Should Horse-Drawn Carriages Be Banned in New York City?

New York City Councilman Tony Avella recently proposed legislation to ban horse-drawn carriages after another death of a carriage horse in September and an audit by the New York City Comptroller that revealed mistreatment of horses (no shade or water on hack line; horses standing in puddles of water and waste; hot asphalt in summer, etc) and irregularities in birth certificates submitted by owners, leading the Comptroller to question whether horses are being double shifted or whether owners are using one license for multiple horses. A few weeks ago, carriage horse stable owner Cornelius Byrne was arrested for allegedly bribing an undercover investigator for overlooking 7 violations at his stables. One of these violations was for displaying the same license on two horses.

The ASPCA has changed its position on horse-drawn carriages and now supports a ban. It has been enforcing NYC regulations, and now feels that this industry can't be operated humanely in New York City.

14 Answers

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  • LJ
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think a compromise is in order.

    Years ago, the law allowed carriage horses in Central Park only. But then some wise guy decided it would be good for tourism to allow the carriage horses out on the City streets in traffic!!!

    Well, at least one horse has died (or has it been two? I forget now.) I think it is time to change the law. But not to ban carriage horses altogether. They should be allowed in the Park, and on the street on the southern border of the park. That's all.

    Allowing them in City traffic in the first place was nuts!!! But lets not ban them completely.

  • 1 decade ago

    YES - it should be banned. NYC needs to outlaw these dangerous contraptions and send the horses to a sanctuary. They do not belong on the crowded streets of NYC. They are dangerous both to the horses and to people. Anyone who advocates putting stables in the park or even allowing them to only work on Central Park South has not thought this through. For one thing - there are 220 horses - the space needed for proper sized stalls (which they do not have now) ; turnout (which they do not get now), carriage storage (which is on the 1st floor of existing stables while the horses are on the 2nd and 3rd fl) - and all the support facilities such as offices and storage is huge and certainly not something the City should subsidize. Besides, Central Park is a landmark and the Central Park Conservancy is against it. It is time to face reality and accept the fact that this corrupt, tacky, grimy industry has had a good run. It is time to shut them down and to move NYC into the 21st century.

  • 1 decade ago

    People are advocating keeping the horses in the park and on Central Park South. It's important to note that many of the accidents we know about (there probably are numerous others that aren't reported) have occurred in the park and on CPS--57% in 2006-07 and 31% between 1994-2007.

    Restricting the horses to the Park and CPS is still dangerous, and still subjects the horses to extreme conditions that can't be changed through regulations--extreme weather, hard pavement, loud noises and other phenomena that make them spook in park, traveling back and forth to stables through heavy traffic, confined between shafts of carriage for long hours and in small stalls in warehouses, high turnover of horses (avg 4 yrs) and exposure to killer buyers at auction, etc.

    This is simply an inhumane industry and restricting the horses to the park will not change that. If you are a concerned citizen or tourist, if you care for animals and stand against cruelty and violence, you must support this ban.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, of course, horse-drawn carriage operations should be banned. Whenever I've looked into the eyes of a carriage horse, they look so dead inside. Pulling around carriages is not fun for them. Plus, there is the exhaustion from the weather extremes. According to the ASPCA, on hot days, carriage operators wait for the humane law enforcement agents to leave, and then they came back out. There are also many traffic accidents involving carriage horses in the city. Traffic and horses just don't mix.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Absolutely, the time for the Ban was 30 years ago! Restricting horses to the Park will not solve either the public safety factor or the animal abuse factor. Horses can be spooked by even a slight unfamiliar sound which there are plenty of in the park, and numerous accidents have already occurred within the park. Bicycles, skate boards, rollerskates all have the potential to spook.

    I'm tired of seeing horses parked so that their hooves are in standing water which can cause all sorts of viruses that lead to lameness in a horse. Most New Yorkers walk miles out of their way to avoid witnessing the daily abuse of the horses. The NYC environment is abusive to the horses, and keeping them in the park just makes it a hidden crime. The recent NYC audit proves that the horses are not cared for properly. I challenge everyone who wants a compromise to go visit a horse stable unexpectedly, they are horrendous, the horses in some of them can't even turn around. You won't want a compromise after seeing that, i promise you!

  • 1 decade ago

    Some say it's "romantic"...I say, 'how can you sit back and enjoy the suffering of another living being'? Some say it's "tradition" Albert Schweitzer said, "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies." -

    Horses should NOT be hooked to carriages all day REGARDLESS of whether they are in the streets or just confined to the Park. The dangers of the streets are not the only issues...even if they were just confined to the park they would still be abused, overwoorked, kept in poor conditions, etc. Then when they can no longer work they are sold to SLAUGHTER...do not listen to the lies the stable owners tell you...they are making $$$ on the backs of these animals and have reason to lie to the public.

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer ~

    If the screams and moans of the animals used to provide for us could be heard, the sound would be deafening. If their misery and suffering could be felt by us, it would be unbearable.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, Ban this needless and cruel industry. It's healthier to walk. Central Park today is not the same as it was in the 19th century Central Park with its gamefields, concert arenas, railings, playgrounds and roadways is unsuitable for these carriages.

    Why must New Yorkers continue to subsidize this cash base industry. This industry is cash based and adds no revenue to NYC. In addition, NYC bears the costs of enforcement and the liability if a person is injured in these " accidents".

    In response to it's tradition/heritage, slavery was once a heritage/tradition. Ban the horse drawn carriages off NYC. Chose humanity over inhumanity, right over wrong. Chose public betterment over corruption.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, absolutely.

    Some of the answers here are advocating keeping the horses in the park and on Central Park South. It's important to note that many of the accidents we know about (there probably are numerous others that aren't reported) have occurred in the park and on CPS--57% in 2006-07 and 31% between 1994-2007.

    If you talk with the artists who draws portraits of tourists near the hack line, they will tell you about how they have seen many incidents that are not reported whether traffic accidents or horses collapsing in the summer from heat exhaustion. The accidents we know about are only the tip of the iceberg.

    Restricting the horses to the Park and CPS is still dangerous, and still subjects the horses to extreme conditions that can't be changed through regulations--extreme weather, hard pavement, loud noises and other phenomena that make them spook in park, traveling back and forth to stables through heavy traffic, confined between shafts of carriage for long hours and in small stalls in warehouses. The very high turnover of horses in the industry speaks to this hard life they are subjected to. After their four years, they are sent to New Holland auctions, where they are most often purchased by killer buyers, who ship them to slaughter houses (for European consumers, who like to eat horse meat), these days in Mexico as they have been shut down in the U.S. It has been documented in industry publications that NYC carriage industry is the main supplier of carriage horses to the slaughter industry.

    These facts seem incredible, because they are so awful. But they are true. If the carriage horse industry retired its horses to farms outside the city, there should be hundreds of retired horses we should be able to go see.

    I grew up with horses -- my grandmother had a farm. The horses I see on the hack lines look tired, often frightened, and generally maladjusted. It is no wonder that they routinely bolt and cause traffic accidents. We've seen 4 this year, I believe? And I've personally seen the horses treated quite poorly -- out on dangerous, slushy streets, discplined too harshly by their drivers, and so on.

    Compromise just won't work in this industry -- The horses don't belong in the city in 2007. I honestly don't understand why tourists think of these rides as romantic, or iconic, but perhaps they could walk. Young boys used as chimney sweepers were iconic in NYC too in the 19th century (and no doubt cute in their day). Should we bring them back too, to fulfil our sentimental fantasies?

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I knew of a carriage driver years back. He LOVED his horse....took care of it, fed it and made sure the horse was safe. The only place outside of Central Park he would travel with his horse was the Plaza Hotel (across the street from Central Park). He didn't want to venture onto actual streets, even if people wanted him to because he knew the traffic was that bad to startle the horse.

    Before there were cars, people rode on horses. Before the train, mail was delivered via the "Pony Express". Horses have pulled carriages for the longest time...taking travelers all over.

    I am NOT for the mistreatment of horses and if these horses were getting abused by their owners, then by all means these owners should have their licenses revoked. However I am also not for these horses to pull carriages on busy city streets.

    I say leave the horse drawn carriages to Central Park only. Besides, if people want to go around the city on a "carriage", they now have TONS of bikers doing that (and it seems like MORE of them have popped up around Midtown.....makes me wonder where the push of the ban on horse and carriages is really coming from......)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They could be used just to go through the parks instead of the busy city streets.

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