Historic Senate Bill Lauded by Friends of Animals

horse carriage

For Immediate Release
Contact: Edita Birnkrant, NY Director, Friends of Animals, Cell: 917.940.2725; Office: 212.247.8120 Email

New York City-More than 200 horses are forced to pull carriages and tourists in New York City, but that could be stopped by a bill introduced by New York Senator Tony Avella.

“Senator Avella has taken this initiative to the state level,” said Edita Birnkrant, New York director of Friends of Animals. “We laud this step to make New York City a travel destination with safety and fairness in mind for all.”

Bill S5013 would amend New York City’s administrative code to prohibit horse-drawn cabs. It would also prevent current carriage horses from being sold off to killer buyers.

Last summer, Friends of Animals facilitated the rescue of Bobby, a New York City carriage horse, from a slaughter auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania.

“Advocates can’t spot and rescue every industry-worn horse,” said Birnkrant. “Thank goodness Bobby is safe. But only a ban will end the cycle.”

Senator Tony Avella (D), representing the 11th New York State Senate district, served on the New York City Council until 2009, and supported the effort to ban horse-drawn carriages consistently. The senator worked closely with Friends of Animals to create the landmark ban bill introduced into the Council in 2007.

New Yorkers have seen several horrific accidents involving frightened horses.

In September 2007 a 12-yr old mare named Smoothie, left unattended, bolted; one of her legs became entangled in a carriage wheel as she crashed into a tree, went into shock and died. In 2009, an accident at Central Park ended in hospitalizations of a cab driver and a carriage driver. Motorcyclists and pedestrians have been hit, sustaining bone breaks. Cars have been smashed. Buggies have tumbled. Horses have broken free and run through the streets of Manhattan. From time to time the media announce deaths of horses: Nickels, Spotty, Juliet; the list goes on. A horse called Jackie was shocked to death by an electrical line in the rain.

“Not a single one of these tragedies needed to happen,” said Birnkrant. “New York City is a lovely place for walking. For tourists wanting to take a ride, pedicabs offer tours through Central Park.”

Staff, members and supporters of Friends of Animals work with legislators, hold rallies and press conferences, and offer public outreach and education to stop the practice of using horse-drawn vehicles in several cities in the United States and Canada.