Horse-Drawn Carriage Cruelty a Big Issue in NYC Mayoral Race

The use of horse-drawn carriages in the city is turning out to be a big issue in New York City’s mayoral race with candidates on both sides debating over whether or not they should be banned.

Animal advocates have long been arguing that the city’s modern environment is no place for horses, not only because of the noise, activity and pollution, but also because current laws aren’t tough enough to protect them and because of the potential for accidents that could injure both horses and people.

Last August three people were injured when a horse named Oreo spooked when metal beams were dropped at a construction site. Oreo took off, ditched the driver and two tourists who were in the carriage, crashed into a parked van and moving car before the carriage broke apart and continued to run another four blocks before stopping. Fortunately, Oreo survived, but his was just another incident that prompted calls to shut this industry down.

Candidate Christine C. Quinn, City Council Speaker, has come under fire for her continued support of horse-drawn carriages. She was the target of a $1 million ad criticizing her support for keeping carriages that was funded in part by members of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets (NYCLASS) – a lobby group that has been trying to get carriage horses out of the city. The group recently created a coalition dedicated to defeating Quinn – New York is Not For Sale 2013.

NYCLASS highlights a very unflattering New York Times profile of Quinn, that the group says “characterized the City Council speaker as a temperamental, vengeful loose cannon.”

“We can’t have a mayor who is a bully like that,”Allie Feldman, lead organizer for NYCLASS told the International Business Times. “If she talks like that to humans, imagine how she would treat non-human residents, who literally have no voice.”

Quinn’s opponent Bill de Blasio, the city’s Public Advocate, has simultaneously gained support and campaign donations from animal lovers and made a promise to ban horse-drawn carriages first thing if he gets elected.

“I would ban the horse carriages in Central Park within the first week on the job,” he said at forum in March. “I think it’s horrible what happens to the horses. I think it’s unnecessary and doesn’t do anything for our economy, much to the chagrin of the mayor who thinks it’s at the center of our tourism economy.”

De Blasio has criticized Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg for ignoring public calls to ban carriage horses, and took a jab at Bloomberg for saying that doing away with them would kill the city’s tourism industry, like they’re the only reason anyone goes there.

One of Quinn’s arguments is that losing carriage horses would mean losing jobs for an estimated 300 licensed carriage operators, but NYCLASS and others are supporting Intro 86A, legislation that would involve swapping out horses for vintage replica electric cars to keep drivers employed, which it believes will bring in millions more in revenue and allow drivers greater flexibility with fewer restrictions when it comes to work hours and rest requirements. This legislation currently has 15 co-sponsors and is being led by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. NYCLASS believes it will have a working prototype finished by the end of the year.

Take Action: Sign the petition to ban horse carriages in NYC!


Related Stories:

Nevada May Ban Horse Tripping: A Cruel and Dangerous “Sport”

Should We Ban Horse Slaughter Once and For All?

Oklahoma’s on Track to Allow Horse Slaughter


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Sandra I.
Sandra I5 years ago

Horrible! No more horse carriages anywhere!

Anna Dayton
Anna Dayton5 years ago

Banning carriage horses will only lead to the death of every carriage horse. Where do you people think these animals are going to go. how many of you people fight for "horses right" actually know anything about horses? Ive been in horse rescue work for 7 years and owned 5 of my own horses prior to that i am now studying veterinary medicine so i'm fairly certain i know what im talking about when it comes to horses. While i do not always agree with how these animals are treated by the handlers I see the importance of these horses ability to work. horses are not like cats and dogs. they are much more expensive and time consuming and require far more attention and understanding. you cannot just throw these animals in your back yard pet them once a day. If they are not able to work they will not be able to survive. think about this while you're condemning the work these animals do.

Mary T.
Mary T5 years ago

horse drawn carriages do not belong on the busy streets of New York City, its dangerous for the horses and anyone in the carriage

Carrie-Anne Brown

signed and voted, thanks for sharing :)

Shannon Moody
Shannon Moody6 years ago

"vintage replica electric cars to keep drivers employed"...Hell Yeah! Surely, everyone can agree that this would be wicked cool?

Katherine Babiak
Katherine B6 years ago

Just looking at the horses, especially after a long hot tiring day, your heart goes out to them. Some drivers take care of them, but not all. There is so much congestion, bad air, noise and commotion happening around them that it is just not the environment a horse should be in. NYC doesn't need horse drawn carriages, and we shouldn't have them.

Ken H.
Ken H6 years ago

@ Stacey M......Yeah maybe you had better explain it to me,maybe i'm just to stupid to see it for myself. I like to look at things from both sides,maybe that makes me an idiot,and i'm fine with that,because that is how i shall continue to look at things. This needs to be looked at with a level head,not watching extreme and hopefully rare videos of falling horses.Need to look at how many horses do well with their "job",you cant base human emotions on a animals outlook to life. And this mayor race having big concerns over horse carts makes me wonder why people wouldn't pick better reasons to elect one.

Ken H.
Ken H6 years ago

@ Lisa D......The video is a extreme example,and after a crash....thats EXTREME.In order to properly look at this we need to know how the horses uphold themselves,and how they are treated by the ones who look after them.People and vehicles dont mix,not much mix with vehicles.If we put up a video of a person flopping around after a accident with a vehicle some people would say ban vehicles.And saying the horses are treated well,how do we determine if they are liking their life?

Stacey M.
Stacey M6 years ago

If it has to be explained to you why this should be BANNED, you are an IDIOT and one cannot win an argument with an idiot because the idiot has had more practice!

Ishita Saha
Ishita Saha6 years ago

a tradition which is cruel ought to be banned & not continued just because it's a 'tradition'