Monday, December 22, 2014

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The Call Blog: State Lawmaker Moves To Protect Carriage-Horse Industry

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There is a compromise. Several of our viewers have suggested it. But both sides are so enraged they don't see it. Or they just don't care to.

A Westchester assemblyman is adding a new twist to the ongoing saga over the future of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. Democrat Gary Pretlow introduced a bill today that would block the City from reducing the number of carriage licenses it issues. The move comes the day after a group fighting to ban the horses introduced an electric car prototype that it wants to see used in place of the carriages.

Today, Mayor de Blasio defended his stance on this issue. After promising to ban horse-drawn carriages during his first days in office, de Blasio now says he hopes to do so by the end of the year. The Mayor said today: "I believe it's inhumane. It's not right, we should change it." But a recent Quinnipiac University poll found widespread support among New Yorkers to keep the horses. What do you say?

Should Albany lawmakers get involved in the fight over horse-drawn carriages? Would you vote to support or oppose the bill introduced today? Why do you think Mayor de Blasio is now waiting until the end of the year to address this controversy? Do you have a compromise solution to address concerns on both sides of this issue?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

There is a crisis of abandoned, now feral, horses in the US. Many starving to death and others sent to slaughter. Horse rescue organizations are scrambling to save these animals and there is not enough money or places willing to take in these horses.

NYC's carriage horses are all in good health and well cared for. Every spot a rescue agency gives to a NYC carriage horse, eliminates a spot otherwise available to a horse whose life is in true urgent need of rescue


1. Death of horses: 1 in last 5 years, Racing horses 15 per week in America & then sold for horse meat.

2. Antique cars: NYC is not Disneyland.


the horses are treated well. just look at their shiny coats, healthy bodies and bright eyes. they are used to noise and traffic. they will die if they are sent upstate. they are bought at 15 years old and live and work for 15years more. i grew up in brooklyn, riding in jamaica bay wildlife refuge. we were near an airfield (floyd bennett field) and helicopters would surprise land near us. the horses got used to it quicker than i did.


If they're gone, NYPD mounted police should go with it.


right on, Jennifer of the East Village! Finally, someone with a head on her shoulder! If you want to bring up "humane," let's start with how homeless people, emotionally disturbed people, old people, etc., are treated.


NYPD rides horses as well!


DeBlasio himself agreed with Liam Neeson that the horses are NOT abused, so he refused to visit the stables. The issue is going through the traffic to leave and get to stables.

Why can there be no compromise? A new stable is being built for the NY Police horses in the park. Why not use all the bucks to buy the faux antique cars and add on to the stables in Central Park?


First let me say that I love horses. They are elegant, beautiful and strong. I have owned horses growing up. I live in New York City and the horse drawn carriages pass by my door every morning. I hear the clippity clop and I love it.
I see children’s faces light up beyond belief when they see the horses pass by.

I used to ride horses in Central Park. That last remaining stable was sold to put up condos and there are no more horses to ride in the park. While I have never been in a carriage in New York, they add character, beauty and help teach people to love animals. They are well cared for here.

If we want to eliminate carriages lets eliminate the aggressive bike carriages, they are offensive and obnoxious. If they are to be replaced, they will probably not have the funds to keep these horses and/or future horses alive. They will be slaughtered or kept in worse conditions. There is no “fairy tale” green pasture for these animals to roam “free”. Horses are expensive. We will loose the connection to these beautiful animals.

If however, we choose to eliminate these animals, then why stop there. Lets empty the zoos. Then lets be sure to ban all pet stores and personal pets. I’ve seen people mistreat their dogs in the name of “training them”. I’ve seen dogs dressed up in inhumane outfits with their ears or tails clipped and all their fur shaved in the middle of winter. I’ve seen dogs shivering on the streets in fear or freezing cold. I recently saw a little dog dressed up as a dinasour and he could barley poo while many busy new yorkers rushing by knocked and kicked him by mistake. I’ve seen dogs be hit by cars. Lets ban puppies and dogs. Lets also ban cats because they are not meant to be all day in a small dark apartment by themselves, they are missing out on the hunt. There are many inhumane practices in New York, including all of us living on top of one another. The horses have it good. So, hell, lets set the precedent with horses and ban all animals, including all the puppies, dogs, cats, ferrets and every other living creature except for the native rats, mice and cockroaches. What the hell am I doing still here… I should be in a beautiful green pasture too : )


After a wonderful dinner at Tavern on the Green I turned to my friend and said "carriage ride through the park" I have to say it had to be the most relaxing romantic and just a moment in time where there was nothing else around but the sound of the horse hoofs. Stop taking simple pleasure away. I would also like to know all that oppose the horses have they ever seen a child face lite up when the horse just looks at them ?My solution keep these majestic animals around the park KEEP TRADITION ALIVE

East Flatbush



This Mayor should focus on fixing potholes in the street that is more dangerous as cars have to drive into on coming traffic to avoid them. Just drive in Bushwick. Greenpoint to see.


I just don't understand what is the mentality, why should not houses be in nyc, it is so beautiful for any big or small city to have horses available for city rides!!!! Don't anyone has gone to Atlantic City and ask for a ride on the boardwalk done by men.......aren't animals as well as any other ceatures born for a purpose.....what's wrong with well treated and beautiful horses providing a service to natives and foreingners and you can tell that they are in real good condition......what makes anyone believe they will be treater better anywhere else..........about horses races is that any people know what horses go through when they are used to carry load from one place to another....give me a break, I just can't believe the the mayor is against it....

Queens, NY

Where is this city's priorities, just yesterday the Daily News showed online footage of an Intern being viciously assaulted by an inmate on Rikers Island, and our concern is the harmless horses on Central Park. this past year record numbers of innocent employees who work on Rikers Isalnd have been brutally assaulted, while the Department of Correction's Administration has done nothing but punish the few staff members who provided some sort of protection in this mad environment, yet we want to debate over horse drawn carriages & electric cars. What is New York City waiting for? a massive death count, before notice is taken.

Staten Island

I am a New Yorker and believe the horses should be taken 'off' the streets of NY. Thank you Mayor De Blasio for taking action...If the horses can be given a trail inside Central Park then I would agree with the horses staying within the park on their own trail away from cars and traffic. I hope the horses will be taken off the streets of NYC.


I walk on CPS frequently and seeing the condition of the horses is heartbreaking . They are confined and surrounded by traffic, loud noises and pollution. Far from being a tourist attraction, it shows a depressing lack of humanity in our city.


These horses aren't mustangs that roamed the Wild West. A horse is primarily a labor animal. Give me a break, the anti carriage crowd jumps on the occasional incident when a horse freaks out and runs amok. So should we ban all drivers because some of them get drunk and drive?


There is nothing inhumane, as the mayor claims, about horse carriages in Central Park. If the short ride from the stable bothers him so much, why doesn't he move the stables into the park. He's waiting till the end of the year to make a decision because he's clueless on plans for employment for the 300 carriage drivers. Are they supposed to take out loans to purchase a $175,000 electric car or are the taxpayers going to pay for them?

And, if it's so unhealthy for a horse to be in traffic, why is it okay to encourage thousands of people to ride bicycles in New York, rent Citibikes as a healthy option while they are breathing in fumes at a rate six times faster than walking.

upper eastside

If the horses were abused they would have been shut down years ago, they are regulated by FIVE agencies. De Blasio is paying back Steve Nislick who wants the real estate where the stables are. I have been filming the horses for the past month. The reason de Blasio didn't come to the stables with Liam Neeson is he'd have to admit he was wrong. It's not about the horses it's about the real estate where the stables are.


Amy from the Upper West Side - tourists don't come to New York to listen to whiney liberals, but it's part of the experience, like the Broadway show, the Elmo in Times Square, and the dinosaur in the museum, and the rude cab drive from JFK.


No carriage horses will be slaughtered when this industry ends. All the horses will go to sanctuaries and rescue groups where they will no longer have to contend with fumes, dangerous traffic and cramped stalls. Some traditions should come to an end. This is one of them.

Eric from Queens

With the speeding taxis, big belching busses and big lumbering trucks, the carriages horses do not stand a chance if hit by one.

A few have gotten too hot in the summer and fallen down dead from heat exhaustion. Every year horses get killed one way or another on NYC's streets

Horse carriages are a cruel anachronism with NYC's completive heavy traffic.


Bravo to Pat on Staten Island! Keep the horses in the park. Why isn't this being brought forward as the obvious compromise solution????


How does the caller know they are well-treated? Has he inspected the stables and seen the living conditions? No. The truth is there is no enforcement for humane legislation. Why has ever major city abolished horse drawn carriages except NYC? What justification can there be to allow horses march in rush hour traffic?

Brooklyn Hgts.

Im am a New Yorker living in Murray Hill all my life. As a little girl I thought the carriages were so cool but as an adult and animal lover I find it cruel to use horses for unnecessary reasons. I wouldnt give a penny for a ride but I would try another method if animals weren't part of the equation


If our mayor is so worried about the lives of horses who serve our city so well, then why isn't he instructing the NYPD to disband their horse unit?


You are asking why a representative from Westchester cares about this issue? Why is the Daily News devoting their entire newspaper to this issue? Why does the Daily News have a petition to save the jobs of a small industry? These are questions any so-called journalist should be looking into. It is unprecedented and outrageous. No one is talking about the inhumane issues that those of us who have been trying to ban the horses for decades - well before a stupid electric car was introduced - have been addressing. The so-called compromise to keep them in Central Park is unworkable and will never happen. If there is any "compromise" it is the retro-fitted carriage which will keep the existing carriages, free the horses, and keep the jobs. Why have none of the major media (with perhaps your exception) talked to the other side!?


A perfect compromise solution would be to keep the horses inside Central Park. I agree they shouldn't be in traffic on the street. So confine them to the park, so they'll be safe from cars, the tourists can still have their ride, and the carriage drivers will keep their jobs. It's a common-sense solution, so why has no one brought it up?

Silver Lake

Horse carriages are no longer appropriate in the year 2013. They do not belong in traffic performing labor all day. In addition to that there is horse feces all over and around Central Park. It's unsanitary and it smells awful.


New Yorkers would say that with Mayor Bloomberg it’s was his way or the highway. Unfortunately, with Mayor DiBlasio, it’s also his way or the highway. He has made up his mind to remove the horse drawn carriages, without ever visiting a stable to determine how the horses are cared for. Hopefully he’ll be a one term mayor and if the horse carriages are replaced with an e-carriage, they will be returned when he is removed from office


Farms have already come forward to take retired horse carriages. This man has no business legislating NYC businesses and should be stopped. I see horses standing in the freezing cold and scorching heat, with drivers not obeying the rules. I've seen many near-misses in traffic as well. What the hell are we waiting for, another horse death (which we've seen recently on the streets) or injured people?

They say that carriage horses are a 150-year tradition. So was slavery in the US -- around even longer. Does that make it right? Let's not forget that US legislators didn't support ending slavery either. Stop the animal abuse and inherent street danger now, like other major cities have done around the globe.

Gretchen - UWS

I am for keeping the horses, but only in central park, not on the streets. Ideally, stables could be set up somewhere in the park so the horses do not have to traverse the streets to get to the park from the far west side. The proposed electric cars look silly and will only add to the traffic in midtown.


J. Gary Pretlow is terribly misguided. He claims the horses are destined by God to pull carriages. How does he know? Has he spoken to God recently? He says he's been to one of the stables. Has he been to more than one stable? Or is he in the pocket of the horse drawn carriage owners?

Upper Wes tside

Two Thumbs up to Assemblyman Pretlow for supporting the Central Park carriage horses and horses around NY State! There is no horse abuse, only political corruption via Nislick funding DeBlasio's mayoral campaign.

Jessica, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

The gentleman that said that horses were created to work u agree with him but remember there weren't any cars at the time when we were using them to work the fields. As for jobs they would still have them if they used the new cars that the mayor is introducing. In my opinion that is the perfect solution.


In fact, why is this a governmental issue? Why is this a Mayoral priority? Why the heck should Albany care? Don't we have real problems - jobs, healthcare costs,



The City doesn't own the horses. They should keep their stinking fingers out of other people's business. Re the proposed automobile replacements, what an incredibly stupid idea. Proponents of these cars should be required to carry people around town on their backs. Idiots one and all.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi John,

I say that this mayor needs to create some jobs for people in this city and accept the fact that we want the horses to stay just where they are. They are a part of our history and it’s about time all you useless politicians do what we pay you to do. You all are ruining our history and status of our once beautiful city.

Thank you John,

Where does the mayor,animal rights activities and others feel about the nypd using horses to give out parking tickets here in jackson heights? How much does this cost me? I was afraid to take a picture- it's Friday I don't want to spend the weekend in jail.


The City Council has been proven to be panderers for people that do not have a life. The horse carriages are as much of a tourist attraction as the Empire Building, bring in revenue, and create jobs. Tighen up on the care of the animals and let them ride. Beats going to Wasshington Heights as a tourist site.

Park Hill

Hi John

The horse drawn carriages should be banned, it's inhumane, the horses should be on a farm relaxing grazing and trotting, horse racing at the racetracks should be banned also it's stupid the horses go to fast and sometimes they get hurt. Mayor Diblasio should use a electric car or trolley to take the tourist around the park and down 5 avenue. Albany shouldn't get involved in what Mayor is doing because he kniows what he is doing he's a great Mayor, i believe he's waiting because he wants more input from his staff.

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