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Quinn Denounces Anti-Gay, Racist Carriage Incident; Drivers' Union to Undergo Anti-Discrimination Training

Earlier today, Towleroad posted video of a disturbing incident which took place over LGBT Pride in which a carriage horse driver hurled racist, sexist, homophobic slurs at a group of women leafleting nearby, along with a letter from Martina Navratilova condemning the incident and urging Speaker Christine Quinn to do so as well.

In the video, the driver is seen calling one woman a "f**king ni**er" and a "c*nt", and mocking the group of them for attending "the dyke convention".

NavratilovaNavratilova also used the opportunity as an animal rights activist and PETA spokesperson to urge the Speaker to change her position on the carriage industry as a whole and replace the horse-drawn carriages with cruelty-free eco-friendly cars.

Quinn responded to the incident and Navratilova's statement with a letter to the Teamsters Union and to Navratilova herself, both of which Towleroad obtained after reaching out to Quinn's office for a response to our original post.

Read them, AFTER THE JUMP...

Quinn's letter to the Teamsters Local 553 Union blasts the driver's behavior. The Union responded immediately, according to the NYT blog City Room, which picked up the story:

On Tuesday, Ms. Quinn said the union representing carriage drivers had agreed to immediately require its members to undergo anti-discrimination training. Ms. Quinn said her office would work with the union to find an appropriate gay-rights organization to help put the training in place.

QuinnSaid Quinn in the letter, which urged the training:

A video of one of your carriage horse drivers verbally assaulting a group of women during NYC’s LGBT Pride week was recently brought to my attention. The behavior depicted in this video is reprehensible and unacceptable from anyone, and is especially unbefitting of an industry the City Council has made sure treats its animals humanely...What happened to these women is truly outrageous and wrong and should not be tolerated.

Quinn also responded to Navratilova's criticism of the carriage horse industry, emphasizing practices which she says assure the safety and health of the carriage horses, but was not persuaded to change her position on their employment on New York City streets:

Given the tough economic times that we are in, we continue to believe that our current regulatory scheme, which does not permit the operation of electronic cars, strikes a fair balance between having stronger regulations in place to protect these horses while allowing an industry that generates vital jobs and tourism for our city to continue.

Read both of Quinn's letters, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Quinn Denounces Anti-Gay, Racist Carriage Incident; Drivers' Union to Undergo Anti-Discrimination Training" »


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

Carriage

EXCLUSIVE

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.
 
Sincerely,
 
Martina Navratilova

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

An UPDATE to the story HERE.

Exclusive - please credit Towleroad...

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


PETA VP Dan Mathews Blasts Atlanta Pride for Circuit Party at Aquarium

Out PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews was in Atlanta during the recent Pride celebrations and was troubled by a circuit party he heard about planned for the Georgia Aquarium:

I had never been inside an aquarium before--just outside as a demonstrator. I only learned of this gala when I arrived from Virginia to work PETA's booth at the gay pride festival in Piedmont Park. I found it ironic that my seemingly sophisticated subculture would celebrate freedom in a building that celebrates captivity.

MathewsMathews decided to investigate the party rather than protest it from outside, and was particularly concerned about the effect of ear-splitting dance music on the aquarium's beluga whales (particularly a 16-year-old named Beethoven, below):

Like gays, belugas are very social beings who in nature hang out in large, often exclusively same-sex groups called "pods." They are Arctic animals who travel thousands of miles each year in the wild, guided by an intricate sonar system centered in what looks like a bump on their forehead. They make high-pitched squeaks and whistles that bounce off the ocean floor, the polar ice caps and the coast to help them migrate, forage, breed and socialize.

This sonar system, which combines all their key senses, is thwarted in the relatively tiny aquarium tanks, and the trend in recent years of loud parties designed not for education but for extra profit has further devastated the lives and psyches of these uniquely gifted animals. The UN may have banned the torture of prisoners with music, but it is routinely practiced at the Georgia Aquarium.

BeethovenThe aquarium's guide, who was stationed at the tank to answer questions, said that loud music is especially bothersome to the whales:

"Especially the males―as soon as the music starts pounding, they go nuts and start attacking the harbor seals in the tanks. We had Jazz Fridays this summer, and I can't say many of the animals in any of the exhibits were fans. When the music starts, they get to fighting."

Mathews says he hopes the organizers will choose a more humane venue next year.

I wonder if Beluga whales have a tolerance for more mellow types of music? Mathews' post made me think of the video I featured several weeks ago of the Beluga whale in Mystic, Connecticut being serenaded by a Mexican mariachi band. That particular whale seemed more fascinated than upset.

A video of Beethoven the Beluga whale, AFTER THE JUMP...

Party Out of Bounds [huff post]

(image justin bieber with beethoven, the beluga whale referenced in mathews' post)

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Watch: Johnny Weir Taunts PETA with Look into His Furry Closet

Weir

Figure skater Johnny Weir switched to faux fur at last year's Olympics after threats of disruption from animal rights groups, but a new video for Bluefly.com may very well reignite their anger.

Said Weir in January: "I totally get the dirtiness of the fur industry and how terrible it is to animals. But it's not something that's the No. 1 priority in my life. There are humans dying everyday. There are thousands if not millions of homeless people in New York City. Look at what just happened in Haiti. I tend to focus my energy, if there is a cause, on humans. While that may be callous and bad of me, it's my choice."

In the new "Closet Confessions" video for Bluefly, Weir declares his love for fur, showing off a collection of his clothes made of python, beaver, fox, lynx, and a Balenciaga "tree" of leather bags.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Jane Lynch Targets Breeders

Lynch

In a new campaign for PETA, Jane Lynch lobbies for an end to animal overpopulation and euthanization, urging folks to get their pets spayed and neutered.

She also wants you to stand up straight and slap on a little deodorant.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jane Lynch Targets Breeders" »


Bea Arthur Protests McDonald's from Beyond the Grave

Beaarthur

Bea Arthur left money to PETA in her will, and they're using the Golden Girl's cash to take on the Golden Arches:

"PETA members dressed in black will also hold a spirited protest outside a downtown Chicago McDonald's to mark the ad's debut and the one-year anniversary of beautiful Bea's passing."


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