Bill de Blasio at a rally to save NYC’s hospitals with his partner Chirlane to his right.

Editor’s Note: Due to Mayor de Blasio’s failure to protect NYC’s carriage horses and pass a ban on horse-drawn carriages, this story’s praise of him categorically no longer reflects our opinion of him.

THIS YEAR’S ELECTION MARKS A CRITICAL JUNCTURE FOR ANIMALS IN NEW YORK CITY, on the verge of either bursting through a glass ceiling or being relegated to the basement for another 4, 8, maybe 12 years. Bill de Blasio has recently experienced a surge in the polling for NYC Mayor. In fact, he is tied for first place with Christine Quinn. For animal advocates that is welcomed news, not only because of how disastrous Quinn has been, but because de Blasio has whole-heartedly embraced the need for a more humane city. Mahatma Gandhi once observed that “the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” We now have a candidate for the Mayor of New York City who understands the significance of such a statement, and holds the promise of a greater city. As a Public Advocate, de Blasio has been supportive of animal welfare reforms, and he is the only candidate running who has devoted a section of their platform to the humane treatment of animals. In his campaign for mayor, deBlasio calls for an end to the inhumane and exploitative treatment of carriage horses. He also calls for the regulation of stores that sell puppy-mill dogs, and seeks to improve AC&C (Animal, Care & Control). Furthermore, while a member of the City Council, deBlasio co-sponsored legislation which would ban exotic animals like elephants and lions from circuses in NYC. Both of de Blasio’s children, Dante and Chiara, are vegetarian— a decision they came to on their own.

Meanwhile, in the past 6 years as Speaker of the City Council, not only has Christine Quinn protected the inhumane and exploitative carriage horse industry, she has allowed Mayor Bloomberg to suffocate the AC&C (Animal, Care & Control) of funding. She has prevented votes on crucial legislation, with popular support among council members and constituents. Legislation such as allowing tenants the right to replace their companion animals when they die; and requiring sprinklers in pet stores after a series of fires killed several hundred animals. In fact, in 2009 the League of Humane Voters called Quinn “the biggest obstacle to more humane laws in NYC.”

It is incumbent on New York’s animal protection to community to ensure that Quinn does not become the next mayor of New York City. With three weeks to go until the Primary Election, now is the time to get involved in this year’s election. Legislation and policy which improve the lives of animals do not happen magically. They come as the result of effective activism and supportive leadership. In Bill de Blasio, we have found the kind of leadership that will help give NYC’s animals a better chance. And electing him as our next mayor will open the door for more change. — David Karopkin (law student and founder of GooseWatch NYC)

Please help support Bill de Blasio’s campaign by joining your fellow animal advocates at the Animal Advocates for Bill de Blasio cocktail reception on August 26th at the Peter Max Studio in Manhattan.

A supporter of Bill de Blasio.

We asked some of New York City’s animal advocates to sound off on the
upcoming elections:

“de Blasio seems genuinely to feel for people and to want to make the city a better place for all New Yorkers. On a range of quality-of-life issues, de Blasio authentically takes a stand, and he has shown [with his support of a carriage ban] that he isn’t afraid to stand up and be counted. That’s impressive. He is the progressive in this race. Meanwhile, Quinn masquerades as a progressive, despite her repeated betrayal of the public trust and a dismal human rights record that should be very concerning to us all. She’s completely disingenuous to tell voters that she has a strong record on animal welfare. Passing a couple of sham bills for political expediency—as Quinn has done—may fool a few people, but not NYC animal advocates who’ll be voting. Quinn killed the true shelter reform bill, and this city’s animals are suffering as a result.”
Mary Culpepper (writer and long-time member of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages)

“Since becoming Speaker in 2006, Christine Quinn has not only blocked every meaningful animal protection bill introduced at City Hall, but, in an attempt to discredit her critics, she has also fast-tracked faux reform bills to portray herself as an advocate. NYC’s most vulnerable animals have waited for years for much needed legislative protections. For them, Quinn is the worst possible choice for Mayor. Bill de Blasio, however, has consistently spoken out about the importance of improving the lives of NYC’s most vulnerable animals, even though they can’t vote him. His understanding of the issues and his compassion for the “underdog” have distinguished him from the other candidates and have won him support from NYC’s animal advocacy community. By supporting a ban on horse-drawn carriages, a position that has earned him criticism in some circles, Mr. de Blasio has put principle ahead of politics.”
Donny Moss (documentary filmmaker and animal rights advocate)

“For the first time in 12 years, animal advocates have the opportunity to finally elect an animal friendly mayor. The Mayor’s office has so much control over how our city’s animals are treated – for instance, the mayor decides how much funding goes to city shelters, TNR programs for feral cats, funding for humane education for elementary school kids and the fate of NYC carriage horses. While we all may differ on some issues, we can all agree that Christine Quinn is not a friend to animals. For 8 years as Speaker of the City Council, she has systematically blocked every effort to pass common sense humane legislation such as putting life saving fire sprinklers in pet stores, build badly needed shelters in the Bronx and Queens, protecting a tenants’ right to have a pet and of course banning horse carriages.”
Allie Feldman (animal advocate and director of NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets)

Learn more and get directly involved in helping the animals of NYC at:

+ NYCLASS

+ GooseWatch NYC

+ Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

Learn more about Bill de Blasio and his issues on his campaign site.

Photos by © David Katzenstein for New Yorkers for de Blasio



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