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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Tony B.

End horse carriage rides in NYC and those poor horses go right to the glue factory! Talk about "good intentions" leading to horrible, unintended consequences!


This still goes on in San Antonio, Texas, year-round. Last year, after a long-fought battle, leaders finally put a new regulation in place that reduced the horses' "working hours" from 12 or 14 down to 8 hours per day (which, given the 100+ degree weather throughout most of the summer each year, is still cruelty and endangerment in my opinion). I put "working hours" in quotes because this is not work, it's slavery, pure and simple. Slavery for the economic gain of the horse owners, the city, and for the "enjoyment" of the tourists that come here to see the Alamo and historical downtown. This could be served more humanely and more ethically by having human-driven bike carriages, which would not only serve the same purposes for the humans currently benefitting from this disgusting practice of exploiting slave animals, but would also serve to help make the people who work and live in the city healthier, both physically and morally. I wish our city would put a stop to horse carriages as well, and soon.


Better idea, get rid of all those gas guzzling cars instead of the horses


I'm confused. if they are trying to stop carriage rides in NYC, why aren't they trying to stop 'delmans' in indonesia? i saw some, and i think i saw 1 during the rainy season. search 'delman' in google. thats what they look like.

Holly Esteves

Fine and good, but now what happens to the horses? Sanctuary? Who's footing the bill? How long before these horses are sold at auction and swept into the hands of the kill buyers? I am 100% for the humane treatment of all animals, companion, farm, wild - but are we doing the right thing banning horse drawn carriage rides, or should we have fought harder for better treatment, better routes away from Midtown and Times Square, better shelter, veterinary care etc.?? At least they'd be working and helping their owners generate revenue. If there's no place left in the world for a horse to work - then I see more and more being shipped off for inhumane slaughter.

James Thompson

The Carriage Horse Industry should have ended many years ago. This practice cannot be justified as "charming"any longer. Horses DO NOT belong in an urban environment under any circumstances, it is not only cruel but is inherently dangerous for horse and people. Mayor Bill DeBlasio deserves credit for being the first mayor of New York to have the decency to address this issue. He has my overwhelming support on this matter.


I believe nothing is wrong with the carriage industry... There are horses BRED for that business, they just have to use the right breed. Also, the owners have to take care of the horses. Don't ban carriages altogether, just shut down the companies who don't do it right.