A horse is led down the ramp at the West Side Stables in New York City. (Amy Pearl/WNYC)

A New Course for New York City’s Carriage Horses

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

Reported by Daniel Simmons / NYPress.com »

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week his team is working on a bill to reduce by over 80 percent the number of horse carriage operators in Central Park and move the stables at which horses are lodged to inside the park, a shift from previous efforts that focused on banning the industry altogether.

His ascension from mayoral long shot to City Hall was aided by his pledge to ban horse carriage rides in Central Park, but almost two years into his tenure that promise remains unfulfilled. In comments last week he revealed the new approach would move the stables to inside the park, so horses would not have to contend with city traffic, and reduce the number of carriage operators from their current level of over 200 to just three dozen.

The debate is currently framed by a group of animal rights activists on one side, most notably NYClass, which contributed significantly to de Blasio’s mayoral ambitions. On the other side is the Teamsters Joint Council 16, which counts among its ranks horse carriage drivers.

The activists maintain that having large animals in a major urban center is cruel and that the horses are regularly mistreated. The Teamsters refute those charges of abuse and cast drivers as an iconic part of New York City. Polls show that the public, meanwhile, is mostly opposed to the ban while support for a ban in the city council is tepid at best.

NYClass spent about $1 million attacking de Blasio’s chief rival, former city council speaker Christine Quinn, in 2013’s democratic mayoral primary. Their support was based on de Blasio’s campaign promise to enact a ban if elected. — Continue reading »

Featured Image: Google Search Result, Photographer Not Identified. Image of Mayor DeBlasio: Getty Images.

10 thoughts on “A New Course for New York City’s Carriage Horses”

  1. Apologies if I seem redundant. My computer was not allowing me to see whether my original post had appeared.


  2. This is a non-existant solution to a manufactured problem. You fail to mention that the animal rights activist group, NYCLASS, that is pushing for the ban was founded and funded by real estate developers just when the Hell’s Kitchen area, where the stables are, is being redeveloped due to the construction of he new Javits Convention Center. Coincidence? Not on your life.

    The carriage horses are among the best kept, most highly regulated horses in the country. Their rate of accidents and injuries is less than those of horses in pastures, which is where most horse injuries occur. http://equusmagazine.com/blog/horse-research-paddock-traumatic-injury-turnout

    The carriage horses have nearly 150 pages of regulations protecting them. They have 5 city agencies looking out for them, and they’re inspected literally hundreds of times a year, both in the stables and on the hack line. In addition, the NYPD mounted units are a near constant presence, and the horse are on display to the public during all working hours. If there were any sort of systemic abuse or neglect, it would have been noticed long since. With all this, the rate of injury and accident among the carriage horses is lower than virtually any other equine activity. They are very comfortable in the city as well, more comfortable than they are in the country on their vacations.

    The campaign against the carriages has been hallmarked with ignorance, stupidity, ugly personal attacks, and racism on the part of NYCLASS. Their protesters rush the carriages, wave signs and scream in the horses faces trying to get them to spook. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RC2pdD_mDH8

    New York doesn’t a group like this dictating how to manage horses. No one does.


    1. I don’t know who gave you this information but there is nothing natural, normal or healthy about the way these horses are kept, or the conditions they are asked to work in. The horse drawn carriage industry is hardly alone in this. Many industries have similar ideology resulting in abuse, injury and even death.


  3. No problem removing the iconic symbol of the American West. Our Wild Mustangs have been removed by the thousands only to be warehoused and sent to slaughter. These horses in NYC don’t belong on the streets.


    1. The carriage horses are as iconic to New York as the mustangs are to the west. And they live more comfortable lives, too. If you don’t want one removed, why would you want the other to be?


  4. So the Teamsters vouch for the care and protection of these horses by their members? We all know how well they protected Jimmy Hoffa and they adored him. Heaven help these poor horses.


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