New York Carriage Horse Industry Investigation
Last Chance for Animals investigated the New York City carriage horse industry and exposed routine violations of the laws and regulations that protect both horses and people. The undercover video, narrated by Emmy award-winning actress Edie Falco, reveals carriage horses operating in dangerous traffic conditions, deprived of access to water, and forced to work while injured.
Press: CLICK HERE for B-Roll
LCA’s undercover footage reveals:
- Drivers making U-turns the wrong way down one-way streets and running red lights
- Horses left unattended and untethered on the “hack line” surrounding Central Park – even while small children are present
- Horses tethered on short leads in their stalls at night, preventing them from reaching food and water and/or lying down
- One driver refusing to let his horse access water during a ride when the city temperature was above 80 degrees
- One horse who was limping forced to pull his carriage back to the stables, then put back to work without veterinary examination
LCA has filed complaints with the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, Department of Transportation, Department of Consumer Affairs and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, all of which are responsible for enforcing New York City's carriage horse laws and regulations.
Dr. Holly Cheever, DVM and Vice President of the New York State Humane Association, reviewed the investigation video and concluded, “LCA’s analysis of New York’s carriage horse trade as detailed in its petition is completely accurate in its discussion of the hazards, cruelty, and the many violations of NYC Codes and Rules. Given the overall condition of the animals, quality of the ancient stabling, and hazards of their urban lives makes this tourist industry inherently cruel, in my professional opinion.”
Carriage Horse Injuries and Fatalities
Since 2009, there have been over 30 documented incidents of horse carriage-related accidents in New York City, including serious injuries sustained by drivers, horses, customers, and passers-by. These include a child falling out of a carriage and 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 of these 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
During his 2013 election campaign, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to finally end the cruel carriage horse industry. Intro 573, a proposed ban on horse-drawn carriages, was introduced in December 2014 but 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 scheduled 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 urge them to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC.
- 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.
CLICK HERE to learn more about LCA’s ongoing campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City.