassion for animals nor any living being. They worship their tax free money that the city subsidized. it is disgraceful how the city enables this corrupt city. They pay the central park no concession fee and ruin the park for the native new yorkers. Also they force the horses to work in 90 and above degrees and the Park depts does NOTHING

    Posted by: John | Jul 17, 2012 6:15:35 PM

  12. I'd have removed that yag's finger and he'd find it the next time he used the facilities.

    Posted by: Johnson | Jul 17, 2012 7:22:35 PM

  13. How great a paradox that on one hand we vilify this man for his out burst but in the same very posts make remarks about his back ground, religion and upbringing. Hypocrites much.

    Also we are shown a edited clip of a video. How do we know what was or was not said to him prior to this reaction. It quite possibly was a push and pull between he and the women videoing. There are several other videos of her under her YT name speaking quite vulgarly to the drivers using all sorts of profanity that equal if not trump his out burst. It seems quite clear to me that this person spends a tremendous amount of time interacting with the drivers and is quite the antagonist.

    Typical media show the driver's out burst but do no research into what created the incidence. I for one would have filed a restraining order against that women 20 video's ago.

    Posted by: Heather L | Jul 17, 2012 11:13:00 PM

  14. As with any mere blip of video, there's a backstory.

    For 6 years,a growing group of radical animal rights activists have been assembling on 59th St, to harangue, harass, insult, & bait the drivers and their passengers, while attempting to interfere with a legal business.

    They say things off camera, and then turn it on when they get a response, or just edit down to spotlight what they want. They have used all types of racial, ethnic, and misogynistic slurs, have made children in the carriages cry, even told a pregnant carriage driver that her baby 'should be born dead or retarded'. Of course, none of that makes the final cut of the video.

    In internet forums, these people have championed actual sabotage of the carriages and stables.

    It goes without saying that pointing to bad behavior does not mitigate other bad behavior; what this driver said was wrong, period. What he said doesn't reflect the opinions or feelings of the industry, has nothing to do with the issue, and it doesn't even reflect the real feelings of the man who said it, as he employed a gay man for 6 years as a driver on his OWN carriage, and has friends from every race imaginable (yes, I know that sounds like the old 'some of my best friends are black', but it happens to be true.)

    Remember Alec Baldwin called a carriage driver a 'faggot' back in 1992, right inside City Hall? It was reported in the media, and he was called on it by out-Councilman Tom Duane, and had to make a public apology at Duane's behest. He did, and all was forgiven.

    This driver -- pushed to the brink by lunatic activities week in and week out, for years, followed, filmed, and dogged, called 'bog trotter', 'drunken Irish scum', 'dickless', 'ball-less', 'animal abuser' etc etc ad nauseum -- said something hateful which was meant to hurt the people who were hurting him; he was fighting back by pushing buttons. Who among us has never done this? He now very much regrets his words and intends to apologize for them. He is genuinely horrified that he stooped to their level.

    You can believe me or not, but I know -- because he is a good friend, in addition to being one of the best drivers and horsemen in the industry.

    To those of you who think there is abuse or cruelty in the NYC carriage industry, you very much mistaken. Our horses enjoy amenity-filled lives with more oversight than children at risk in this city. I'd be happy to answer any questions any of you have.

    Posted by: michaleen | Jul 17, 2012 11:42:45 PM

  15. “Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.”
    — PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk, in the September 1989 issue of Vogue, Sep 1989

    Posted by: Thomas | Jul 18, 2012 12:01:17 AM

  16. Michaleen
    What he said in the video was uncivil, rude and crude. No excuses an adult behaving so Disrespectful in public, and especially when representing a company in uniform as a staff member. I believe we should always try to maintain class and kindness. Even in heated moments. I hope this man can learn from this lesson. I certainly think he can, and become a better person because of it

    Posted by: Carrie | Jul 18, 2012 12:50:22 AM

  17. The man has a NORTHERN IRELAND accent, not a southern accent. I do not know what his religion is or if he's religious at all.

    Who here is intimately familiar with NYC and life in the big apple? This was pretty TAME stuff. I of course am not defending the man's bad attitude and language, but angry people no matter their background, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, etc. talk smack. We're all [I think] adults here and know this is true.

    In all honesty also, many of these folks like the PETA women, planned parenthood, greenpeace, ron paul supporters, etc. can be a serious pain in the a** for the average person just trying to go about their business, and in this case, these people whose livelihood is the carriage trade. I do often notice a certain smugness with obvious class over-tones with many people like so-called environmentalist [there's a big difference between real environmentalist and the Al Gore / radical chic bourgeois kind], the usually young pretty white girls who petition on the sidewalks fro planned parenthood, etc.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 18, 2012 10:46:29 AM

  18. The horse-drawn carriages near Central Park are traditionally romantic, but many of the horses are certainly mistreated and worked until they drop dead. I'm against hunting for sport, especially with telescopic sights and automatic weapons from helicopters. Most fishermen eat the fish they catch, or tag & release. BUT - PETA and HSUS are simply lobbying organizations, whose executives live high on the hog with donated dollars. The money they drain from donors do nothing to benefit individual animals. If it were up to them, we would have no dogs, cats, birds, etc. as pets within a generation. That would be a great loss to most people. Give your money instead to small local rescue outfits, which rescue, rehabilitate and find forever homes for abandoned and mistreated dogs & cats.

    Posted by: DrMikey | Jul 18, 2012 11:12:43 AM

  19. @John said,

    'These are uneducated people from the bottom of the barrel.'

    Wow, gee John, aren't you being mean spirited and class conscious, buddy? Are you saying all 'uneducated' people [I suppose to you ANYONE who works manual labor, blue collar or 'working class' jobs are the 'bottom of the barrel'?] are ahole sociopaths? Because John, in my experience, the biggest aholes and sociopaths / psychopaths in our world are actually the well educated white collar / professional variety.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 18, 2012 11:15:15 AM

  20. Oh, how Ms Quinn's "rebuke" of the vile tirade of this driver must have stuck in her throat. For, this sort of behavior has been exhibited by these drivers for many years - a fact that Ms Quinn has been apprised of, many times, evoking nothing more than silence from Madame Speaker. I have personally been witness to the racial, homophobic, misogynistic and even ageist, slurs issuing from their sewer mouths and the physical threats and assaults by these embarrassments to the city, whom former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, likened to "public urinators" and "squeegee pests".

    Though Quinn has been made aware of the actions of these drivers many times, it took a high profile gay person to finally get Quinn to issue her tepid statement of protest. Quinn undoubtedly, saw Ms Navratilova's statement as potentially harmful to her standing in the gay community, a community who's support she will need if her aspirations to Gracie Mansion are to be realized and thus was impelled to take an action that she was loathe to in the past. Quinn promotes her gayness for political expediency, not social justice.

    To the NYClass supporters who were victimized on this occasion: if your goal is getting relief for these long suffering horses, would you care to tell us why your founder and president, Steve Nislick, is supporting Chistine Quinn, the number one obstacle to getting these creatures off the streets, for mayor?

    And to those who fail to see the connection between all social justice movements, including justice for animals, it would serve you well to heed these words of the remarkable Cesar Chavez:

    "Kindness and compassion toward all living things is a mark of a civilized society. … Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cock fighting, bullfighting and rodeos are cut from the same fabric: violence."

    Posted by: Bob Pomilla | Jul 18, 2012 11:27:03 AM

  21. 2Eastcoast dudes are correct. Martina is not mixing two different messages, as many writers argue. She is pointing out, as in character witnesses at criminal trials, that bad people do bad things. Sociologists point out the correlation between animal abusers and their other anti-social behaviors. The fact that Quinn condemns one anti-social behavior while supporting another is shameful.

    Posted by: Alan | Jul 18, 2012 11:56:38 AM

  22. The horrible things that carriage driver said were unforgivable, but I myself am of Irish Catholic heritage, and I really don't appreciate the anti-Irish comments some people are making here.

    Posted by: AJD | Jul 18, 2012 12:30:42 PM

  23. If you have never experienced the carriage industry first hand and from the inside, do not make judgements you are not qualified to make!!! Why would a company be cruel to their horses, which is their main source of income?! These horses are not cheep so why would one NOT take care of them? Horses NEED a job and something to do. They are and have always been a "beast of burden", bred to serve mankind for centuries! Some are show horses, pleasure horses or work horses. It is their lot in life. It is no more curel to make a show horse or a carrige horse, same thing! In fact, a carriage horse is not subjected to as much human intervention as a carriage horse! Unless you have experience with horses, do not assume you know whats best for them!!!

    Posted by: Joanne | Jul 18, 2012 5:57:07 PM

  24. Sorry I make a typographical error....."a carrige horse is not subjected to as much human intervention as a SHOW HORSE" is what I should have typed. MANY breeds of show horses are being closely watched by regulators to stem the tide of widespread abuse for the sake of winning! Why not turn your attention to them? A Tennessee Walking Show horse would never think to move that way in the show ring, yet competitors keep getting away with forcing their horses into moving in the most un-natural way possible, in order to win! Now THAT is horrific and cruel! Go get 'em PETA and leave the carriage horses alone.

    Posted by: Joanne | Jul 18, 2012 6:04:49 PM

  25. By the way, I don't really give a crap what any person does in their bedroom, it's none of my business and none of yours either! Hetrosexual people do much more weird and unspeakable things than a gay person ever thought of, so why doesn't any one protest their disgusting acts? Double standard? Yeah!

    Posted by: Joanne | Jul 18, 2012 6:07:46 PM

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