NYC Mayor signs off on animal bill that helps carriage horses

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 10: A carriage horse eats by Central Park moments before all drivers were ordered to return to the stables due to heat on August 10, 2018 in New York City. According to New York City administrative code, all carriage horses used in tourism must immediately stop working and return to their stables when the temperature reaches 90 degrees. Animal rights activists, who want to permanently end the carriage horse business in the city, say many drivers ignore the law or linger in the park looking for customers long after an alert has been issued. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Finally. Some encouraging news for New York City’s carriage horses.

New York City took another step towards the protection of animals across the city on Monday, with Mayor Bill de Blasio signing off on a new law that included carriage horses.

The legislation limits when horse carriages can operate in hot weather — six years after pledging to rid the city of the industry entirely.

Central Park’s carriage horses are already banned from working when temperatures hit 90 degrees or more in the summer and when it’s 18 degrees or below in the winter.

But the legislation signed by de Blasio would also prohibit carriage horses from working when temperatures hit 80 degrees and the “equine heat index” — the sum of the temperature and the relative humidity at any point — is at least 150. This will potentially increase the number of weather related suspensions from 24 to 44 which threatens the livelihood of the carriage horse business in New York.

A group called NYCLASS has pushed lawmakers to end the carriage industry for years, although critics of the group note its co-founder Steve Nislick, a real estate developer, has also in the past lobbied the mayor for an affordable housing plan in the neighborhood around Manhattan’s largest carriage stable.

After de Blasio’s 2013 campaign got a financial boost from NYCLASS, he promised to completely ban Central Park horse carriages “on day one.” The effort failed spectacularly, though the city limited pickups to inside the park in 2018 at the urging of NYCLASS.

“The mayor signing this bill indicates that he is part of NYCLASS’s systematic effort to destroy the carriage horses,” carriage driver Christina Hansen said, saying the bill was “unscientific.”


In His 5th Year as Mayor, de Blasio Finally Acts on Horse-Carriage Pledge, New York Times, Aug 30, 2018 (Note: Mayor Bill de Blasio directed his administration to move the Central Park location where horse carriages wait for passengers to five boarding areas within the park only.)

Runaway carriage horse slams into taxi in heart of Manhattan

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: A carriage horse trots near Central Park on April 21, 2014 in New York City. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, made a campaign pledge to ban carriages in Central Park. As the horse carriage industry, which mainly takes tourists through the park, has come under criticism from animal welfare agencies, many New Yorkers are voicing their support for the horses and drivers. On Saturday animal welfare activists protested in front of actor Liam Neeson's home after he wrote a newspaper piece in support of the carriage horses. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

MANHATTAN, NYC — It is almost unbelievable the way yesterday’s runaway carriage horse incident is being reported. Not so much factually as spiritually.

UPDATE. March 16, 2017, 1:55 pm EST. Via PIX 11 News, New York.

An out-of-control horse backpedalled in the middle of a midtown street during the Monday morning rush, authorities said.

Two horses were being taken from a nearby stable to Central Park, where they give carriage rides. It was near Eighth Avenue and 55th Street that one of the horses became startled.  Read more, view video story »


Here is what was commonly reported.

A carriage horse bolted on the streets of Midtown Monday morning galloping through several streets before slamming into a yellow cab.

The horse’s head ended up against the taxi with one of his hooves jammed under the front left wheel.

Unattributed image posted by The Daily Mail.
Unattributed image posted by The Daily Mail.

The horse had not been pulling a carriage at the time he broke free and ran away. Witnesses say they believe he escaped from the place where he was being kept.

The runaway horse was checked over at the scene of the accident and said to “look okay”.

That was it. Checked over. Looked okay. Nothing about having a licensed veterinarian taking a look at the horse. I suppose with complaints now flowing in they will say they did that once they got him back to the garage, ahem … I mean, stable.

Speaking of getting the horse back to where he was kept, how about this?

They did not walk the runaway horse gently back to his multi story parking garage type stable. Nor did they call for a vehicle to transport him there as in other carriage horse accidents (the horse’s accommodation was assumed but not verified as being close by).

They saddled him up to be ridden back to his claustrophobic digs.  Perhaps this is what motivated our runaway horse to escape in the first place —  to taste a just bit of momentary freedom.

The above is a summation from what various news outlets are reporting in common on this story.

Horse Drawn Carriage Trade

There is nothing natural about the conditions carriage horses live and work in, particularly in cities like Manhattan. More often than not these conditions are mentally and physically cruel. What more do you need to know?

We love what one protester wrote on her placard a few years ago: “It’s 2014, Not 1814”.

Take Action

Contact Mayor DeBlasio whether you live in New York or not — but especially if you live there — and complain about carriage horse abuse and practices and challenge him to at long last fulfill his election campaign promise to ban it. No more excuses, such as in 2015 when DeBlasio blamed the NY City Council for his failure. Sorry Mr. Mayor. No sale.

Think about what you want to say and send the Mayor of New York City a letter, an online message or telephone his office to have your important say.

Contact Information

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Online message form.

Telephone number: 212-504-4115.

Just Like Oreo

How we wish a star like Jon Stewart would step in and save this runaway horse. This horse reminds us of former NYC carriage horse Oreo who also escaped,  but he ended up in greener pastures. Read about Oreo here.

Related Reading

Daily Mail; James Gordon, May 15, 2017.

Their Turn. See to learn more.

Group Protests Horse-Drawn Carriages Outside Gracie Mansion. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Carriage horse protesters march outside Neeson’s home

Carriage horse protestors picket the actor's home on in New York (WENN)
Carriage horse protestors picket the actor’s home on in New York (WENN)

Cross-posted from the New York Daily News

A herd of animal rights activists demonstrated outside the Upper West Side home of Liam Neeson Saturday, blasting the actor for his outspoken support of the carriage horse industry.

The roughly 60 protesters marched in front of Neeson’s condo carrying signs with pictures of dead horses and the words “worked to death” and “horses + traffic = death.”

Two of the demonstrators even donned full-body equine costumes in the hopes of confronting the actor.

“Liam Neeson has made the shameful choice to be the only celebrity voice on the side of the cruel, outdated horse carriages,” said Ashley Byrne, 36, a spokeswoman for PETA.

“Any New Yorker can see that this industry has been responsible for over a dozen accidents over the past few years alone.”

“It’s not safe and it’s not humane.”

See more >>

Next residents of a luxury building: Police Horses

 Police Officer Paul Anderson tending to Brooklyn at Pier 76, which the community has been eager for some time to have the Police Department vacate. Credit Michael Nagle for The New York Times
Police Officer Paul Anderson tending to Brooklyn at Pier 76, which the community has been eager for some time to have the Police Department vacate. Credit Michael Nagle for The New York Times.

Cross-posted from the New York Times

The newest residences at Mercedes House, a ziggurat of luxury rentals on Manhattan’s Far West Side, provide tenants with creature comforts found nowhere else in the city.

Special flooring soothes legs weary from a long day’s work. Ten-foot-high doors offer easy passage between spacious rooms. A high-tech ventilation system eliminates even the worst odors.

Most crucially, there’s a state-of-the-art hayloft.

“It’s definitely high-end accommodations,” said Deputy Inspector Barry Gelbman, commander of the New York Police Department’s mounted unit. “They’re some of the nicest stables I’ve ever seen.”

This summer, Inspector Gelbman will move the unit’s headquarters and a dozen of its horses and 20 officers into their new home on the ground floor of Mercedes House, which since 2011 has been home to about 1,000 humans. After a decade, the mounted unit is leaving behind its stables at Pier 76, now a part of Hudson River Park.

While there are a handful of stable-centric subdivisions in places like Colorado, Montana and Florida, Mercedes House appears to be the only corral in the United States located inside an apartment building.

Even in crowded Manhattan, it is an unusual arrangement.

Read full report >>