Oreo is corralled and darted by Police. Photo credit: Sam Costanza.

State lawmakers call for ban on horse drawn carriages in NYC

Oreo is corralled and darted by Police. Photo credit: Sam Costanza.
Oreo collapses at 58th St and 9th Ave in Manhattan after he is darted by police with a sedative. The horse bucked and broke free from his carriage when a passing van got too close during rush hour near Columbus Circle. Photo credit: Sam Costanza. (click to enlarge)

In the wake of yesterday’s runaway carriage horse incident in Columbus Circle, state Sen. Tony Avella and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal are renewing calls to ban horse-drawn carriages.

The two lawmakers co-sponsored a bill to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City, calling the industry inhumane and dangerous.

“Despite claiming to have taken every available precaution, the industry cannot ensure the basic safety of the horses or the public,” Rosenthal said. “If an industry is incapable of preventing accidents, the State has a responsibility to step in. We have been lucky up to this point, but our luck is bound to run out.”

The incident happened when startled carriage horse Oreo bucked and broke free during rush hour traffic in the Columbus Circle area of Manhattan when a passing van got too close. The carriage driver and both passengers were injured.

Speaking on behalf of the ASPCA Joe Pentangelo stated that they “will be examining Oreo again before deciding whether to let him go back to work.”

“Enough is enough,” Avella said. “How many more accidents, injuries and deaths is it going to take before we end this inhumane industry? 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.”

In the meantime, it is madness putting Oreo back on the street after what he has been through, more so mentally than physically. A horse is not a mechanized vehicle. However, one wonders what destiny would hold for Oreo if they were to bar him from returning to work altogether. Either way, it is a sad, sad business for the horse, as these situations always are.

Source: New York Daily News; James Arkin reporting; Aug. 17, 2012.

4 thoughts on “State lawmakers call for ban on horse drawn carriages in NYC”

  1. It is a terrible tragedy that the incident happened and these types of incidents are caused by negligent drivers. I think that the horse drawn carriages are part the NYC culture. There are many safety precautions that can be taken to prevent further incidents including public and driver awarenes of the inherent dangers. Even the best trained horses, mine included, can inadvertantly step or turn into a car that is driving too close. Drivers need to move over and slow down.


  2. This is a terrible incident, but even in Manhattan traffic, what was the driver of the van thinking of getting that close to a horse drawn carriage? Have people totally lost their minds to the point they think that a horse is just another “vehicle”? Disgraceful. There will no doubt be a lawsuit coming against the city. It would not surprise me if the City goes for a quick settlement under this Mayor. Bloomberg is determined to keep carriage horses as part of the New York City culture.


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