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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.


Horses are beautiful animals that should be celebrated, not used as tourist attractions.

Let's not let Smoothie die in vain. It's 2007 not the 1800's...It's about time we end the Horse-Drawn carriage business.

I support this in a HUGE way!! This should have been looked at more closly a long time ago. These horses are mistreated in many ways that people are so unaware of. The next time anyone thinks about getting a ride on the horse drawn carriages, please think twice, thank you!


I am a horse owner and have been for many years. Horses are very sensitive animals and they do not belong on city streets. They belong in the country where nature intended them to be. I have seen the hansom cabs in NYC and it makes me sick how these horses are treated. They stand in the sun all day with heavy harnesses on in 90+ degree weather! I once approached one of these drivers and asked where the water was and I was told a few blocks away! This is just cruelty at it's worst! These drivers state that they love their animals when all they care about is the money they are making. Please put an end to this unatural business!

Having seen these suffering horses in hideous weather conditions in NYC, Rome, Bermuda etc. it is time for it to end. It is 2007 and this sort of exploitation should NOT be happening. It is sickening to see people sitting, in the vehicles with no thought for the horses misery and as well, to see the horses standing for hours in the heat while the drivers chat to each other. This barbaric situation must come to an end.

Anything to support animals. ANYTHING, YOU NAME IT, I want to help!

It's about time we stop the cruelty the owners perform on these beautiful animals. Tourist have so many other things to do in NYC. These horses are not provided with a break, water, or food and they ride people around NYC. I am happy Council Member Tony Avella is drafting and sponsoring legislation that would ban horse-drawn carriages. Hurray for someone who is starting this! I have never driven in a carriage and I'm glad...

BRAVO AVELA!!!! Something that should have been done a century ago! Even when I was a little kid, I used to suffer for & with those horses, standing for hours in the rain, the snow, the scorching sun...Not to mention their having to breathe the fabulous air of NY as they strain to pull carriages of overweight tourists. FREE THEM ALL AND LET THEIR DRIVERS GET A JOB WHICH DOESN'T INVOLVE CRUELTY! THE ENTIRE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE SITUATION IS OVER!!!!

Yes I support this all the way to end the horse-drawn carriage industry. Horses and all animals are beautiful creatures not a freak show!


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