Let’s End Carriage Horse Rides in New York City

Thursday, January 2, 2014 - 1:30pm
NYC Carriage Horse

By ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker

On December 30, then-Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio unequivocally reaffirmed his stance against the use of carriage horses in New York City.

“We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape,” he said. “They are not humane, they are not appropriate for the year 2014. It's over. So, just watch us do it.”

As an organization that’s fought for humane treatment of horses since our founding in 1866, we share the mayor’s philosophy that no economic counter-argument stands up to the sheer ridiculousness of this antiquated tradition. New York simply has a higher standard.

So we’re doing our part by joining the mayor’s call, standing with partners like NYCLASS, and counteracting deep troughs of misinformation with expert veterinary and animal relocation expertise. We stand ready to tap into our network of rescue partners to secure potential homes for the horses— facilities and people willing and able to open their hearts and homes to these animals.

Are there legitimate concerns about lost jobs? Absolutely. We share those concerns and encourage new ideas to address them. But using fear over facts to sway this debate is as irresponsible as suggesting strained carriage horses can be compensated with “vacation time.”

This is a conversation the city needs to have. But it needs to be placed in a context of hard truth, not hyperbolic bias. New Yorkers deserve that. And so do the animals with whom we share the city.

We applaud efforts clearly in motion to take these horses off city streets, pushing both them and New York itself into a more civilized future that need not be feared.

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Wonderful and so humane of the Mayor, Bill De Blasio. I want to personally thank him for his kind heart and wonderfully humane decision.

lee federico nykaza

Is Bill going to contribute to the care of one of these horses.....that would be humane.

Rita Ross

Are you going to contribute anything? And just what have you done for carriage horses? He has done more than any other Mayor to remove carriage horses so why the sarcasm?

Betty Benson

Good for you Rita! It's the most humane thing that anyone could have done. Those horses are forced to breathe in toxic exhaust fumes every minute they are "working", never mind being labored to exhaustion daily. An animal as magnificent as the horse was not meant to be pulling overloaded carriages around amidst city traffic.


Agreed! This is a gross practice and as a life long citizen on NYC and at one time Charleston, SC where these horses are being used...this is the BEST thing that could happen!

Cafe Bustela

I have lived in SC all my life, about 1 1/2 drive to Charleston. I have or will I never ridden in one of those carriages! I always thought it was ridiculous. You know our summer time is horrible here and I have been in Charleston when the temperature was over 100* plus humidity and I felt sorry for horses pulling those huge carriages with all these people on them. I have often called out to the drivers and said 'mean' things to them. They would stop their little speeches to the people on the carriages and look at me like I was crazy! But you know what, I didn't care!
They are the idiots out there do this stupid crap!


I'm with you ladies. The poor animals in New Orleans have to work in awful heat and humidity every day too. They also get to suck exhaust fumes daily. Hopefully New Orleans will be the next one to follow suit.


The carriage horses in New Orleans drowned in their stalls during Hurricane Katrina. No one tried to get them out - they were trapped.


That's horrible and very sad. That knowledge and that image will now never leave me. Katrina was a heartbreak for thousands of people and certainly for thousands of animals, as well. There should have been a contingency plan to get the horses to higher ground or to free them. Leaving them to die trapped in their stalls is unbelievably cruel. Pets were left chained in backyards or confined inside houses, but many people tried to save their pets. People who were rescued were forced to leave their animals behind, in most cases never to connect with them again. As though the victims of Katrina hadn't already lost enough!

I would donate generously to rescue efforts for the carriage horses. There are also horse rescuers in my area of PA who I'm sure would get involved.


I am 100% opposed to horses being used for carriage rides in any city. However, this post is inaccurate. Carriage horses, mules and animals were rescued by good people in the days following Hurricane Katrina. Most unfortunately, there were deaths of animals and humans. But it is inflammatory to imply what this poster said.