Carriage horse controversy flares up again in New York City


New York carriage horseAre horse-drawn carriages an essential part of New
York City’s tourist trade, or a cruel, outdated tradition that should be
banned? This controversial question has long been a divisive issue among New
Yorkers, and that issue came to the forefront again when a gray carriage horse
named Charlie mysteriously collapsed and died on the morning of October 22.

Opponents of New York’s carriage trade include
animal welfare groups and citizens of the city who are concerned about the
safety hazards of having horses share crowded, urban streets with pedestrians,
cyclists and motorized vehicles. A handful of groups exist to protest the use
of horses in the city, including the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages and
New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NY-CLASS).

According to the Coalition, the law allows carriage
companies to put the horses to work seven days a week for nine hours a day.
While the law was recently amended to give the horses a mandatory five weeks of
vacation each year, the Coalition says that this is unenforceable. The carriage
horses are housed in urban buildings in Manhattan with no turnout.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals (ASPCA), which publicly opposes the carriage industry in New York, is
nevertheless tasked with overseeing the horses’ welfare. The ASPCA will
facilitate a necropsy to investigate the cause of Charlie’s death.

“The life of a carriage horse on New York City
streets is extremely difficult and life threatening,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President
and Chief Legal Counsel of ASPCA Humane Law enforcement. “The ASPCA has long
believed that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in today’s
urban setting.”

Carriage drivers and others involved in the industry maintain that the horses are held to strict standards of care and regulations on their working conditions. And while some New Yorkers would support a ban of
carriage horses in Manhattan, there are many who view it as an important tourist draw
and a source of employment during difficult economic times. Among the
supporters is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Unfortunately, there was a death of a horse,”
Bloomberg was quoted as saying by the New York Daily News. “Horses have life
expectancies of 14, 15 years, 20 years, depending on the breed of the horse.”
(Although the mayor’s statement is incorrect, NY-CLASS states that the average
lifespan of a carriage horse is half that of other domestic horses.)

“The tourists love this,” continued Bloomberg. “We
worry about the horses being treated well and humanely, but there’s no evidence
that the horse was abused.”

Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina, is a professional
show jumper and equine welfare ambassador for the ASPCA. NY-CLASS states that she
is also a supporter
of their organization, but she has not made a public
statement on this incident.


  1. Both sides sound like they loose. Horses must work long hard hours in terrible conditions…car exhaust, but the people loose too, because they will not beable to meet the horses nor ride in the carriages.

  2. I wish people would look into the good just as much as the bad. I know that even though horses die doing this people still care about the horses. Besides don’t horses die in accidents? Not just this I mean look at cross country.

  3. I’m shocked that a horse publication would print a quote from the mayor making an incorrect guess at the average lifespan of a horse… and then follow it with an even more incorrect clarification from NYCLASS! Is this journalism or a witch hunt? Why don’t you find out some facts? Galvayne’s Groove is not a nightclub in SoHo.

  4. its just downright creulty!!!! i cant believe how anyone could do that to a horse! even if they dont die on the job it shortens there lifespan by many years! its just wrong!it needs to stop!!

  5. How can anyone justifty a horse working in NYC living in the conditions that they do. Instead of taking a tour through the park people should take a tour where they are housing these horses. If a person is not allowed to live in a house without a 2 exit fireescape why should the horses be allowed to live in these unsafe conditions. Are they any less important then us. Shame on anyone who pays to ride in a carriage and support the abuse of these animals

  6. that horse that died in (NYC) is REALLY sad story. And i think that the horse was soo weared down that the horse was so stressed out and trumatized. They used to do this a long time ago before cars,trucks,or even min vans any other motorized edvice was not there. HORSES were there to transport us to place to place but like the horse that died in the story thats a shame i think that the carrige horses should get ALL SUMMER OFF! :] that would make a change in (NYC).And the HORSES <3

  7. Don’t look for NY to eliminate the horse/carriage business soon. The mayor is behind it, his daughter isn’t making any comments and it’s a money maker. I always wondered how much of a money maker it was, anybody know?

  8. I think that carriage horses should be allowed to continue. Most horses are happy having work to do and would rather be doing something that living a boring life as a pasture ornament.
    I do believe that their living conditions should be healthy and safe but does a horse that works 9 hours a day really need turnout time? I think not and it’s very unfeasible.
    Let’s keep the carriage horses but make sure they are properly cared for. Of whom most are, I would hope.

  9. Just another money maker to put more government interference on the U.S. people. So what happens if the carriage horses get banned? What will happen to the police horses? Jobs will be lost. This is just another outrageous step by PETA to do more harm.


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