Last Chance for Animals is working to end the cruel horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City, in which horses live in misery, monotony and pain. Forced to work nine hours a day, seven days a week in extreme weather conditions, the horses live a dismal nose-to-tailpipe existence until they are “retired” and sold off at auction – and often sent to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.
LCA undercover investigators documented the sad reality that NYC horses endure every day, and revealed horses deprived of food and water, made to pull carriages while obviously in pain, and tethered so tightly in their stalls at night they could not lie down. See the full investigation results here.
Emmy-award winning actress Edie Falco stars in a public service announcements from LCA condemning New York City’s cruel carriage horse industry and urging the passage of a ban on horse-drawn carriages. Versions of the PSA ran on major cable news networks – including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC – throughout the five boroughs of NYC following the investigation release.
The carriage industry isn't just cruel; it threatens the safety of New Yorkers and tourists alike.
Since 2009, there have been over 30 documented horse carriage-related accidents in NYC, causing serious injuries to drivers, horses, customers, and passers-by. These include a child falling out of a carriage and getting run over by the wheel, a horse collapsing and dying in the street, and numerous cases of carriage drivers fleeing the scenes of accidents. Many hit-and-run carriage drivers are never identified, and thus never held accountable.
In St. Petersburg, Russia in 2007, five-year-old Valeriya Kolodyazhnaya – the daughter of the mayor of Sochi – was killed in a horrific horse-drawn carriage accident. A car collided with the carriage, causing Valeriya to fall onto the road; she was admitted to the hospital with severe injuries, and later died.
Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages in NYC
At the request of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio – who promised on the campaign trail to end the archaic carriage horse industry – the New York City Council proposed a bill in December, 2014 to ban horse-drawn carriages (Intro 573). Most council members were initially supportive, but many changed their stance and grew undecided.
To push for the ban, LCA ran a hard-hittingcampaign targeting City Hall.
The above billboard was strategically placed right between City Hall and the council offices to remind city officials every day of their duty to make the streets of NYC safe – for people and for horses. This educational billboard was taken down due to an unfair policy banning political advertising on Metropolitan Transit Authority property.
LCA and NYClass also placed bus stop posters in key districts to target specific council members:
Wendie Malick joined in the fight by starring in this LCA PSA against the NYC horse-carriage industry:
There are 51 members of New York City Council, and 26 votes were needed to pass the carriage ban. We had support from the key leaders – the mayor, speaker and committee chair. But many council members remained on the fence and Intro 573 never made it to a City Council vote in its original form.
In January 2016, Mayor de Blasio introduced a new, weaker version of the bill -- Intro 573B.
Intro 573B would:
- Reduce the number of NYC horse licenses from approximately 180 to 95
- Retire more than half the horses
- Remove horse-drawn carriages from the streets, only allowing them to operate in Central Park
- Guarantee that no horse is sold for slaughter
- Move all stables from their current location in Hell's Kitchen to Central Park
- Require larger stalls and a paddock for turnout
It is a shame that the powers that be and City Council could not take the major step of abolishing the trade altogether. Still, Intro 573B is a step in the right direction.
NYC City Council was sheduled to vote on Intro 573B on Friday, February 5th, 2016; however, the vote was cancelled and is delayed until further notice.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- CLICK HERE to find your council member and let them know you support the passage of Intro 573B.
- Wherever you live, CLICK HERE to contact New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and urge him to keep up the fight against horse-drawn carriages.
LCA will continue working to protect the horses and people of New York City until a ban on horse-drawn carriages is finally passed.