Angered that the preservation group Landmark West was honoring NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade, animal rights activists disrupted the organization’s gala at Tavern on The Green, a restaurant in Central Park.
In 2006, activists launched a campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages, arguing that they are inherently inhumane and that their operation is especially cruel and dangerous in the congested streets of midtown Manhattan. In 2013, Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio made a campaign pledge to ban horse-drawn carriages, but he failed to deliver on his promise when he took office.
In addition to protesting the horse-drawn carriage trade itself, activists are targeting Mayor de Blasio, demanding that he expend the political capital necessary to deliver on his promise. On September 15th, just a few days after a carriage horse collapsed in midtown, over 200 activists staged a protest at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s home, and confronted him as he exited a downtown gala several hours later.
NYC’s horse-drawn carriage operators own approximately 2oo horses. When the horses are not pulling carriages in midtown, they are kept in small stalls in former warehouses or garages in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood on the far West Side of Manhattan.