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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brian williams

WoW Elaine....your misinformed like most that have made ignorant replies such as yours. No carriage horses drowned during Katrina for three very good reasons. 1) the areas where the stables are did not flood. 2) horses have not been used to pull carriages in New Orleans since 1982, they were replaced with MULES that same year, 3) The MULES were evacuated to the farm they take their annual 3 month vacations at which is 50 miles north of New Orleans where there was zero flooding. Elaine half baked ignorant statements do nothing to help animals nor anyone else. In the future please remain silent until you actually know what your talking about. Oh by the way, I am a carriage driver and do know what I'm talking about unlike you.


good for you!


There are several stories of rescues of the Carriage horses in New Orleans. At least some of them were rescued and taken to safety by responsible humans. There may have been some that died in this way, a horrible tragedy, but there were over 40 that survived because of rescure efforts.

Valerie Blitz

We need to start a movement here in New Orleans so things can get started too!


Let's also go after the horse owners in Scottsdale , Arizona who make their horses drag around visitors in "old town". And the same city Police dept. who also ride horses on the streets. These horses do not belong on the busy streets with cars and their pipe exhaust, and have to endure such hot temperatures.

Gregory Erikson

Dear Mary,
If the attitude about horses is anything like the lunatic politics down there, I wouldn't hold out any hope!

Gregory Erikson

Dear Mary,
If the attitude about horses is anything like the lunatic politics down there, I wouldn't hold out any hope!


Agree that carriage horses should not be required to pull people around in extreme heat. I hope what they have done in NY will carry over to other States. I was in Savannah and the carriage horses there had sores on their flanks. I also noticed that the same horses worked every day for very long hours.

Lisa Scharin

Yes, I live in Charleston and I HATE to see those horses and the mules too. They ALL look SO sad and tired!!! I hope that we can end horse drawn carriages too! If New York can and will do it, Charleston certainly can!!!! I will try to push for that! So many animal rights issues, it's overwhelming!


Amen to that Betsy and Jaime.