Horse Ban in New York City?

The horse and carriage industry in New York could become a thing of the past if the campaign against it by animal activists and animal supporters continues to gather momentum. Recently a horse pulling a carriage died after falling on a street due to having a stomach ulcer, the Irish Times reported.

Incidents like these focus media attention on the horse carriage industry and cause people to question this particular use of horses; and often to become outraged and motivated to end it. Horse carriage rides in Central Park do seem like an outdated practice, but the romantic or entertaininghistorical appeal is likely what has drawn people to it over the years.

Critics of the industry correctly point out Manhattan is a very unnatural environment for horses with no pasture for them, and their working conditions include very dense car and truck traffic, air pollution, constant high noise levels, and occasional vehicle strikes.

Mayor Bloomberg supports the industry as being a traditional part of the city’s culture and popular with tourists. He says the horses are well treated. Currently there are 68 carriages, 216 horses and 282 drivers working in New York City. Carriage drivers earn between $40,000 to $100,000 annually.

The traditional use of horses of course dates to a time when automobiles and buses did not yet exist, so horses had to be used. Clearly today, they are not required for transportation and are very out of place in an entirely human-made environment.

A proposed plan to replace the horses with antique electric cars sounds like a win for the drivers who would lose their jobs if an outright ban was implemented. Also it has been pointed out an immediate ban could result in the currently used horses going to slaughter houses, because there is no money or plan for relocating them to animal sanctuaries or placing them on farms with responsible caring owners.

Image Credit: arjecahn

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Jo S.
Jo S1 years ago

Thank you.

tin leng lim
tin leng lim4 years ago

Thank you.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

I would love to see these beautiful carriage horses retire to a horse sanctuary...but if they are to be sent for auction to end up as meat...well then they should,sadly remain pulling carriages,tho i don't like it at all.

Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Pulling carriages is better than getting slaughtered.

Joe R.
Joe R5 years ago


Sam M.
Sam E M6 years ago

If the alternative is slaughter, then there should remain regulated horse-drawn carriage services. With checks to ensure the well-being of the horses and a time-limit to work in traffic areas. We also have to endure this pollution ourselves so we're not inflicting worse on the equine community. Let's be honest, we all love to see a fine healthy horse in the midst of our towns when we're rushing about to keep up with daily living, they bring us a sense of calm and evoke images of vacations in the countryside. Most of the horses and ponies I see working in my own city appear to be in fine health and don't give any signs of suffering. They seem to enjoy being stroked and patted too, I expect they're used to it and might possibly miss the attention if horse-drawn carriages were banned. Unfortunately, too many retired horses are sent to slaughter rather than well-earned green pastures.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Well, Darla, we don't have a need for potato chips or soda, either, but would it be appropriate to ban them? Because there are abuses in any industry should not advocate for a total ban on that everywhere. Because somebody else abuses their dog, should that mean you or I can't have dogs?

I see no problem with horse-drawn carriages in NYC if it's not in vehicular traffic. They have horse-drawn carriages in the city near where I live (Seattle) and there has never been any report of abuse that I'm aware of. The horses are very well taken care of, are available for waterfront "tours" and special events by reservation only, and during events such as "Seafair". Why not take a carriage ride around the waterfront for one's honeymoon or anniversary celebration? I think around Central Park would be nice as well.

Like you, I don't see ANY "need" thru Manhattan or wherever there are cars that would pose a risk, however.

Darla G.
Darla G6 years ago

There's no need for horse drawn carriage rides in New York City or anywhere else.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Well said, Robin! If anyone bothered to read the facts about the carriage horse that died a month or so ago, he had ulcers, and had only been out of the barn for 20 minutes. He hadn't even gone into "service" yet, and he'd also only been a carriage horse for about 20 days. He'd formerly been a horse owned by the Amish, so guess where he got ulcers?

Now, Robin, if you were lumping me in the group referred to in your first paragraph, I think you are misguided a bit. I'm not for banning carriage horses, and thought I'd made that clear. I'm against using them in downtown traffic, like in Manhattan, and see no need for them there. I do see a purpose in Central Park, and in my community, there are several carriage industries, all the horses are well provided for, working conditions are pretty good, actually! I wish when I was "working", I could stand half asleep most of my 8-hour shift and be fed treats all the time. They walk around a set course near the waterfront, a length of about maybe 1 - 2 miles at the most. For a healthy horse, that's nothing. Wild horses cover 50 miles or more in a day, just to find forage, and the survival rate is not a good one. When not "walking", these guys stand around with feed bags on their nose most of the time.

Robin M.
Robin M.6 years ago

Thank you, Lesley, Sue T.,Colleen, Maria, Judith, and wnyone else who had something intelligent and informed to say about this issue.

Get a clue, Carlene, Avril, Dianne, Suzie, Patricia Anne (Where have you seen them lined up for slaughter? Good grief!), Jingli, Jake, Joy, Sharon, Bruce, Rene (Free them? Just turn them loose? On whose land? With who providing their care?) PL T. (Hooves swollen? Hooves are rigid - they can't swell, dingbat!), Kye, Holly (The horse pulls the carriage, dear, the carriage doesn't pull the horse.), Charlie P. (They're not little ones. They tend to run 1800-2200 pounds each. Unless you're comparing them to elephants ...) Isabel, and Muriel. I'm sure if you all pitch in, you can afford to create a horse sanctuary to provide a lifetime of care to, oh, maybe 5 or 6 of these majestic creatures. Now all you need to do is form a few hundred more such sanctuaries, and the whole problem of unwanted carriage horses and backyard, ex-racing, lame, and sick horses can be easily resolved!

The facts remain that IF the horses are well cared for, and the majority of working horses ARE, it's a much better life for them than many of the altrenatives *in the real world* - but that's a place that many of you seem unfamiliar with.

Ulcers are very difficult to diagnose in horses and they often show no symptoms.

Most carriage companies provide for their horses, offering water at reasonable intervals, giving them ample time off work, both in hours per day and