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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These animals were not "given" to us. They grew on this earth right alongside us, but like everything else in the natural world, we've seen fit to subdue, pillage and destroy them for the most paltry of reasons (and yes, subjecting these horses to hours of inhaling carbon monoxide fumes so that people can ride in a carriage for no other purpose than their own entertainment is paltry). And that's not even addressing the stresses put on these horses' legs from working them on pavement. If you think that a loving and protective god "gave" us these animals to treat like that, then I'm sorry for you. These animals *are* being abused, and it isn't our right to do so. It *is* our duty to put an end to it.

Peter Hession

People had the same view on other races. Called slavery. Accept change Mary.


Your so right. They gave suffered long enough.


The Amish are some of the worst animal abusers in the country, not to mention proprietors of multitudes of horrendous puppy mills. They treat their horses and dogs as "livestock". When their usefulness is gone, they are simply taken out back and gunned down.


And you think this is okay for the Amish to use carriages for their mode of transporation because they will not drive automobiles? While they whip their very lean horses down the highway, as they talk on cell phones. Do you think these Horses are treated with kindness? I don't.


I am so glad to see so many people feeling the same way I do about the poor horses. They suffer everyday they have inhale the exhaust from the city and I hope where I live, Seattle, they will do the same thing.

Veronica Dickey

Esther I just want you to know that if you sign petitions, write letters, make calls and even visit your local representatives, those actions are much more beneficial than a large donation, so do not worry nor apologize for making a small donation. And wow what a victory that NYC is ending the cruel horse carriage rides!


I am all in favor of retiring these city horses. but what will really become of them? how many will be sent to slaughter because they can't be placed.

ASPCA Moderator

We are ready to tap into our network of sanctuaries to find homes for any horse in need.


Thank you, Esther. Let's hope that New York will lead the change that is long overdue and remove much unneccessary suffering in the animal world - where the amount of suffering is unthinkable.