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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.


A long time inhabitant of the City, I now live in CT., but am still a frequent visitor to "The Big Town." I still feel NYC the best place to shop. The stores around the East 50s area where those poor horses stand in the horrible heat of summer and through the freezing cold of winter, I now avoid.In my youth,I would bring apples and carrots to them, but was always met with, "Don't go near those horses!" Now that I am older, I am ashamed to say that I simply avoid the area and the surrounding stores. How wonderful to learn that something might be done to help these poor animals. I will do anything in my power as an "out of towner" to help and heartily endorse any official or groups that can help eliminate the attrocities these poor horses suffer on a day to day basis.

I absolutely 100% agree.. especially the point being made it's not that 1800s, we have cars. people have enough luxuries as is, we don't need a pretty horse to make us look better. horses are beautiful and deserve their own luxuries... pulling our fat lazy butts sight-seeing is not one of them!

Horses are one of the most beautiful creatures on earth. They should be running in pastures not on the streets of New York. Most New Yorkers find it appalling that carriage horses are behind cars & trucks were there lungs are filled with fumes Most of these horses are kept in inadequate stalls

I called Council Member Avella's office to communicate my support for this important and necessary legislation, and was gratified that my message was warmly received. I've worked in Manhattan for many years now, and early on I had a sense of pity for these unfortunate horses. Even before their plight was well documented, before I considered myself an animal advocate, it was just so obvious that these noble animals were extremely stressed and unhappy. But I used to think that the City Fathers know what they're doing, so the horses must be okay. Not so. Even the best treatment can't create a proper environment for them in this situation. Entertainment and performing horses have been left out of the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to Friends of Animals for leading the way toward a better understanding of this issue.

"Why do those horses look so sad, Mommy?" My four year old and I were on our way to look at the windows at FAO Schwartz when my little girl noticed the horses. "The're so skinny. Somebody should help them." Well, Phoebe, maybe now, with many thanks to Mr. Avella, somebody will. Many many thanks to him and Friends of Animals for coming to the rescue.

I went to Charleston, SC and saw the horse drawn carriages. These horses pulled huge numbers of people. When I asked how many months a year these horses worked she said they only got one month off per year. I was outraged and heartbroken. Horse drawn carriages just aren't necessary, we have cars, bikes, trollies, etc.. Why not instead build an animal sanctuary in places like Charleston and Central Park and have parents enjoy taking their children to see what it's like to visit feed and love rescued animals instead.


This is Stuipd! Come on people, with out these jobs these horses would be in Slaughter houses!! Dead and killed! Witch is even more horriable!! Lots of horses enjoy doing their jobs! It is better that then being starved and treated like trash! If you shut down these cariage tours, where will most of our poor horse go, THE SLAUGHTER HOUSE!! Then you kids will be where did the horses go? Oh they died by being shot cruely and ended up as dog food. If you want to stop something end slaughter houses! I have seen what goes on in these companies, and i have not seen any horse abuse, the most i see is people being hired that dont really understand horses, as well as crappy farrier work. These tours give many people, and horses jobs, with wichout they would struuggle. Honsetly people think from both sides before you stop anything.

The horses in NY are neglected, overworked, and completely out of their realm. We should do everything we can to get this banned. Together we can do just that!

I strongly urge everyone who is compassionate to support Friends of Animals and Mr. Avella. We need more politicians like Mr. Avella to also step forward and address the multitude of other issues exploiting animals. They could start with the biggest offender...Hunting!


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