By Sophia Hall

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Animal rights activists want horse-drawn carriages to ride off into the sunset.

Dozens rallied Saturday at Central Park to protest what they call safety hazards and animal cruelty.

“It really isn’t a safe environment for anybody and we have to use our powers of human empathy to relieve horses of this grinding work,” said assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

Rosenthal said she feels sick inside when she sees the horses and carriages on the side on the road. “The horses have to work in the heat, in the winter,” she said. “I was looking at them today, their feed was filled with pigeons.”

She said places like Biloxi, Mississippi and Beijing, China have banned horse and carriage rides and because the city council refused to act on the ban, Rosenthal said they will fight for the ban on a state level.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports: Animal Rights Activists Hoping For State Support Of Horse-Drawn Carriage Ban

“There is only a few weeks left in the state legislature so we will be building momentum and start fresh in January,” she said.

Rosenthal said it is not a tourist attraction because tourists will come to New York City even if there are no carriage rides.

The stable that operates carriages in Central Park released a statement saying, “We are regularly inspected by the Department of Health, ASPCA and the Department of Consumer Affairs year round. Our horses are the best treated horses in the country.”  

What do you think about New York City’s horse-drawn carriages? Let us know in our comments section.

Comments (36)
  1. Bill says:

    Sure. Ban them. And the horse go right to the glue factory, or worse, a restaurant in Asia. Think people! Think before you speak.

    1. Jane B says:

      They probably end up there anyway. Better that they don’t exist in the first place I say.

  2. Joan says:

    Are you being sarcastic, Dan Te? If not, I know that there are many people who would be happy to provide loving homes for these horses. I have witnessed a lot of horse abuse having worked in a hack barn over the years and these stables should not be allowed to exist either. Horses should not be subjected to the hot pavement and vehicles that they have to endure.It is just not right! It must end if we are an intelligent, caring society.

  3. Leslie Skemer says:

    I agree that the horse drawn carriages should be banned from city streets.
    They belong in farms not city streets.
    How would you like to be a horse in extreme heat on city streets?

  4. Jane B says:

    I really hope that they get rid of these horse drawn carriages. Having visited from the UK I have to say I could not help but feel sorry for these animals having to negotiate their way through heavy traffice for hours on end in the baking heat (as it was when I visited). These carriages should be confined to the history books – horses do not belong among car-filled streets..

  5. Rina Deych says:

    It’s about time this brutal, abusive industry was banned. Not only is it cruel and unsafe, but after an entire lifetime of service to man (sometimes two lifetimes, depending what the horses did before they were forced into slavery in the carriage horse industry), they are often “retired” to the slaughterhouse. The drivers deny it, claiming they sell them back to the place where they bought them (except on rare occasions when one is sent to a ranch upstate). I wonder where the drivers think they end up when they sell them back. Obviously, they are no longer fit, young horses. They are sold at auction to slaughterhouses. It’s obvious. Upkeep (food, veterinary care) is not worth it to people who see horses as commodities. No one is suggesting that carriage horse drivers should lose their jobs. We are just proposing that they drive electric antique cars, instead. C’mon, let’s get with this century. Horses don’t belong in NYC traffic, period.
    Rina Deych, RN/Vegan Nurse

  6. I’m proud of the Senator for this! I hope he keeps at it.

  7. Michelle Andria says:

    I am glad this ban has been reintroduced and support it. Carriage horses pose a risk to drivers, bikers and pedestrians; and obstruct the flow of emergency vehicles.

    In addition, horses are not cut out to haul carriages through streets clogged with bikers, walkers, cars, taxis, busses and emergency vehicles. They get spooked and someone can get hurt. A horse should not be forced to lug a bulky cab on unyielding pavement in extreme heat or cold. NYC carriage horses, who endure fatigue, dehydration, chronic hoof conditions, and lameness, work an average of four years, compared to police horses on active duty for about 14 years. For carriage horses, there is no reprieve from the daily exhaust fumes that lead to respiratory ailments. Carriage horses are denied soft pastures to graze and mingle as a herd. Instead, they are isolated in cramped stables with barely enough room to move.

    It is high time carriage horses in NYC are banned and I appluad Senator Avella for his courage to reintroduce this ban. I hope the citizens of NYC will agree.

  8. Dale Auburn says:

    Whether we agree with this or not, everybody should be worried that this is being pursued at the STATE level instead of locally.

    The issue is carriages on CITY streets and in CITY parks, so it’s a CITY issue and should be handled by the CITY government. Yet, for some reason, New York is still the only city in the entire state that needs state permission to govern itself. Why is that?

  9. Antonio says:

    Ban all types of animal slavery. Enough of horses looking utterly miserable and fatigued carrying several people across the polluted city. It’s disgusting, New York can do better than that.

    1. Thomas says:

      OK, get rid of the carriages, what about the 400 ppl that work there and the 100’s of animals that will be put out of work. Get a grip, The barns are fine the animals are fine. You all should direct your energy towards real problems in NYC!

      1. Antonio says:

        Hi Thomas, animals cannot be ‘out of work’ as you say – work is a human concept. The animals are enslaved, not employed. Secondly, they are not fine. If you watch the movie Blinders you will see the appaling conditions of the places where they ‘sleep’, not to mention the horrors of circulating in city traffic and in extreme weather conditions. Finally, the ‘jobs’ issue (yawn) – the jobs fundamentalists always resort to this argument to put a brake on any changes. So shall we stick to all the bad things in the world, like fossil fuels for instance, because they generate jobs? No one has the right to make a living exploiting other persons, whether human or not.

  10. Gerald Waldman says:

    BTW — I’m ashamed to say that I might be related to Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

    1. steve says:

      Gerald you should kill your kids then kill yourself. That would do the world a favor.

  11. Gerald Waldman says:

    I guess we also have to let all our animal companions run free, too. The dogs to form packs and chase down and kill other animals, the cats to hunt and kill, among other things, the birds, the tropical fish to swim out and be eaten by bigger fish, the birds to get EATEN by the cats. Yes, lets let them ALL run free and wild!

  12. joe says:

    i hope your children get raped someday

  13. justiceseeker says:

    I almost beat up a family of 5 and a driver of one the carriages a few months ago. The drive thought he would but into my conversation about how horrible these carriages are as he passed by. PEOPLE NEED TO START ABUSING THE PEOPLE THAT ABUSE HELPLESS ANIMALS……ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THESE WORKERS SHOULD START IMMEDIATELY!!

    1. josh goldman says:

      amen to that brother!

    2. Gerald Waldman says:

      So, a horse is MORE important than a person to you. Assault is against the law all ready and I’d press charges if you attacked me!

      1. josh goldman says:

        Yes a horse is more important. Especially more than a person who preys on innocent animals to make a quick buck. Animal cruelty will soon be against the law in this case! Gerald have you ever considered suicide? You should try it sometime.

  14. Howard says:

    Sadly, the industry has very little regulation and/or inspection. Has any tourist gone to see where these horses live? In warehouses, up ramps, without fire exits, not mentioning the closed windows so there is no ventilation. these horses can never lie down: they are either working on hot streets in traffic or in snow and ice or standing their entire lives. When they can’t drag a carriage anymore they aresent to auction to be sold for meat. This is the glamourous romantic rides’ underside.

    1. Gerald Waldman says:

      Horses do NOT normally lay down! Only if they are sick or giving birth and I’m not sure about the giving birth part. This does NOT mean that I support animal abuse, but at least get your facts straight before you go spouting off gibberish. No wonder you can;t get more people to agree with you.

      1. M. Williams says:

        If horses are comfortable and secure, they most certainly DO lie down, either in a comfortable well-bedded stall or in the fields. This is absolutely normal and good for them. We have had several horses for years (rescues all) and we assure you that horses can often completely stretch out sleeping in their stalls and roll around on their backs in the fields. So much for “getting facts straight”.!

      2. Diane says:

        ummmm….Gerald, oh yes horses DO normally laydown. We have 2 horses, and they lay down all the time and sleep, or sun themselves, and giving birth! YOU need to get your facts straight before spouting off your gibberish!

  15. DP says:

    Empathy means understanding how others feel. Instead of that, usually we try for second best, which is trying to imagine how we would feel in the others’ positions.

    When we start seeing the same answer for everything: that the animal is fragile, defenseless, voiceless, and a victim, and we see nature as a helpless, fragile victim, and we see kids as helpless, fragile, victims, I really start to wonder — especially when I’m generally impressed with the resiliency and health of children, the amazing recuperative power of the environment, or seeing a neurotic cat give up bad behaviors given just a little consistent affection and care.

    It seems to me a lot of people who keep horses tend to find the NYC carriage horses in good shape and apparently well cared for. For the, horses are not voiceless. They relate easily with horses. They don’t see victims.

    It really gets me wondering *who* is feeling voiceless and abused? Who was victimized (perhaps when they were growing up)?

    I suppose you should actually ask the horses how they feel about things — most likely, you’ll find out they really like oats – a lot – and think about their oats all the time. They know how their driver is feeling just through the way the reins are being handled. Likewise, the driver will know a lot about how the horse is feeling by the way the reins feel in his hands, whether the horse has set the bit in his teeth, seems restless or whether his mouth feels tender, by the way his companion’s ears are moving, how his companion walks. Horse and driver spend every day all day primarily in each others’ companionship doing the same thing, with about the same things to look forward to.

    Who is going to be the more empathetic?

    1. Different-Time-Zone says:


  16. E says:

    They need to put an end to this tourist trap “tradition” that no NYer cares about.

    1. Gerald Waldman says:

      I guess reading this article and commnting on it are your way of NOT caring.

  17. John A. says:

    Horses should not be exploited at all.They should be able to run free in upstate meadows,not pulling carriages in Central Park or any other park ,for that matter!

  18. Little Robin says:

    We are not in the 17th century anymore, free the horses to the person
    that said horses have a purpose yes that is true to run free,they only
    take to being our slaves by brutality of training aka “breaking them in”.

  19. Dale Auburn says:

    I agree with getting rid of the horse carriages, but I totally disagree with it being done at the STATE level. We’re talking about carriages on CITY streets and in CITY parks, so it’s a CITY issue and should be handled by the CITY government. Yet, for some reason, New York is still the only city in the entire state that needs state permission to govern itself. Why is that?

  20. Ellen says:

    Henry Bergh’s advocacy began with just this practice – the abuses of the horse-drawn carriage, and he was completely opposed to killing any animal – not how the ASPCA is run today, so I don’t know how much confidence I have in their inspection. Every one of the above mentioned groups is politically influenced. The shelters are also inspected and there’s not too much good happening at the NYCACC except for the volunteers and staff that are trying to get those animals placed in homes before they’re euthanized after wallowing in their own filth.

    These horses will go to rescues like retired race horses and the like. I think their time as a tourist or any other type of attraction is passe now that people are aware of how they’re treated behind the scenes, and see them struggling in the heat hauling people around on hard street surfaces. The same goes for circus animals. It’s just not enjoyable anymore once the curtain is pulled back and you see the real show of abuse and cruelty.

    It’s not that we don’t care about humans in VA hospitals and NHs, but they have a voice and much has been recognized and fixed in these establishments for them, and there are plenty of volunteers there as well. This post is about animals These animals do not have a choice and a voice and why animal welfare advocates like myself have to be their voice. Let them go to pasture and run in fields and graze grass like they were meant to do.

  21. Lettie Easton says:

    I fully believe in Animal Rights, & my favorite animal in the world IS the horse, but come on now… Ban horse drawn carriages?? As far as I see it these horses have a purpose,Other than a slaughter house! If they are in deed being mistreated then make the companies pay the price not the animals.

  22. Dave says:

    It’s people like you that make the rest of us sick.Animal rights,environment nuts,anti gun nuts,you are the minority.Get a life,go volunteer at the VA hospital or a nursing home to make life easier for the human race.

    1. Joan says:

      Dave, it is you who needs to get a life and go volunteer somewhere of your choosing Animal rights activists, environment “nuts” anti gun “nuts” are people who care about the quality of life for humans as well as animals. I have a life, but I will always take the time to speak out for those who are voiceless…namely the creatures we share this earth with whether you like it or not.

  23. DanTe says:

    Yes. It’s more humane to turn these now useless animals into the Humane Society. Where they can be properly executed and turned into dog food.

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