NYC carriage drivers have committed more than a dozen “hit & runs” over the past five years, according to allegations in police records that the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) obtained by court order from the City of New York. Jane Velez-Mitchell speaks to Chris Green, Legislative Director of ALDF, about the news:
At a NYCLASS press conference at City Hall announcing the reported “hit & runs,” ALDF’s Legislative Director Chris Green said that the group also discovered “several alarming incidents” that had not been publicly reported. In one instance, a child was rushed to the hospital after falling out of a carriage and being run over by a wheel. The police report stated that the victim “suffered injuries to stomach, chest and head.”
In another incident, a carriage driver “was thrown to the ground” and found by police “laying in the street, not moving.” In the photo below, a driver was ejected from carriage and hospitalized in a coma when his horse spooked and collided with a station wagon. Unlike many other accidents, this one was reported because witnesses took photos and informed the press and local advocacy groups.
With the help of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and the local office of Friends of Animals, the ALDF filed a successful lawsuit against the City of New York to release the “hit & run” and other records, which show that “children, cyclists, pedestrians, carriage drivers passengers and NYPD officers have been physically injured by accidents involving New York’s horse carriages.”
Tensions ran high at the press conference, as members of the opposition, including reporters who favor the industry, asked hostile questions of the speakers, including NYC Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who spoke in favor of removing carriages from the streets.
The effort to ban horse-drawn carriages has been an uphill battle, in part because the NY Times, NY Post and Daily News have published editorials in support of the trade. Nonetheless, local and national animal rights groups continue to advocate relentlessly on behalf of the horses. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who agrees that carriages do not belong on NYC streets, has stated on multiple occasions that he intends to “end carriage rides” in NYC.
If you live in NYC, ask your Council Member to support the Mayor’s plan to end carriage rides in NYC
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Watch the award-winning documentary film BLINDERS: The Truth Behind the Tradition that exposes the truth behind the tradition of NYC’s infamous horse-drawn carriage trade: