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ASPCA and NYCLASS Issue Statement Opposing Intro. 35

City Council Set to Vote on Bill that Fails to Significantly Improve Working Conditions for New York City’s Carriage Horses
April 14, 2010

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal®) and NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets) today issued the following statement after learning that the New York City Council will pass Intro. 35, which would result in a fare increase for drivers.

"The ASPCA does not support Intro. 35 in its current version," said Ed Sayres, President and CEO of the ASPCA.  "We are disappointed that the City Council did not include the amendments we submitted this session, which would have improved the living and working conditions for the City's carriage horses.  Passage of this bill conferring a fare increase without more provisions that favor the horses and offer improved safety for the drivers and passengers may eliminate the opportunity for securing such improvements, since the industry's motivation to bargain in good faith will evaporate once it has achieved its principal goal—increased financial benefit for the drivers and owners."

The ASPCA, alongside NYCLASS, submitted amendments to Intro. 35, which would have put it more in line with proposed regulation changes that were being considered by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).  Amendments were proposed that would have made a difference in the lives of horses and improved human safety—none of which are contained in Intro. 35—including: requiring that stables are equipped with operational sprinkler systems, mandating that all carriage horse drivers have valid New York State driver's licenses, and restricting the use of cell phones and other distracting devices that interfere with the driver's ability to safely operate the carriage and handle the carriage horse.

"Intro. 35 fails to address serious quality of life issues, improve human and equine safety conditions, or enhance the integrity of the horse carriage industry. Unfortunately, all this bill does is reward bad behavior – the horse carriage industry's countless violation of laws and regulations, the overcharging of customers, and the inhumane treatment of the horses. It is for these reasons that NYCLASS opposes Intro. 35," noted NYCLASS Executive Director Laura Eldridge.

The ASPCA and NYCLASS support Intro. 86, Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito's legislation to phase out carriage horses in New York City, replacing horse drawn carriages with environmentally-friendly horseless carriages.

"The legacy of responsibility to the plight of horses working in an urban environment is one the ASPCA continues to take extremely seriously to this day," said Sayres. "We will continue to work for change to improve the health, welfare, and safety of these noble animals."