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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.


Hi David, thanks for writing. Considering that horses do not choose to be a part of our society -- we compel or coerce them to perform for us -- why would they be expected to 'earn their keep'? Your argument is not unlike one we would have heard not so long ago about about human slaves. That same mentality persists, except that it is much more difficult for a horse to argue against an oppressor, which is where we come in. We can imagine a much better life for horses, where they get to live on their own terms. I hope you can join us in making this vision a reality.

Apparently none of you really know much about the horse and carriage community. You demonstrate your love and compassion by trying to save animals who don't need saving. That makes you good because the carriage community, of course, is evil. This need is most often the result of an inaility to form or sustain meaningfull relationships with members of one's own species perfering instead the unquestioning commitment an animal offers.I'm sure some of you are well-meaning; work on human suffering, make some sort of connection with someone other than the unfortunates in this group, and try not to confuse animal use with abuse. FoA comments: "Apparently" you are a psychiatrist, philosopher and sociologist wrapped into one, but not a very good one. Friends of Animals is against the exploitation of animals. Given that the "carriage community" exists to exploit animals for its economic gain, Friends of Animals opposes it. The "unfortunates in this group" are the horses.


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