Updated January 2013
A Chronology and Highlights of the
Issue and our Accomplishments
2006 - The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages was formed in 2006 in response to a tragic accident that occurred at the beginning of the year on January 2nd, when a five-year old horse named Spotty spooked and bolted on his way back to his stable. This occurred on 9th Ave. and 50th St. After crashing into a station wagon and wrapping himself over the top, Spotty was so badly injured that he had to be euthanized. Against the advice of many – because they knew how politically protected this industry was - we decided to campaign for a shut-down of this trade. Proposals for “improvements” had always ignored. It was the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages that brought this issue to the public after years of non-activity and disinterest. We created an issue - a campaign - where none had existed since 1995.
The Coalition is a standing committee of The Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc., which was incorporated in 1995 as a 501-c-(4). This is currently the only issue in which we are involved.
2005 - There had been no activity on this issue for many years. In the fall of 2005, the carriage trade sponsored legislation that would ban the burgeoning pedicab industry in NYC. We reached out to the Council Members who had signed on as sponsors and they removed their name. The bill failed.
2006 - we requested that the Comptroller’s office do a performance audit of the agencies that oversee the carriage trade. An audit of the Department of Health and Department of Consumer Affairs was completed in 2007 but it had not been made public or put on their web site. Click here. When we learned of this, we reached out to Glen Collins of the NY times and he wrote an article entitled Audit Faults City on Care of Carriage Horses. Things began to look up.
2006 - In September 2006, we issued our first weekly e-newsletter Horse Sense, covering the NYC carriage horse issue. This is a link to the archives.
Our web site - www.banhdc.org - has a wealth of information on this topic, including current regulations, audits, investigations, accidents, published letters and articles.
2006-2007 We continued to table near the hack line, educating tourists about the inhumane trade and gathering signatures on a petition for a ban of the business, knowing that legislation was the only way it would happen. We had to educate the public, legislators and even activists about why this business should be shut down. Getting numbers on petitions would show support. We ended up with over 70,000 signatures from all over the United States and Europe. We reached out to many Council Members looking for someone to sponsor legislation to ban this inhumane and unsafe business. We also began an extensive post card campaign to Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn
2007 - In September of 2007, Smoothie, a 12 year old mare, was spooked at the hack line and bolted frantically into a tree. She died on the spot. This was the third horse who had publicly died in two years. In 2006, Spotty had died in January and Juliet had died in September.
2007 - After Smoothie died, former Council Member Tony Avella introduced the historic, first ever bill to ban the industry. The bill was introduced at the end of 2007. A press conference at City Hall drew over 100 supporters. 2007 - Blinders: the Truth Behind the Tradition, an award winning documentary of the carriage horse trade in NYC was released. The Coalition members and Elizabeth Forel played a big part, carrying the issues narrative to the end.
2008 included much lobbying of City Council members to sign on to the bill, called Intro 658. While some courageously did, many did not because of opposition from Council Speaker Christine Quinn. One Council Member’s Chief of Staff told us that to oppose Speaker Quinn would be political suicide.
2008 - We formed an international coalition called Horses Without Carriages International.
2009 - In January there was a council hearing of both Intro 658 and 653 – the industry bill, which would give rate increases. Click here for testimony.
2009 - May 11, 2009, Elizabeth Forel/President of the Coalition participated in a panel at the NYC Bar Association’s committee on Legal Issues Pertaining to Animals called “Yay or Neigh: Should the carriage industry be banned in NYC.” Click here for Forel’s presentation.
2010 - Because of term limits, Council Member Tony Avella left the Council and the bill died. However, when he became a state Senator, in 2010, he introduced a similar bill in the state senate with Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal in the state Assembly.
2010 - The Department of Health & Mental Hygiene held a public hearing on March 3, to hear comments on their recommended changes to existing regulations concerning carriage horses. This concerned Chapter 4 of the Commissioner's Regulations and Health Code Article 161. Click here for public testimony. Unfortunately, the DoH rescinded their proposed regulations because of pressure from the carriage industry.
2010 - March 12 - the City Council held a hearing on Intro 86 and industry bill Intro 35A and. Click here for testimony.
2010 - In June, we identified a horse at the New Holland auctions as being a NYC carriage horse and along with Equine Advocates rescued him. His name is now Bobby II Freedom and is living the good live at their sanctuary in Chatham, NY. The NY Times, along with other publications covered the story - For A Former Carriage Horse, a Grassy Sanctuary.
as of 2013 - Elizabeth Forel, has written many articles and letters to the editor, which have been published in a variety of media. This includes two op-eds in the Daily News. Her favorite is A Horse of a Different Color: Carriage Horses are Neither War Horses nor Work Horses - published in One Green Planet. Forel has also spoken at schools and conferences including Cardozo School of Law; Anti Fur Society conference; Equine Welfare Alliance conference and the NYC Bar Association. She has also been interviewed on several radio and TV shows including, NY 1, Sonstein Sunday and Pure Imagination,.
as of 2013 - Coalition members have generated and been interviewed for many media news stories. Jane Velez Mitchell highlighted the Coalition on her 2010 show with Senator Tony Avella.
The Coalition has a Youtube channel BANHDC with many videos filmed and edited by Coalition members and also other videos on the issue.
The Coalition has a blog called Carriage Horses NYC.
The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is an
entirely volunteer, grass roots organization. No
salaries are paid and all donations received go toward educational materials such as printing costs for flyers and reports, advertising,, posters, our weekly newsletter Horse Sense and our web site. Our ongoing campaign is to publicize
the plight of NYC carriage horses and to promote legislation to ban this industry.
Our volunteers consist of people from all walks of life. Some have a background in animal activism; for others, it was the first time they got involved with animal issues. But what we all have in common is compassion for the carriage horses and the hope that this cruel industry will come to an end.
Our advisors consist of a number of horse experts, rescuers,. equine veterinarians and equine welfare orgnaizations. For security reasons and for their protection, we do not list their names.
A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.
The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025
Bobby II Freedom
former NYC carriage horse previously known as Billy ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.