Fort Greene

Horse carriage opponents use star power to push bill

Russell Simmons, Angelica Huston, Edie Falco appear in ads

December 17, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is one of several celebrities appearing in ads calling on undecided City Council members to vote for a bill banning the city’s horse carriage trade. Image courtesy PETA
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Animal rights advocates have enlisted the help of celebrities in their efforts to get the City Council to pass a ban on the horse carriage industry.

Ads featuring such stars as hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, actresses Anjelica Huston and Edie Falco and fashion guru Tim Gunn started popping up in bus shelters all over the city, including several locations in Brooklyn, on Dec. 15.

The ads, co-sponsored by the groups People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), are aimed specifically at council members who are undecided on how to vote on a bill that would ban the horse carriage industry from operating on city streets.

The legislation was introduced on Dec. 8 by Councilmembers Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights). The bill needs the votes of at least 26 of the council’s 51 members in order to pass.

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The ads feature a horse that died on the streets of Manhattan in 2011 and an inset photo with a quote from each star.

Simmons is featured in ads in Brooklyn. He takes aim at Councilmembers Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene-Clinton Hill) and Mathieu Eugene (D-Kensington).

“It’s time to retire the horses in New York’s dangerous carriage industry,” his ad reads in part. The ad, which has been posted in Cumbo’s and Eugene’s council districts, asks constituents to call the two lawmakers and urge them to support the bill.

The ad featuring Huston is aimed at getting Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) to support the ban.

“It’s surprising to me that a city known for its progressive spirit still allows this cruel and dangerous tourist trap,” Huston says in the ad, which can be found in Kallos’s district.  The Academy Award-winning actress recently published “Watch Me; A Memoir,” in which she writes of growing up caring for horses as an equestrian.

During last year’s mayoral campaign, Bill de Blasio had vowed to impose a ban on the carriage horse industry as soon as he was elected mayor.

But the pro-ban advocates aren’t the only people in the horse carriage fight who have stars on their side. Actor Liam Neeson is an outspoken supporter of the carriage horse drivers and has stated his opposition to a ban. 

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