Search Our Site

Search form


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.


Why do we have to have an old fashion scene in a modern polluted city? Look around and see and hear all the noise and smell the fumes and see the hazy pollution. This is what that lovely horse has everyday, no fresh grass, cold water, shady trees and peaceful grazing. Don't ride these carrages, write to the authorities speak up for these dear animals that cannot speak for themselves. God has made us keepers of his flock !!!! Stop turning your faces away from this sad state of the city horse. We will have to answer to God someday.

I agree, and I have personally looked into the eyes of these miserable horses and -and I will never employ a carrigae in NYC,or any other city,like Delray Beach,FL. which now thinks this is "cool" and allows same.To push this issue through you might want to mention the smell that permeates the air in central park.I also feel sorry for the hotel employees across the street from the carrige stands-inhaling that oder all day long! [PU] Wouldn't this be a health issue for people also?!!!

Why don't your paid protesters become informed about your cause before they spread their so called "facts" about the horses & their care? P.S. domesticated horses can not be set free in the wild, they would die. So will you be looking after the hundreds & thousands that are out there now? I bet not. Come on people put your energy into saving people in Darfur. [Blog editors' note: Why do you assume our activists and our supporters (most of whom volunteer some or all of their time) are not putting energy into saving people in Darfur? Are you aware that at the base of the conflict is climate change, which is strongly related to animal domestication and consumption? Respect the time of others, please: Comment here only if you are, or wish to be, informed about serious matters, not just to let off steam.]

Why can't people find a way to earn money and make a living without the exploitation and cruelty to animals? Stores selling puppies, circus, dog racing, etc etc. Using and abusing those without a voice that can't run away if they want to. They are prisoners being held captive for no crime. ...Free the animals from the torture of man. Free them from the slaughterhouses. Peace begins with us. We are supposed to be the role model setting the examples. Horse Drawn Carriages should be only known as a barbaric thing of the past. Let these poor horses live the remainder of their lives in peaceful pasture.

Enough with the carriages! The owners should tie themselves up to the carts just for a day and see how miserable this must be for the horses! I hate the fact an animal with no other choice lost its life because people use them for entertainment. Walk or ride a bike.

I don't agree with completely banning all carriages, but I think there should be very tight restrictions. Not all horses are mistreated. I've seen horses pulling carriages that loved it and were treated wonderfully. However, I do agree that many are treated cruelly, and that should not be allowed.

I really wonder whether those horses Christa mentions 'love it' or are rather just conditioned to it. If it were true that horses just naturally loved to pull carriages (or other things) then why don't we see free-living (wild) horses attempting to pull things? I think it's more likely the case that, as with other domesticated animals, the animals learn that if they perform a certain action for humans they will either get food or praise and/or avoid a whip or a slap.

Can we please start the process of a ban in Philadelphia after the NYC ban is in place. I work in the Historic district in Philly and have to see this abuse every day. My 4 year old son just commented tonight on how sad the horses look. Just last week I saw a horse get whipped just for shifting his weight from one foot to another - I bet he was standing on that corner all day too. I felt like a small person having to walk past and witness that and not be able to do anything about it. Absolutely sick to my stomach over it.

After observing Charleston, South Carolina's horse drawn carraiges on a family vacation this is what i found... * large over-sized carriages pulled by horses that were too aged for the job. * horses standing on hot pavement in 95 degree weather for hours on end ( i couldnt even stand in that weather for hours and i dont have a fur coat ). * after talking to a carraige driver he stated that the horses were "only" being driven for 6 HOURS A DAY (in 90 degree weather of course and no water in sight) ! * as i was eating dinner that same day most likely 8 hours or more later i looked out the window and saw the SAME old horse pulling the SAME carraige with the SAME driver. ( i was disgusted ) * the horses were all clearly miserable, head down and ears looking almost lifeless. it broke my heart to see such a sight. it was to the point where my mother and i seriously thought about devising a plan to get those horses away from all the pain and torture. (when we returned back to our home in massachusetts my mother and i complained to a group who said they would look into charleston's horse drawn carraiges)

I agree that they should ban horse-drawn carriages. I feel really bad about Smoothie, the poor animal! :(


Add new comment