Saturday, May 14, 2011

A bill to end horse-drawn carriages in NYC

A New York State senator has introduced a bill – S5013 – to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. We can only hope that this bill will result in the elimination of the sight we see, and choke up over, near the Plaza Hotel, of poor, overworked horses (who shouldn’t be “worked” at all) waiting to pull carriages full of tourists.

How medieval, cruel and unnecessary.

According to a press release from Friends of Animals, “More than 200 horses are forced to pull carriages and tourists in New York City, but that could be stopped by a bill introduced by . . . Senator Tony Avella.

"Senator Avella has taken this initiative to the state level," said Edita Birnkrant, New York director of Friends of Animals. "We laud this step to make New York City a travel destination with safety and fairness in mind for all. “Bill S5013 would amend New York City's administrative code to prohibit horse-drawn cabs. It would also prevent current carriage horses from being sold off to killer buyers.

“Last summer, Friends of Animals facilitated the rescue of Bobby, a New York City carriage horse, from a slaughter auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania. "Advocates can't spot and rescue every industry-worn horse," said Birnkrant. "Thank goodness Bobby is safe. But only a ban will end the cycle."

According to the release, “Senator Tony Avella (D), representing the 11th New York State Senate district, served on the New York City Council until 2009, and supported the effort to ban horse-drawn carriages consistently. The senator worked closely with Friends of Animals to create the landmark ban bill introduced into the Council in 2007.

“New Yorkers have seen several horrific accidents involving frightened horses,” the release continued.

“In September 2007 a 12-year old mare named Smoothie, left unattended, bolted; one of her legs became entangled in a carriage wheel as she crashed into a tree, went into shock and died. In 2009, an accident at Central Park ended in hospitalizations of a cab driver and a carriage driver. Motorcyclists and pedestrians have been hit, sustaining bone breaks. Cars have been smashed. Buggies have tumbled. Horses have broken free and run through the streets of Manhattan. From time to time the media announce deaths of horses: Nickels, Spotty, Juliet; the list goes on. A horse called Jackie was shocked to death by an electrical line in the rain.

“Not a single one of these tragedies needed to happen," said Birnkrant. "New York City is a lovely place for walking. For tourists wanting to take a ride, pedicabs offer tours through Central Park."

(Note: although this post deals with a bill in New York, the image shows a carriage horse in Philadelphia.)


Lee Hall said...

Senator Avella's move from the City Council to the state level and the movement of the horse-drawn vehicle issue to that level all so interesting and encouraging! The introduction of this bill for consideration by New York lawmakers is a milestone. Let's support this so it becomes law. We can all thank Senator Avella:

Senator Tony Avella, Albany Office
Room 504, LOB
Albany, NY 12247
United States
Phone: 518-455-2210
Fax: 518-426-6736

Email address:

And New Yorkers can write to their Senators and ask them to sign on to the bill. Find them here:

Let use the power of our keyboards to write letters and op-eds on this wonderful bill. What happens in New York City will surely influence other cities from Philadelphia to Victoria, British Columbia and beyond.

Lee Hall, Friends of Animals (who met you on the very day you took that photo in Philadelphia)

Anonymous said...

End this abuse already. tired of seeing those poor carriage horses exploited and dumped for slaughter. stop it NOW