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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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Shawn S

Indeed wild animals should be free. We domesticated dogs, horses, cats as well as cows, sheep and pigs to suit specific wants or needs. To group domestic dogs with other wild animals is just plain ridiculous. That's why people shouldn't have wolves as pets and why we shouldn't let all of the worlds pomeranians run free in the woods. We have domesticated certain animals and it's now our obligation to treat them with respect but that does not mean no horse should pull a carriage. We're actually going to argue about how these horses breath exaust fumes? What about people breathing exaust fumes and dealing with traffic every day? I'm fine with ending the NYC carriage rides but it's a slippery slope to say animals should no longer work for humans at all. After all if we all rode horses there wouldn't be any exaust fumes.


Amen, Shawn!


Shawn, your comment about people who breathe fumes and deal with traffic every day shows that you really don't get why organizations like the ASPCA are needed. Humans CHOOSE to expose themselves to those health hazards and dangers. A person, at any time can say, "I don't want to deal with this so I'll move" Animals cannot do this. They will suffer endless abuses because THEY HAVE NO CHOICE.

Geneva Coats



Hi Mary, I do agree with you that animals were made to work and to serve as food for us, even. I do love when I see a horse, or any other animal thriving out there in the wild, or in the hands of those humans who love and care for them. However, there is a big difference between putting an animal to work without any regard for that animals well being and yes, while it is true that animals are made with a purpose, Deuteronomy 25; 4 also says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, which in few words is saying, yes, put the animal to work, put don't cover his mouth, so that he may eat. However, that is sadly not always the case, in many parts of the world, not only horses are being over worked and many times cruelly and inhumanely being underfed, or in many cases, starved to death, but suffer unspeakable cruelly at the hands of monsters walking this earth. The dancing bears in the middle east, is just one fine example of this unspeakable cruelty. That is what i will die fighting to prevent.


Serve as food for us? Esther, you're even more primitive than Mary.


Genesis 9;1-3 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

However, that doesn't give mankind the right to neglect, horrify and abuse these innocent animals. They are already serving a multi-purpose and paying a high price for us selfish humans who are too self- centered, spoiled and who don't deserve Gods kindness.

Peter Hession

Ok that's a reference to a book written by drunk guys. This has nothing to do with any god. This is about horses not unicorns.

Janet S.

Good for you, Esther. I respect you for your commitment to the bears. I hope it won't stop there.

Donna Lober

"Oh Please" yourself, Mary C.!!! I just hate when some idiot comes along and disputes or otherwise down plays the efforts put forth by decent people to minimize mistreatment of animals! Knock it off 'please'!! You are not thinking clearly here!!