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Campaign to Ban Horse-Drawn Vehicles in NYC

September 25, 2007 | Horses / Animal Rights / Horse Carriages

Council Member Tony Avella Boosts Campaign to Ban Horse-Drawn Vehicles in NYC

Horse Carriage demo
Council Member Tony Avella announces to the press immediate plans to draft and sponsor legislation that would ban horse-drawn carriages.

Early this month, the New York Times published Friends of Animals New York representative Edita Birnkrant's Call to Boycott and End the Carriage Horse Industry (City Section; 9 Sep. 2007), which states:

New York City's horse-drawn carriage industry shouldn't be seen as a permanent fixture just needing cleanup. It's time to end the business entirely." Birnkrant added, "Exploitation is not an appropriate tourist attraction.

Just days later, a mare named Smoothie broke free after being spooked by street noises, ran into a tree, and died.

With high-profile press conferences, interviews, and a candlelight vigil, Friends of Animals, The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, and other supporters have raised public awareness about Smoothie, to join together with other activists in New York City, and to call yet again for a ban on the exploitative industry.

NY1 News, in their piece titled "Animal Rights Groups Call For End Of Hansom Cabs," reported "animal rights activists rallied" to ask Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council to push legislation that would ban the industry.

"It's the 21st century," Edita Birnkrant of Friends of Animals told NY1. "It may be a tradition, but it's one that we need to let go of, because it's exploitative, it's unnecessary, and it sends a message of disrespect towards other animals."

Then, some inspiring news was unveiled.

NYC Council Member Tony Avella (Queens) announced to the press immediate plans to draft and sponsor legislation that would ban horse-drawn carriages. Avella's decision marks the first time a politician has decided to sponsor a bill seeking to ban the carriage industry in New York City.

Present at the press conference was Broadway actor and singer Nellie Mckay, who declared, "We will never have human rights until we stop the wholesale exploitation of animals and the environment."

Edita Birnkrant also addressed the crowd and press, noting that future tragedies are inevitable unless New Yorkers support this opportunity to finally end this business in New York City. Birnkrant urged New Yorkers to contact their district Council Member to express their strong support for legislation that would ban the industry.

To support Council Member Tony Avella's proposed ban, contact:

Tony Avella
District 19 Office
38-50 Bell Blvd., Suite C
Bayside, New York 11361
District Office Phone: 718.747.2137
District Office Fax: 718.747.3105

What next?

When the industry closes, we at Friends of Animals are committed to assuring every affected horse is placed in a permanent sanctuary. In the coming weeks we expect to work with Council Member Avella in assuring that our shared vision will become a reality, and a long overdue relief for the horses.


Horse drawn carriages must be outlawed in the city. This is a practice that belonged in the early 1900s. This is the year 2007 and there are too many cars to frighten the poor horses. Look at how many people are run down by cars these days. The horses haven't got a chance. The people that run these horse drawn carriages must find other work. I think this practice is cruel no matter what they say about taking good care of these horses, they're not !!!!!!!!!

I am so for getting rid of horse drawn carriage rides. I live in Texas and when in Galveston on the Strand, it is so hard to see those horses standing there in the heat. If you've never been to Southeast Texas, let me tell is HOT! If we are miserable, you know the horse is! On top of that having to stand there all day and pulling people around in an already heavy carriage. Having owned horses, I know that horses are strong and capable of pulling things like that. However, why should they? They are one of the most beautiful creatures God made. They are grace in motion. They should be allowed that freedom.

I SMELL A RAT IN ALL OF THIS, THIS THING WITH THE HORSE BEING SPOOKED MAY HAVE NOT BEEN A COINCIDENCE, BUT SOMETHING PLANNED, IF THE DRUMMER COULD NOT BE FOUND AFTER THIS HAPPENNED. AND HORSE CARRIAGES AROUND CENTRAL PARK IS SOMETHING ABOUT KEEPING THE PAST ALIVE IN THE CITY, CENTRAL PARK AND SURROUNDING AREAS ARE SOMETHING OF THE PAST, AND TO KEEP THAT PART ALIVE IS TRADITIONAL I BELIEVE. [Blog editors'note: How about smelling a fact instead? New York City has the highest carriage accident rate in the country. Ninety-eight percent of the horses who were "spooked" became injured. To expect horses to serve as vehicles in any traffic is unreasonable. It's a hazardous trade to all involved. Tradition isn't everything and there are those worth ending.]

I lived in New York for a number of years and had the sorry of seeing 5 carriage horses die. Two on the same day in part I believe to being overworked and overheated on a plus 100 degree day in Central Park. One of the carriage drivers took a whip to his downed horse which died 10 minutes later. I have witnessed horses almost being hit my cabs on the 6th avenue entrance to the park. I truly believe these horses should NOT be in the city and working in such horrific conditions and horrific treatment by their drivers. I am all for a ban and the retirement of these beautiful animals to field of sweet green pastures.

I think it's terrible to be putting the horses in that kind of situation. Don't be putting them in with that busy traffic it's wrong. How can you do that to them ? It scares them . Horses aren't meant to be in the city not for riding in a buggy or for policemen either. Leave these creatures alone.

Cars shouldn't be in NYC.... need I say more?

I just hope the horses do get to a green pasture and this is not a hoax and they end up being slaughtered, as they are too old and mistreated, most people forget to follow through to the end, see them to the pasture. [Blog editors' note: Friends of Animals will push for refuges for the horses. Remember that the sooner the business is discontinued, the sooner this downward spiral for horses from hand to hand and finally to slaughter will be interrupted. Don't assume that all of these horses have been put into refuges by these carriage companies all along. You can bet that's far from reality. The business must stop everywhere it occurs. Thank you for caring about this issue.]

I understand the reason for a ban, but is there anyone out there that thinks the other way? I dont understand why it has taken so long if no one has a different opinion on the matter! (obviously the business owners would have different thoughts) so, why has it taken 50-75 years and thousands of animals abused for this issue to evolve? anyone...enlighten me please!

Horses should not be in the traffic of a city !

Horses should not be used in a tourist attraction to perform at will. This is cruel/unusual punishment!


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