ASPCA, NYCLASS Issue Statement on Future Closing of Carriage Horse Stables

Officials Say Alternative to Antiquated Industry is “Past Due”
November 4, 2009

NEW YORK—The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets) issued the following statements after learning of the impending shut-down of some carriage horse stables to make room for affordable housing:

“We have said time and time again that neither the New York City environment nor current law provides carriage horses with the fundamental necessities to ensure their safety and well being, and this latest development further underscores the limitations that 21st century New York City has to offer such an antiquated industry,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres.

“The use of carriage horses in New York City is not only a safety hazard to city residents, tourists, pedestrians, motorists and the horses themselves, but horses must often work seven days a week in heavily congested traffic and extreme temperatures.

“It’s time for New Yorkers to demand an alternative to carriage horses, specifically “green” (eco-friendly) replicas of antique cars—a proposal that would also keep carriage drivers from losing their jobs,” added Jared Rosen, Executive Director of NYCLASS. “Housing such vehicles in New York City would be easier and less expensive than providing lodging for horses, which also requires storage for hay, feed, carriages and other equipment. Vehicles don’t require the kind of maintenance that a horse does, and they would not have to be kept close to Central Park.

“Presently, the carriage horses inhabit prime real estate that could be used for more affordable housing for people, which the city desperately needs,” Rosen continued.

The ASPCA and NYCLASS lauded the recent Comptroller’s Follow-Up Audit Report on the Licensing and Oversight of the Carriage-Horse Industry, which detailed numerous infractions and violations on behalf of the industry as well as poor oversight on behalf of the City’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH).

“The ASPCA, a privately-funded agency, continues to voluntarily—and at its own expense—do the city’s job, monitoring activity and enforcing the regulations that govern horses’ housing, care and welfare,” Sayres said. “The city’s taxpayers (knowingly or unknowingly) are subsidizing the very industry the city should be overseeing by allowing them to work out of city owned property, and revenues from their business are not subject to sales tax.

“The ASPCA and NYCLASS urge the City Council and Mayor’s office to push for the much-needed and past-due phase-out of the carriage horses and the implementation of a safe, humane, environmentally friendly and economically viable alternative.”