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Horse Advocates Seek Carriage Ban

May 03, 2006 | Horses

For Immediate Release
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages
Tel: 917. 940.2725

Calling for Decency and Public Safety, Horse Advocates Seek Carriage Ban

NEW YORK, NY - A coalition including Friends of Animals and others striving to ban horse-drawn carriages once again urges Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council to pass legislation that would end the dangerous carriage horse industry in New York City.

The latest accident occurred on Friday, April 28th on Central Drive near 64th St. in Central Park: A frightened horse bolted into a 71-year-old bicyclist, who was hospitalized with injuries, as well as the driver of the carriage, who sustained an injured knee.

Occurring only three months after the tragic accident in January that severely injured a carriage driver and left a horse dead, the incident shows that public safety and decency are compromised by carriage horses in the streets.

Why ban horse-drawn vehicles in New York?

Many modern cities -- Toronto, Paris, London, and others -- have taken an enlightened approach, ending the tradition of animal-drawn vehicles. Animals do not belong in commercial activity that forces them to compete with heavy traffic or be exposed to harsh elements. These reasons apply as strongly in New York City as they do anywhere in the world.

Why not just allow animal-drawn carriages at Central Park?

John Phillips, Executive Director of League of Humane Voters, and a founding member of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, explains, "Central Park is filled with bicyclists, runners, children and pedestrians, in addition to cars and taxis-no place for carriage horses. We can't wait for yet another tragedy to occur before the Mayor and City Council address this problem seriously."

Horses travel to and from the stables located on 9th and 10th Avenues, between W. 37th and W. 52nd Streets. Keeping commercial horse activity adjacent to Central Park, as Council Member Tony Avella's recently proposed legislation seeks to do, fails to acknowledge that horses would still travel this congested corridor -- also a route for emergency vehicles to and from St. Vincent's Midtown Hospital and Roosevelt Hospital, and a conduit for many vehicles going to the Lincoln Tunnel or the West Side Highway. The horrific accident in January happened on this very route back to the stables from Central Park.

Avella's legislation focuses on regulating the activity and not ending it. The historical urge to reform the horse-drawn carriage industry is a dangerous pattern.

Regulating the practice won't stop public safety problems. And it seeks to sustain a disrespectful practice that needs to be ended.

The Coalition has drafted legislation to effectively phase out this industry and seeks to have current horses adopted to protect them from kill auctions.


I think you people are total idiots. Horses love being horses and they should be allowed to do what they love and one of the things they love is pulling carriages. I am speaking from horse country and for horses since I speak horse and I know and understand horses and what they like and dislike. MOst of you idiots don't even have a clue and I am sure don't speak horse or understand them or their language. They are not people they are horses! Blog Editor's Note: "NAY!"

The horse drawn carriages in central park are well-regulated and well-treated. They cannot work more than 9 hours a day, and various city agencies often audit the drivers, making sure of this. The horses all have papers, and the drivers all have licenses. The ASPCA is always in the Central Park stables; these animals aren't mistreated.

I am currently in New York visiting from South Africa. Walking South from 65th Str down past Central Park I passed a horse & carriage with the driver who put a bucket of oats in front of the horse. As the horse started to eat a few oats starting falling out of the bucket, this seemed to annoy the driver as he cussed, then pulled the bucket away and slapped the horse. This is so sad to see. Animals are here to live with us in a harmonious existence however many humans have forgotten this and treat animals disrespectfully. The problem lies within us and we need to take ownership of this and make a difference through education and changing environments for the betterment of animals and us in a respectful co-existence. I fully support the approach to ban horse-drawn carriages in this city. This environment of traffic, congestion, noise & concrete is just not suitable for horses to live in. Please join us in supporting this much needed cause. Namaste.

Over the holiday I went into the City to view the shops' Christmas Windows. I had not spent time walking around the City for some time. It seemed that on every corner while waiting for the traffic light I had to witness horse drawn carriages that would pull their horses right up (about 1 foot) from the car, bus or taxi in front of them. While waiting for the traffic light to turn these poor animals had to stand there in a cloud of exhaust fumes. It was shameful to see that the City of New York allows these carriages to continue to abuse these horses, just for the "entertainment" of tourists. NY now has many rickshaws available and the need for these horse drawn carriages is not a necessity to get around the city. HORSES (for pleasure) DO NOT BELONG IN THE CITY. Does anyone know of a group that is actively working for this cause? Please let me know. I want on-board!

In January 2006, Friends of Animals helped found a coalition whose goal is enacting legislation to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Actions You Can Take 1. Boycott the Carriage Horse Industry. Educate friends and family to the reality of this industry. FoA created the informative ‘What’s Wrong With Horse-Drawn Carriages in NYC’ flyers to sustain the boycott and advise people how to advance the effort to enact a ban. Flyers can be obtained by writing to Edita at 2. Contact NYC Mayor Bloomberg at or call 311 and leave a message of strong support for the effort to end New York’s horse-drawn carriage industry. 3. New Yorkers should contact their City Council member at: and ask them to support legislation that will end the horse-drawn carriage industry. 4.Petitions to be delivered to the City Council and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, urging legislation that would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, are available to volunteers.

As immigrant to the usa,i saw horses that really work,pulling heavy loads all day up and down the mountains larger than themselves.The Carriage horses i have seen in NYC,Philadelphia,Chicago,all seen very well cared for and seem to enjoy their job.Work horses are not always abused horses,look at the horses in Greece,Mexico,and the Carribean,you'll see what abused horses really look like. FoA comments: Friends of Animals does not recognize an acceptable level of abuse of animals. If you study the Carriage Horse industry thoroughly, you will conclude that its exploition of animals is inherently abusive. That some animals may be more abused in other countries or doing other work is not an excuse to abuse other animals.

I walked along CP South today and saw one of the carriage drivers give his thirsty horse a can of Sunkist orange soda! The poor horse looked so dehydrated. He drank that soda as if his life depended upon it. I was also shocked and disgusted when I observed a different driver briefly lift the cloth cover around a horse's neck to spray some type of medicine (or who knows if it was just water or alcohol?) on a serious wound (the size of an apple) and quickly cover it again. The license plate on the carriage was HC 1171. Ms. Edita Birnkrant - I will do everything you suggested in the January 23rd post above. It broke my heart and disturbed me to see the horses in such poor condition. A lot of them looked as if they were exhausted and/or sedated. It is so obvious when you look into their glazed over eyes. I do not believe New Yorkers would allow this type of abuse to continue if they were aware of the crisis. Please continue to bring awareness to this crisis. God bless you for your efforts!

To answer fao,these carriage horses are sincerly loved by their owners and drivers.Some horses actually lkike the taste of soda,and the drivers play with their horses and give it to them as a treat like carrots.By obviously you see what you want,and it will never be in a positive light.As for cab #1171,shame on you for not reporting it to the aspca,and if you feel right,make your name public onm the complaint so its taken seriously.

Horse drawn carriages must be banned from New York City. I am a sincere horse lover and advocate, and I think that although it is nice to hear everyone's views and experiences, we really have to work faster. This is one of the many steps involved in eliminating horse slaughter and mistreatment in the US.

This above person,makes no sense,carriage horses and horse slaughter or mistreatment has no connection with eachother at all.To accuse with no facts and figures,leaves the industry with a very likeable legal course as slander,so when someone points fingers,they better sign their REAL name,and back it with some solid evidence,and be ready to face a lawsuit. [Blog editors' note: If they back it up with solid evidence, what kind of lawsuit would they face? Is there a new legal cause of action for backing one's statements up with evidence?]


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