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Councilman Rodriguez: ‘Being progressive in NYC means protecting our horses’

April 25, 2014 | Horse Carriages

By Nicole Rivard

“Stuff happens,” said Christina Hansen, a NYC carriage driver, describing an accident that happened April 24 that left Spartacus, a NYC carriage horse for eight years, lying in the road across from the Plaza Hotel. 

Her cavalier attitude, which reflects the overall carriage horse industry, is one that Friends of Animals finds appalling, so we joined forces with other activists at a rally Thursday afternoon at the corner of 60th and Fifth Avenue to encourage NYC council members to finish drawing up legislation to ban carriage horses in NYC and to enact it into law ASAP so these horses can go to sanctuaries and no longer be traumatized, injured or killed.

Different versions of the way the accident unfolded swirled around the rally—an eyewitness shared with activists that Spartacus got spooked by a bus and reared and as a result his carriage flipped over, taking  him with it, while the carriage industry claims another carriage’s wheel got caught on Spartacus’ carriage, causing it to flip over. 

But the way the accident happened is not what’s important; it’s that Spartacus’ life was endangered by an industry that has no place in claustrophobic, noisy, polluted, traffic-filled modern NYC. It’s a way of life for horses that is unacceptable to Friends of Animals and NYC Council man Ydanis Rodriguez, who spoke at the rally.

“Sometimes the good changes that a city needs don’t come so easy,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes what we do is not for us, it’s for future generations. I have two daughters…I want to be part of something amazing for that generation. They should know that being progressive in New York City means protecting our horses, protecting our animal rights. 

“I would like my daughters to walk in NYC where horses are not walking on concrete. Just imagine yourself walking on this concrete when its 90 degrees. One hundred degrees. This is not acceptable. We will have a number. We will pass a bill. Just as the most important cities in the world—Paris, London—have banned horses from the street, it will happen in NYC.”

Allie Feldman, director of NYCLASS  said at the rally that adoption homes will be made available to every single NYC carriage horse when the ban is enacted.“ This is something the carriage horses currently do not get,” said Feldman.

This accident comes on the heels of recent carriage horse accidents in South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and California.



New York City residents should contact their City Council member and urge passage of a bill that bans the horse-drawn carriage industry and ensures horses are placed in appropriate sanctuaries. Read our NY Director's letter to the editor in The New York Times  below for more information about this issue and why this industry should be banned. 


You can find your NYC Council member here. 


Those who reside outside of New York City can call 212.639.9675 to leave a statement with Mayor de Blasio supportive of banning horse-drawn carriages.



Ban this inhumane act.

Give the horses a break. We don't need this industry. Ban horse-drawn carriages across the county.

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