Weekly updates about issues and actions concerning New York City's Carriage Horses

Current Issue - Past Issues

29 July 2007 - Vol. # 42

Volunteer ** Letters to the Editor ** Accident ** What You Can Do

next Saturday - August 4th
thirsty horseThe Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages needs volunteers to help get signatures on petitions to the Mayor and City Council -- and to hold posters. We are also asking passersby to participate in our post card campaign to Mayor Bloomberg. This is not a demonstration but an educational event. It is an excellent opportunity to help the horses and to see how supportive both tourists and New Yorkers are. You can volunteer for one hour or four. We need to know when you will be there so we are sure to have coverage. Please contact Teresa at if you can volunteer. WHEN: Saturday, August 4, 2007 WHERE: midtown - information will be given to volunteers. TIME: 1-5 PM. This picture was taken on a blistering hot day. Is he thirsty - after all, he does not have ready access to water -- or is his bit uncomfortable?

"Horse Abuse Not Romantic"
carriage horseThe following two letters were published in Metro on July 23rd in response to a recent article " Peta Wants Horses Off City Streets." Metro highlighted an excerpt from the second letter increasing the font so it was as large as a letter itself. "This is a classic case of an industry that needs government intervention - Rebecca Hellerstein on the horse-drawn carriage industry."

July 23, 2007 - The move to ban horse drawn carriages has been around for years, drawing fuel from yearly, horrifying accidents that occur. As far back as the early 1980's it was announced by the City Council that they received more correspondence in favor of a ban than correspondence having to do with any other issue. Yet, year after year, accident after accident the ban is dismissed, ignored and even mocked by the powers that be in NYC. The justification of abuse because it's a tourist attraction is ignorance at it's best, Tourists have expressed shock and horror at what these horses have to endure on our streets and in the stables. The justification of it because it's romantic?!? I don't know what kind of desperado finds romance in hideous living conditions for horses. - Susan Davis

July 23, 2007 - The City Council clearly needs to think seriously about whether to ban the carriage industry in New York. Many major cities in OECD have done so (Paris, Toronto, London) While horses have historically been an important mode of transportation, they do not belong in New York City in 2007, both for our health and theirs. For our health, their presence is traffic is dangerous: a number of accidents have occurred over the past year in which people were injured. As for their health, the average working life of a New York City carriage horse is only four years. They lead very hard lives. This is a classic case of an industry that needs government intervention, because horses are unable to advocate for themselves (unlike pedicab drivers for example.) For this and other reasons, the only realistic option is to ban the industry. - Rebecca Hellerstein

"Pity the Horses"
snow carriage - 2231kThe Chief -Leader is a weekly paper that deals with issues affecting employees of NYC governmental agencies. A recent article discussed how kitchen staff in schools work in very hot kitchens with no air conditioning and no temperature standards. The article compared the fact that there are regulations for carriage horses -- as if they had it so good.

July 27, 2007 - Regarding your recent article "School Kitchen Staff Frying" - by Meridith Kolodner -- I have great sympathy for the workers who toil in the kitchens serving lunches to children. It must be unbearable to work under such extreme temperature conditions and something should be done about it. However, your snide comments about temperature regulations for the NYC carriage horses - that by law they do not have to work when it is 90 or above - diminishes us as a hopefully evolved people. It suggests that the carriage horses are being treated like kings when the truth is very different.

horse on rampHave you ever been to their stables? They live in warehouses - their stalls accessed by steep ramps - and they are not air conditioned either. Besides what you do not realize is that horses do not do well in the heat - they can easily suffer heat stroke - they are much more susceptible than people. Horses are stuck between the shafts of their carriages for nine hours a day, seven days a week while they work pulling around cart loads of tourists. They are herd animals - yet they do not get to socialize with other horses. And they have no choice in this exploitation. Shall I compare that to city workers who have it better? Many horses end up slaughtered for the foreign dinner plate after a devoted career. Surely - city workers have it better here too.

The ethical and moral progress of this great city depends on how well we treat all living, sentient beings - animal and human. It does not help when we try to stir things up by making unfair and misguided comparisons. Elizabeth Forel - Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

this time Russia - one day, maybe New York City
little girl - accident - 1On Tuesday, July 24th, the St. Petersburg Times (Russia) reported that the five-year old daughter of the mayor of Sochi died after a horrific road accident involving one of the city's horse-drawn carriages. Sochi will be the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. On a heavily trafficked road, a car crashed into the back of the carriage and the little girl fell to the street. She was seriously injured and later died in the hospital.

This is the second reported accident this year involving horse-drawn carriages in which a little girl was killed. In February another five year old girl was thrown from her horse in a rodeo parade in Tucson, Arizona and trampled by a team of spooked carriage horses. She later died in the hospital.

what you can do
More pressure and more exposure is needed. Please continue to write a Letter to the Editor to the following media. Remember to always include your contact information - name, address, telephone and to keep the letter between 100 to 150 words. NYPost -; NYDaily News; Metro - AM-NY - (please note that although an AM-NY reporter was at the protest, nothing was published in the paper.) NY Times -, NY Newsday And don't forget to contact Mayor Bloomberg and your City Council member - even if you already have.

Also - check out these three blogs - two on the carriage horse issue - NY Times -and Carriage Horses NYC, and one on the ASPCA and humane law enforcement.

If you have not signed our online petition - please do so now and forward it to everyone you know. The petition is directed to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC Council and asks them to support a ban of the horse-drawn carriage industry.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."  - Edmund Burke

Thank you for caring about the horses, Elizabeth Forel - Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc. for the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages