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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In case you have forgotten, in America if you abuse-you lose!!

Equine Educated...

I also agree, horses are green...and we should revolutionalize a tradition and industry that has been going on for centuries....rather then just put an abrubt stop to it. Horse rescues are over populated and turning horses, that are in much more dyer need away, daily... and especially since the horse slaughter plants closed, which actually put the horse to a quick, useful death, instead people who cannot afford or take care of horses, are turning them out into fields, state parks, dropping them off into the woods, to fend for themselves... instead of allowing them to serve a true purpose, food or fertilizer, they are dying slow, starving, and suffering deaths....due to the "animal advocates" saying that they are pets.... instead of livestock.... I'm appalled yet again at ASPCA and their empty unthoughtout causes - to actually orchestrate more harm then good.... ignorance.... closing slaughter plants was one of the worst things that could of happened to the horse industry, killing the dollar value of the horses that are left, killing the recreational cost due to over population of unwanted horses, the rising cost of hay, the economical lost in real estate.... its all killed the hopes and dreams of those who have studied, and have legitimate educations in the Equine Industry, and hold Degrees in this field?!! At least when the plants were open, a horse could go through a quick death, and be used for a good purpose, like food, or fertilizer..., we used to get our frozen legs and hooves for farrier science classes, to use for educational purposes.... from the plants... everyone wants to protect the pets, and stop animal cruelty, but you are creating more harm then good..... as for the horses in New York, one of the most magical horse drawn carriage scenes in the world, spend your time and energy changing the care for these horses, and the industry, instead of putting a death to something a child, I remember going to New York at Christmas, watching the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, and getting to take a carriage ride - one of the most magical times of my life, and probably one of the memories that drove me to be so impressed and amazed by the horse......and want to be involved with horses for the rest of my life, college, career, passionate about the animal and their Total Well Being.... so until you are one of the people that is adopting these creatures.... you are physically involved in this "relocation".... you are ignorant to what Really happens, and what you are really doing, being behind the "cause"....

ASPCA Moderator

No one is confiscating the horses. If the ban is enacted, we will work to find homes for any horse in need. 

Judith G.

It states that homes and rescues will be working to take these horses. I don't see the slaughter thing happening. If you want to question the slaughtering of horses, contact AQHA (American Quarter Horse Assn.) They totally support it! Go figure.


The article does mention securing homes for the horses

patlukes the article Shoppegirl. You intimation is that life on the streets is better than slaughter...I say it's very life at all.

I hope this decision happens fast and the magnificent beings can live a great life in a sanctuary.


Shoppegirl, you have a point. After all, I often donate to organizations who care for abandoned, mistreated and abused horses, and who many times, take on more than they can chew; that's not saying that their heart isn't in the right place, however, because of this well known fact, these animals do still suffer the consequences. I strongly feel the government needs to step up to the plate and regulate some of these organizations doing these kinds of things. For instance, have a limit on the horses they take in and are going to be able to care for. I think the next step would be for those who can, to volunteer to take in as many as they can afford. What ever it takes, but we need to pull together to end horse slaughter. It's a difficult situation, but governments have the solutions in their hands to do something about it. The problem is that every thing takes money and when you hit them for it, all sudden, money can't be allocated because let's face it, horses are second class citizens and who cares for these animals anyway, is their thought; really, if it wasn't for regular folks like you and I and the wonderful organization who are at the forefront, these animals wouldn't stand a chance.

Sue K

It's obvious you would rather just make a comment before finding out all the facts, which is a problem with much of the social media & bloggers today. So hopefully the next time you decide to make a comment - you have ALL the homework done before your fingers decide to type such a ridiculous comment.


Well, the only thing I do know is that animals all around the world are suffering unspeakable cruelly at the hands of greedy, selfish individuals and giant evil corporations who their only interest is to make a buck, if it means legalizing and operating horse slaughter companies to cater to Europeans. How about that for a fact? All things aside, we need to cut out the sarcasm, I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I will continue to fight for animal rights. For crying out loud, put them to work, do what ever you want with them in a responsible way. Have compassion, treat them with respect, love and dignity. They share the earth with us because God put them here. So, they have the God given right to live a dignifying life and for humans to respect, love and care for them. This is not what is happening; who has the solution, GOD, because humans are way too thoughtless, self serving, cruel and vicious.

ASPCA Moderator

The ASPCA has voluntarily performed enforcement of the carriage horse regulations for decades, and our work has been carried out with objectivity and always within the bounds of applicable law. Simultaneously, we fight for more ideal conditions. 

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