For Immediate Release
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages
Tel: 917. 940.2725

Calling for Decency and Public Safety, Horse Advocates Seek Carriage Ban

NEW YORK, NY – A coalition including Friends of Animals and others striving to ban horse-drawn carriages once again urges Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Council to pass legislation that would end the dangerous carriage horse industry in New York City.

The latest accident occurred on Friday, April 28th on Central Drive near 64th St. in Central Park: A frightened horse bolted into a 71-year-old bicyclist, who was hospitalized with injuries, as well as the driver of the carriage, who sustained an injured knee.

Occurring only three months after the tragic accident in January that severely injured a carriage driver and left a horse dead, the incident shows that public safety and decency are compromised by carriage horses in the streets.

Why ban horse-drawn vehicles in New York?

Many modern cities — Toronto, Paris, London, and others — have taken an enlightened approach, ending the tradition of animal-drawn vehicles. Animals do not belong in commercial activity that forces them to compete with heavy traffic or be exposed to harsh elements. These reasons apply as strongly in New York City as they do anywhere in the world.

Why not just allow animal-drawn carriages at Central Park?

John Phillips, Executive Director of League of Humane Voters, and a founding member of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, explains, “Central Park is filled with bicyclists, runners, children and pedestrians, in addition to cars and taxis-no place for carriage horses. We can’t wait for yet another tragedy to occur before the Mayor and City Council address this problem seriously.”

Horses travel to and from the stables located on 9th and 10th Avenues, between W. 37th and W. 52nd Streets. Keeping commercial horse activity adjacent to Central Park, as Council Member Tony Avella’s recently proposed legislation seeks to do, fails to acknowledge that horses would still travel this congested corridor — also a route for emergency vehicles to and from St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital and Roosevelt Hospital, and a conduit for many vehicles going to the Lincoln Tunnel or the West Side Highway. The horrific accident in January happened on this very route back to the stables from Central Park.

Avella’s legislation focuses on regulating the activity and not ending it. The historical urge to reform the horse-drawn carriage industry is a dangerous pattern.

Regulating the practice won’t stop public safety problems. And it seeks to sustain a disrespectful practice that needs to be ended.

The Coalition has drafted legislation to effectively phase out this industry and seeks to have current horses adopted to protect them from kill auctions.