Search Our Site

Search form


Horse Advocates Seek Carriage Ban

May 03, 2006 | Horses

For Immediate Release
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages
Tel: 917. 940.2725

Calling for Decency and Public Safety, Horse Advocates Seek Carriage Ban

NEW YORK, NY - A coalition including Friends of Animals and others striving to ban horse-drawn carriages once again urges Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council to pass legislation that would end the dangerous carriage horse industry in New York City.

The latest accident occurred on Friday, April 28th on Central Drive near 64th St. in Central Park: A frightened horse bolted into a 71-year-old bicyclist, who was hospitalized with injuries, as well as the driver of the carriage, who sustained an injured knee.

Occurring only three months after the tragic accident in January that severely injured a carriage driver and left a horse dead, the incident shows that public safety and decency are compromised by carriage horses in the streets.

Why ban horse-drawn vehicles in New York?

Many modern cities -- Toronto, Paris, London, and others -- have taken an enlightened approach, ending the tradition of animal-drawn vehicles. Animals do not belong in commercial activity that forces them to compete with heavy traffic or be exposed to harsh elements. These reasons apply as strongly in New York City as they do anywhere in the world.

Why not just allow animal-drawn carriages at Central Park?

John Phillips, Executive Director of League of Humane Voters, and a founding member of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, explains, "Central Park is filled with bicyclists, runners, children and pedestrians, in addition to cars and taxis-no place for carriage horses. We can't wait for yet another tragedy to occur before the Mayor and City Council address this problem seriously."

Horses travel to and from the stables located on 9th and 10th Avenues, between W. 37th and W. 52nd Streets. Keeping commercial horse activity adjacent to Central Park, as Council Member Tony Avella's recently proposed legislation seeks to do, fails to acknowledge that horses would still travel this congested corridor -- also a route for emergency vehicles to and from St. Vincent's Midtown Hospital and Roosevelt Hospital, and a conduit for many vehicles going to the Lincoln Tunnel or the West Side Highway. The horrific accident in January happened on this very route back to the stables from Central Park.

Avella's legislation focuses on regulating the activity and not ending it. The historical urge to reform the horse-drawn carriage industry is a dangerous pattern.

Regulating the practice won't stop public safety problems. And it seeks to sustain a disrespectful practice that needs to be ended.

The Coalition has drafted legislation to effectively phase out this industry and seeks to have current horses adopted to protect them from kill auctions.


As a horse owner and having known several owners of horse drawn carriages, I believe your version of the stories is just that, isolated incidents. Most owners of the animals, love and care for them as is a treasured pet. First of all, most horses are not run on pavement, they are walked, and they have shoes on. I would like to see them in areas where there is less congestion, that I do agree. However, to completely ban horse drawn carriages is absurd. So now your going to tell me that the Clydsedales are next on your list. I do agree that NYC is not the place to have them though.

I read in one of your pamphlets that a horse named "Juliete" collapsed in Central Park, then the owner started 'beating' (I think that word is an exaggeration) the horse, and "he said he was doing this on the advice of his vet". This could very well be. You've probably never seen a horse with colic, but they want to lay down. however, if they do lay down, that can be VERY dangerous to their health. I would be willing to bet that the driver was worried about his horse. and then you portray him as a criminal. [Blog editors' note: It can also be VERY dangerous to their health to be forced to get up and continue. And it was. We hope that the writer doesn't actually think the above objection makes a case in support of horses in the city. Juliette's sad story serves as yet another reason not to perpetuate this custom.]

...I've been a carriage owner since 1993 and very proud of it. My horses are well cared for. Lacking in nothing and very beautiful. I'm sure there are people who push their animals too far however the city I work in our owners all care about their horses as part of the family. Most carriage owners are horse lovers and these horses lack for nothing. We work an average of 3/days week and rotate our horses also. Your taking the worse case senieros and blowing things out of porportions. Most owners care deaply.

I've worked in the industry for almost 7 years in a mid sized city. I agree with alot of what you people say, but your overzealous approach needs rethinking. How about offering to work with companies in the industry to improve standards? How about working with the SPCA to ensure that animals get properly treated (as most horses in this industry do). Instead you try to sink people's livelyhoods and destroy them financially. You are never going to get any support from the industry by doing this, and therefor you are going to end up helping alot less animals. Think about it. I do not own a company but am an employee. We *ALL* care deeply about the safety and wellbeing of our animals. Owners need to be held to greater account than they already are in some cities and they should have to submit their animals for voluntary exams on a regular basis. I also agree that we should make every effort to keep them out of busy downtown areas and concentrate rather on residential or park areas as suitable places to operate. There are bound to be accidents in this industry and rarely does it end with a horse or a person dying. I love you people who complain about horses breathing in car fumes when you walk your kids past the same toxic smoke day in and day out. Less hypocrisy and more co-operative action would be in the best interests of everyone on both sides of this argument.

Note to horse lovers, horse slaughter is illegal the paper. I am the owner of a small horse and carriage company in a larger city. I can honestly tell you that there needs to be major improvements on the way Animal Care and Control and the city regulates the care of the horses. I'll be 100% forth comming, it's hard to be in this industry at times becuase of the way others keep and maintain their carriages and carriage horses. I can tell you that our horses are loved and so well cared for.....better than some of the children in the city I live in....and that is gross. I have been fighting to see improvements in my city for a long time and have yet to see anyone take a stand here for the truly poorly cared for horses....I know it is easy to lump everyone in to the same catergory and lable us as animal abusers but not all horse and carriage owners are evil tyrants who only care about money......i assure you that. FoA comments: Even if your horses, or any animals, receive the best possible care, that high level of care does not justify their exploitation by you or other humans. And though you claim your horses receive better care than some humans, what happens to your horses or other carriage horses when they can no longer pull a carriage? Are they retired to lush pastures for the rest of their lives, or do they make a trip to the slaughterhouse?

As one who feels strongly that I am related not only with horses, but all animals no matter what they are. So, that said, please let the horses be free. Sometime we will wish that we did this years ago when there are only a few left. What we have no we should respect. Thank you.

Clearly it is long overdue to put a stop to Carriage Horses in areas with heavy vehicular traffic for the protection of the horses which is the priority that must be considered the most important in this matter. ralph cox Chatham NJ

First of all in this day in age, there is no necessity for animals to be laborers to human beings. The horse and carriage industry is for nostalgic entertainment and commerce, nothing else. It does not serve a useful purpose in today’s society. I have been an animal activist and vegetarian for twenty six years and I am in support of cruelty free living conditions for New York’s Carriage horses. These horses are doing human beings a service and there for they must be respected and protected. There are two sides to this issue. Trained animals like to be useful and serve a purpose. Banning this industry will take that purpose away and it also could depress the animals emotional state and destroy its health and well being. Also, If these horses loose their livelihood, chances are they will be euthanized the same as race horses considering it might be very difficult to place 200 work horses on retirement farms. To avoid this Ban we must clean up any mistreatment of these beautiful animals, fine the responsible parties for their cruelty and neglect, then make new laws like banning traffic and bicycles from horse restricted areas and cleaning up the stables as well as moving the horses to greener pastures when they are not doing the work they were trained to do. These animals need to be given a chance at life. This is an issue of common sense, humanity AND commerce. The horses benefit the cities economic status so there for they should be treated as any other working citizen. It is human beings who are responsible for the care and treatment of these animals. Not all of their care takers are abusing their horses. Some of them love their horses and are just doing their jobs. No human being has the right to make ANY animal serve them. Animals were not put here on this Earth for human pleasure and consumption, on the contrary, because human beings are supposed to have the higher intellect, that means that humans were put on the Earth to defend serve, and protect animals and all life forms that can not defend, protect and think for themselves. ALL Animal cruelty is inhumane. These horses only know the life that human beings gave to them, therefore to take that away from them could be detrimental to there well being. Once again, what needs to be done to rectify this issue is simple, Laws must be passed to insure the health and safety of these hard working animals, while the horses themselves are moved to a cleaner environment. One that is more fit and suitable for horses. Let’s work together and use our intelligence and energy to work towards stopping the real culprits from continuing this very negative atrocity. We are human beings, so let us start acting humanely. FoA comments: The first sentence of the above says it all, so there is no point in arguing about how horses should be treated when held in servitude to humans.

i find this absolutly fascinating fair comment not all carriage horses are mistreated some kept brilliantly others not, im in uk and can understand city no place for horses and vehicles in this day and age, but it asounds to me like all your people that are against horses being used at all by humans. but what happens to all your horses that are not used for driving riding racing etc etc your wild horses are killed and treated disgustlinglyand are not really allowed to roam wild and free like you suggest horses should ! so if all you people had your own way and horses were left to be free then youd be sentencing them to death i suggest you get together with carriage owners get actively involved weith there horses see what goes on reward good owners by letting them keep going - maybe in safer enviroment eg park and get the owners that do abuse - ~(reall abuse ) get your aythorities to refuse licenses i have horses that when left to own devises for cuple months when not be ridden get so bored ill take them for qwalks and they drag me out when ridden thjey get all exited ears pricked and generally seem to really enjoy it . by the way they are field kept with plenty of shelter ! FoA comments: There isn't a reason to perpetuate the exploitation of horses in order to give them natural living conditions in which they can thrive. In fact in addition to their outright exploitation by the carriage horse industry, the fact that horses are forced to live in unnatural condition is one more reason to bring an end to the horse carriage industry.


Add new comment