Responding to last weekend's carriage ride accident in Old Town Eureka, the activist group PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, this morning sent an "urgent letter" to Eureka Mayor Virginia Bass and the Eureka City Council calling on them to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city.
"Forcing horses to pull heavy loads is cruel, and it's always an accident waiting to happen," PETA Director Debbie Leahy said in a press release. "This tragic incident should be a wake-up call to the people of Eureka," she added.
In the letter, PETA asserts that "similar incidents have occurred in nearly every city in which horse-drawn carriages operate, often injuring or killng horses, motorists, onlookers, carriage operators, and passengers."
A call to Bass was not immediately returned.
[UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: Bass returned the Journal's phone call this afternoon, saying that she'd received PETA's letter and sent a response, urging the group to air its concerns at the next City Council meeting on Aug. 17. (The e-mail was sent by a PETA official in Washington, D.C., though the group does have active members in the local community.) The council could then decide to put the matter on a future agenda -- or not.
Bass said that, personally, she believes carriage driver Marty L'Herault and his horse Cinnamon have become an integral part of Eureka. "They bring a little magic to Old Town," the mayor said. "I just want to give total support to what Marty's doing and hope he and Cinnamon are back out there soon."]
The Huffington Post has this story about "bird triage units" on the Louisiana coastline, where volunteers, including 20-year-old Humboldt State University student Stephany Helbig (pictured at right), are rescuing, washing and exporting birds who've been drenched in oil after British Petrolium's Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Downsides to the work? Hot, humid, 12-hour workdays clad in a Hazmat suit. Plus side: the birds in Louisiana aren't such massive a-holes:
"I much prefer the small size of the laughing gulls to the giant western gulls at home," Helbig said. "Less painful when fingers are near the beak region."
Marty L'Herault, the carriage driver who was injured after his horse Cinnamon was spooked by skateboarders Saturday evening, is doing fine according to family members. He was transfered to Mercy Medical in Redding Sunday as a precautionary measure, but his wife Michelle said he's doing "really well."
"Marty is fine; he's just super sore," she reported this morning. Matt L'Herault, one of Marty's four brothers, told the Journal that the decision to transfer him to Redding was made due to the nature of head trauma injuries.
UPDATE: Cinnamon's fine too -- no broken bones.
Michelle L'Herault said she expects Marty to be offering rides in Old Town again before too long. "Marty's given probably tens of thousands of rides," she said. "This one just didn't turn out so well. ... But everything's apparently going to be OK."
Here's a ride that turned out great: Marty and Cinnamon taking my wife and me around Old Town last Thursday.
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