Group protests horse-drawn carriages outside Gracie Mansion

Gracie Mansion Carriage Horse Rally. Credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880.
Photo Credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Opponents of horse-drawn carriages are not letting Mayor Bill de Blasio forget his campaign promise.

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, a protester playing the bagpipes while wearing a horse head mask has joined dozens of others with a message for Mayor de Blasio outside his Upper East Side home Tuesday.

Donny Moss joined Elizabeth Forel with the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, which it says helped get de Blasio elected. Now, the group says he has to do his part whether the city council has enough votes to pass legislation or not.

“We’re here to remind the mayor of his promise to take the horses off the street and out of harm’s way,” Moss said.

“I know he has other issues, you know, Pre-k and now what’s going on with the police, but he has a big administration. He has the ability to hire someone who can deal with animal issues and so far that has not happened,” one protester said.

“It’s very cruel what goes on with these horses,” protester Therese DeMico said. “One of the reasons I voted for Mayor de Blasio was he promised to ban them and it’s going on months and months.”

Forel says there are erroneous reports saying the horses would be slaughtered if the carriages are banned.
“When they go to the auctions, they could easily be bought by kill buyers. We would stop that, we would save that, we have homes for all of these horses,” Forel said.

“We’re considering a range of options that move the horses off our streets, safeguard the animals, and protect the livelihoods of the men and women who provide carriage rides,” de Blasio Spokesman Wiley Norvell said in a statement Tuesday night.

De Blasio wanted to ban the horses from Manhattan’s streets and Central Park during his first week in office.

But in a Google Hangout video chat in April, the mayor said he now expects the City Council to ban the practice by year’s end.

“A horse in the middle of the streets of Midtown doesn’t belong,” he said. “I think a humane society doesn’t do that to animals and we have an alternative where we’ll have an opportunity for tourists to have a similar experience but without horses being a part of it.”

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3 thoughts on “Group protests horse-drawn carriages outside Gracie Mansion”

  1. For years & years there have been attempts at humane care of the NYC Carriage Horses…to no avail. There are lapses, cover-ups, missing documents, etc.
    There have been deaths of horses, even one is too many.
    The “vacations” given to the horses are mainly at Amish working farms. It has been noted by vets that the horses come back looking worse than when they left. The Amish are known to be not to caring of their working animals.
    The carriage drivers have been offered jobs driving the controversial “antique cars,” replacing the horses. Regardless, people do lose their jobs & need to & can find another. The drivers knew this was coming for some time, & I would presume they gave much thought to alternative means of employment. And by the way, a majority of the drivers are not of Irish heritage, losing a “tradition.”
    NYC would not lose a massive amount of $$$ revenue. NYC is a tourist city with many attractions. And most tourists are appalled at seeing the NYC carriage horses. And those that do enjoy a ride…well, this is no reason to keep the horses working & living under such terrible conditions.
    The horses have homes to go to. Many rescues are on notice to receive them. The only horses that could go to slaughter are those that the owners send to slaughter.
    Actually, many NYC carriage horses presently go to slaughter. The average working life for a NYC carriage horse is 7 years. They become physically unfit due to their working conditions & many cannot adapt to the job. So back to New Holland Auction House in Pennsylvania to be picked up by a kill buyer.
    Lastly, & most importantly, veterinarians have documented that the lungs of the horses are severely impaired. Yes, the fumes, exhaust pipes in their faces, lack of clean air…is extremely detrimental! Added is the congestion, loud noises, extreme weather temperatures, lack of clean water while working, the filth in their feed & water…
    It is way over time for the horses to be out of NYC. Advocating for the NYC Carriage horses is not all about “animal rights,” it is about humane *animal welfare.
    Thank you.

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  2. I feel somewhat torn. It’s an industry that can provide families with fun rides and bring good revenue to the city. Yet, like most anything, it can be abused. The traffic conditions and the weather in which these horses work can be of concern. I would strongly prefer to see it be reformed than banned. However, if these horses’ needs are intentionally being overlooked and they’re doing nothing to improve their conditions, it is not going last.

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  3. I understand these peoples’ concern for the horses but they cannot possibly provide homes for all the horses used in carriage rides therefore many of those horses will go to slaughter, already overloaded rescues or simply be abandoned. Also consider the people who make their livelihood off of giving carriage rides, they will be jobless. Maybe they have families to care for or rents to pay that they would not be able to take care of without this income. Maybe a better solution then outright banning horse carriages would be to come up with safe routes for them to take and make sure the horses are checked in on so they are kept in humane conditions.

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