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Brooklyn Accident Demonstrates the Need for a Citywide Ban on Horse-Drawn Carriages

September 05, 2008 | Horses / Press Releases / Horse Carriages

Press Release from Council MemberTony Avella

For more information please call Tony Avella: 718-747-2137

Today, Council Member Tony Avella highlighted once again the need for a ban on the operation of horse-drawn carriages in New York City (Intro. #658) in light of yet another horse-drawn carriage accident. The latest mishap occurred in Brooklyn this past weekend when two horses pulling a wedding buggy became startled and proceeded to run wildly through the street, propelling the driver onto the windshield of a parked vehicle, stopping only after hitting a traffic pole.

"This latest accident serves as a prime example that horses are easily excited by everyday occurrences in city life. It is absolutely clear that the time has come to ban horse-drawn cabs in the city of New York. We can no longer justify the risk of serious injury or death to these animals or to the public at large," stated Avella.

Edita Birnkrant, NYC Campaign Coordinator for Friends of Animals said, "This latest accident in Brooklyn stresses the fact that Tony Avella's pending bill to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City should be enacted immediately. We need not wait for another avoidable tragedy to realize that horses should no longer be pulling carriages as a form of entertainment. New Yorkers of all kinds, tourists from around the world, and the animal advocacy community all recognize this as a common sense and humane solution. Now it's time for the City Council to do what's long overdue: retire this industry, once and for all."

Elizabeth Forel, from the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, stated, "Horses do not belong on the streets of New York City. Because they scare easily, at 2,000 pounds, they are unwitting but terrifying weapons as they run amok after being spooked. It is only a matter of time before someone is killed as has happened in other cities."

"Allowing this industry to continue will only result in more accidents, more horses being killed or injured, and the public will continue to be put at risk," concluded Avella.

In the past two years there have been approximately 8 accidents involving horse driven carriages. As a result, 3 horses have died and 6 people have been injured.


That humans are endangered cannot be ignored. Knowing of this danger humans have the right to make a decision without the advent of opressive civic laws. As far as the horses are concerned you must compare the life expetancy of a carriage horse to what their life expectancy would be elsewhere. John E. Moore---Montana [Blog editors' note: We have an overpopulation of human beings in the U.S. You must be confusing humans with snail darters. As for horses, their lives on public lands, running free beats the life of one whose freedom is forever lost, and whose condition is to drag people around the streets of NY, Victoria, or some other commercial venue. ]

I live in radnor pa. It is aprox. 25 minutes from phila. when I visit phila. and see the carriages in society hill my heart aches for the beautiful horses pulling people ,struggling with all the cars around them. They do this without any regard for the hot weather conditions. It is so abusive . how can civilized people be so heartless. we must boycott these carriages and stop this abuse.

I am currently boycotting every city with horse-drawn carriages. I was in Chicago a year ago and seeing the suffering of the horses ruined the vacation for me. I wrote to the mayor and told him I wasn't visiting Chicago again until horse-drawn carriages are banned. I am dying to go to New York but I won't! People need to stop thinking horse-drawn carriages as "romantic". There is nothing romantic about a horse in a cement jungle, slaving around carrying people, surrounded by noise, cars and confusion. The poor creature is suffering. Humans just don't get it.

regarding editors note--Horses are not indigenous to North America. By freeing them on public lands are we not manipulating the balance of nature? John E. Moore MD

For Dr. Moore - Wikipedia, limited though it is, has an interesting note on that point in its "mustang" entry. It says horses lived in North America in prehistoric times, but died out at the end of the last ice age around 10-12,000 years ago, possibly due to the impact of newly-arrived human hunters. The first Mustangs descended from Iberian horses brought to Mexico and Florida by 16th-century conquerors. Interestingly, in light of the horse's prehistoric existence in the Americas, many Native Americans myths and stories about the arrival of horses claimed that "the grass remembered" them. We could also say the arrival of early humans to this continent manipulated by balance of nature. Far more so than the free-living horses, who only exist now in relatively small pockets of the continent.

I understand that there are issues with horse drawn carriages in the NY area. Why doesn't someone work to reform the industry rather then ban it completely? While the situation in NY is not good, this doesn't mean that it's the same all over the US. [Blog editors' note: Reforms have been tried for many years yet the problems remain that horses don't belong on the streets of New York or any other city. A ban allows horses to spend the rest of their lives in a sanctuary to enjoy some of the freedoms they've been denied. Certainly, that's the right thing to do.]

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