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NYC Mayor To Introduce Bill to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

December 1, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

After an eight year campaign on the streets, at City Hall and on the big screen, activists in NYC are one giant step closer to achieving their goal of ending horse-drawn carriage rides in the congested streets of midtown Manhattan.

On the week of December 8th, Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to introduce a bill that would prohibit the city from renewing horse-drawn carriage licenses starting in mid-2016 and prevent the horses from being slaughtered. The bill also offers several job saving provisions, including free green taxi medallions (value: $6,000) for horse-drawn carriage drivers. The bill won’t be put up for a vote for several months to allow for a public hearing and lobbying by both sides.


In 2006, a veteran animal rights activist in NYC, Elizabeth Forel, founded the Coaliton to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages. The group’s relentless efforts led to a change in the public discourse, with New Yorkers and elected officials talking for the first time about about banning, instead of reforming, the trade.

Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages Protest (photo: Donny Moss)

Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages Protest (photo: Donny Moss)

In 2008, another animal rights group, NY-CLASS, which has been lobbying NYC lawmakers for the past several years in support of a horse-drawn carriage ban, proposed an alternative to the carriages – electric vintage cars – to address objections by lawmakers that a ban would eliminate jobs. The Mayor’s bill would allow carriage drivers to pursue this alternative, if they are interested.

Chrissie Hynde arrives at her sold out concert in NYC

Music legend Chrissie Hynde introduces NYC Media to electric vintage car proposed by NY-CLASS

Over the years, the animal rights group PETA has raised awareness of the plight of NYC’s carriage horses through provocative campaigns, celebrity spokespeople and protests.

PETA billboard in Times Square

PETA billboard in Times Square

In 2008 and 2009, the documentary film BLINDERS about NYC’s horse-drawn carriage controversy aired on the Documentary Channel and was screened at film festivals around the country, exposing an unsuspecting public to the truth behind the tradition of NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade.

After being educated about the issue, Mayor de Blasio made a campaign promise to ban “inhumane” and “unsafe” horse-drawn carriages from NYC streets during the 2014 Mayoral race.

The front-runner in the Mayoral race, Christine Quinn, blocked efforts to help the horses and instead passed a rate hike for the drivers when she ran the NYC Council. Because of her egregious record on animal protection issues, local activists launched a four year campaign starting in 2009 to cripple her Mayoral bid. She came in a distant third, demonstrating the potential impact of grass-roots animal rights advocacy.

"Anybody But Quinn" for Mayor of NYC

“Anybody But Quinn” for Mayor of NYC

Horse drawn carriage rides have been curbed or outright eliminated in many urban areas around the world, including London, Paris, Beijing and Toronto. Just one week ago, Salt Lake City lawmakers voted unanimously to be ban horse-drawn carriages.

Your Turn

If you live in NYC, please join NY-CLASS in its efforts to rally support at City Hall for the Mayor’s bill to ban horse-drawn carriages. If you live elsewhere, please sign their petition to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of midtown Manhattan.

To learn more about the issue and keep apprised of news related to the movement to ban the industry, please subscribe to the weekly newsletter of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages by sending an email to

Watch the award-winning documentary film BLINDERS: The Truth Behind the Tradition.

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Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Vicki Wood says:

    Ban horse-drawn carriages – blatant animal cruelty

  2. NJ2toU says:

    Unfortunately de Blasio can’t just stop them. They have licenses and a bill has to be passed to enact a ban. There will be lobbying on both sides and a vote must be taken. It’s not like he made a promise and walked away from it, it’s being worked on. And whether you like it or not, these are people’s jobs that they’ve been doing for years and you can’t just do away with them like that, unfortunately. Think about YOUR job just being done away with. I want them off the street every bit as much as everyone else, but don’t act like he’s doing nothing. I personally saw a taxi clip the back of a carriage, which knocked it over and pulled the horse down with it. I was horrified and so worried for the poor horse. Fortunately the horse wasn’t injured, the driver was able to jump from the carriage safely and there were no passengers. So believe me when I say I want them gone! The only thing I’d be agreeable to is carriages INSIDE the park on a horse trail around the park, NOT in our crazy Manhattan traffic. I love the vintage cars they are offering as an alternative.

  3. Concerned says:

    Why would anyone support PeTA? Oh wait, because they don’t know any better. Yes PeTA has done some wonderful things for animals, but then they turn around and euthanize almost 9 out of 10 adoptable pets that they take in. Don’t take my word for it, research. Read the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that PeTA and all other animal shelter in Virginia are required to fill out yearly. The once good PeTA has become tainted and disgusting.

    1. NJ2toU says:

      I agree wholeheartedly regarding PETA!! They are horrible. Their leader Ingrid Newkirk is a psycho who believes the only good pet is a dead one. That they are slaves that rather be dead. Really?! Hell, I don’t even think abused animals in circuses, dog fights and the like want to be dead! And believe me, the only one that is a slave is ME to my pets!

  4. Jean Ledesma says:

    I do not think these horses should Be slaughtered, give them a home and let them live their life out and comfort. They should not be horses that ride people around in these carriages, it is cruel ….

  5. Natasha Brenner says:

    I’LL BELIEVE IT WHEN I SEE IT! 2016? More than another year of suffering. Hardly the promise he made! Sorry to be so negative, but I’ll believe it when I see it!

  6. Animalover says:

    From the time that DeBlasio first announced that he would ban the carriage horse industry in NYC, the BS “land-grab”,”developer” narrative began floating around as though that, if it were even true (which it is NOT), would be any kind of a justification for keeping horses on the crowded, noisy, frightening streets of NYC.

    Traveling nose-to-tailpipe among busses, trucks, cars, ambulances, firetrucks, taxis, pedicabs, bikers, that’s a “good life” for a horse who never gets a daily turnout or a chance to behave like and do what horses do, really?????

    The end of an era, like the ends of all forms of injustice (see:slavery, child labor, women as chattel and yes, Ferguson), comes when the people finally realize that the lies that are used in an attempt to justify abuse, cruelty, enslavement, and exploitation just won’t be accepted anymore!!!!

    Hopefully members of the NY City Council will not be bullied and brow-beaten by this small but very powerful industry that has heretofore managed to dominate the bully-pulpit and the media with “favorable” coverage until now!

  7. Linda says:

    It is about time DeBlasio is making good on his promise!

  8. mandy donaldson says:

    I am against animal cruely

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