Cheers to the municipality of Cozumel, Mexico, which on Sept. 23 unveiled its first electric carriage to replace horse-drawn versions. Cozumel banned horse-drawn carriages in 2019, just two years after Guadalajara, Mexico, said goodbye to them in favor of horseless electric rides for the tourist trade.
NYC carriage horse owners and the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents the drivers, can no longer make the case that there is no business model for electric horseless carriages. Guadalajara provides a successful model in action.
Friends of Animals believes the new, proposed legislation—Intro 573—introduced by NYC council member Robert Holden that would replace carriage horses with horseless electric carriages needs to be fleshed out but could be a win-win for horses and the industry. And it’s the only thing that would bring some justice for Ryder and all the other carriage horses being exploited.
Anyone who saw the Aug. 10 video of the aged and injured Ryder being beaten can see that driver Ian McKeever violated New York’s cruelty to animals’ statute—N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 353. It clearly defines a criminal as any person who overdrives, overloads, tortures or cruelly beats or unjustifiably injures, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to himself or to another, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink, or neglects or refuses to furnish it such sustenance or drink.
Everyone—from carriage horse drivers and owners to animal advocates and horse lovers—should find this blatant animal abuse shameful.
Ryder’s owner Colm McKeever faced charges at a Dept. of Health administrative hearing on Sept. 23 for falsifying birth records and trying to pass Ryder off as 13 years old. A veterinarian who examined Ryder after his fall determined he was around 26 years old, too old to be licensed as a carriage horse in New York City. The penalty is a paltry $1,000 fine.
As far as driver McKeever, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is still reviewing the incident.
When Guadalajara transitioned to electric horseless carriages, the first city in the world to do so, the mayor said at the time: “We cannot continue to mistake the idea of tradition with animal abuse. That no longer has a place in Guadalajara; we’ve put a stop to it today.”
Friends of Animals couldn’t agree more. We’d love to see Mayor Eric Adams say the same about NYC.