Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: Horse-Drawn Carriage Accident Emboldens Opponents And Supporters

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Back and forth we go. Only Mayor and the City Council will decide when and how this ends. So, why not just decide now?

Animal rights activists are protesting the City's horse-drawn carriages after an accident caused a horse to flip over near Central Park yesterday. Eyewitnesses say a bus spooked a horse, triggering a chain reaction that left another horse and his carriage flat on the ground. Opponents and supporters of the idea to ban horse-drawn carriages in Manhattan are pointing to the accident involving Spartacus as proof their view on this controversial issue is the right one.

At a rally today, animal rights activists said there is no logical explanation why any animal should be on its side "in the middle of 59th Street." But carriage drivers said Spartacus is "100% healthy" and had "no marks whatsoever" on his body. Mayor de Blasio also weighed in on the accident, saying horses "don't belong on the streets of New York City." What do you say?

What's your reaction to the accident involving Spartacus yesterday? Does it affect your opinion on whether horses should be banned and replaced with electric cars? If Mayor de Blasio is truly against the practice he calls "inhumane," why do you think he's now waiting until the end of the year to act on this?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Mayor DeBlasio is the part of the horse that leads the carriage. The average human works 8 to 16 hours a day. Some get two weeks vacation annually. These horses work less hours, never in the cold or extreme heat get 5 weeks vacation ,annually. A compromise, which is not necessary, would be to relocate the stables to Central Park, take away some of the Sheep Meadow from the sweaty, son tanned hipsters, as a grazing corale for the horses.


Keep the horses in New York and the jobs and tourism that they generate. They are beautiful well cared for and are accustomed to walking in the streets just as humans are. They are in fact happy having an activity and receiving all the attention and affection the public shower on them.


I agree in mayor's Diblasio decision in taking the hoses out of the street of Manhattan.. We are living in a 20 century and still putting horses to suffer for a moment of pleasure and entertainment of some arrogant people.


The Mayor should be applauded for his efforts to set the horses free. Like Mercedes, I cannot bear to be around Central Park because the inhumanity and suffering of the horses breaks my heart. Imagine these poor horses, in all types of weather, all types of traffic and noise and pollution for extended periods of times struggling with heavy loads, transporting people around the city. This should not be and is an indication that the noise level, pollution, congestion and chaos of this city is way out of control. I feel for babies and dogs too, but at least they are not out on the street for 8 plus hours a day and at the mercy of these horse and carriage drivers.


It's inherently DANGEROUS AND INHUMANE to have horse-drawn carriages in New York City. As for those who suddenly are oozing concerns about slaughter, where have they been all these years?

Nothing in city law prevents carriage horses from being dumped at auction.

Mary Alice

Horse drawn carriages has been in New York for so many years, now beaurocrats wants to stop that attraction. Accidents happen all the time, if so because of accidents vehicles would be banned from manhattan? horse drawn carriages should not be banned.

Cynthia, from Queens

The animal rights activists failed to ban the horses on grounds of cruelty so now they're trying the traffic angle and they've even inserted the non existent"magic bus theory". If these placid horses were so crazed by traffic they wouldn't have remained in business these last 30 years.

Thanks for your consideration.


The mayor supports the ban because he received tons of money from the group which supports the ban. The group is now being investigated for violations of the campaign finance laws. He is a phony. How about the police stopping the black suvs and town cars that double and triple park in front of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the block where the horses have to pass to get to their stables. Instead of wasting all this time on this issue the mayor should focus on real issues like the problems in public housing.

Paul in Long Island City

Just wondering why your station never shows pictures of the horse pulling carriages in traffic? That's the problem - not in the park and not in the stable.


1. Limit carriage rides to Central Park;
2. Create or rent nearby Westchester Co. stable and grazing ground;
3. Rotate horses between graze area and Westside stables.

AJ.... 56 yo, Af-Am, NYC born & raised female, DeBlasio supporter..

we've been working to take these horses off the streets for years, OF COURSE they have homes waiting for them. We would not be screaming only to send them to their death faster. Make sure people know they will be adopted! Daily News have been spreading this lie.

Naila (NYLA) from astoria.

Sir, Horses are for the countryside, not city streets. Those who want to ride carriages can go to the country side or ride the tricyles which are also available in NYC


Just want to say once upon a time horses were a form of transportation. We now have technology--cars or vessels that roll on wheels. So there is no reasons why these animals should be paraded down the street. If they must use it,there should be restrictions, horses should not be worked more than 5 hours ago

From the Bronx

The incident yesterday is a perfect example of why this industry needs to be banned. Horses spook easily. If a tourist hadn't caught this incident on camera we would never have known because there are no regulations requiring these accidents to be reported, which is a perfect example of how much the carriage industry "cares" about these horses. The industry has hired high-priced anti-animal lobbyists to work for them and they complain about money influencing the compassionate side?


What will happen to the real estate that is now the stables? High rise housing for some of Mayor DeBlasio's close friends possibly? Is there a hidden agenda?


It’s archaic and inhumane. In a city as progressive and modern as NYC we should have long since abandoned the horse drawn carriage act. It's cruel to the horses to enslave them in busy trafficked streets such as ours and ignorant to think they like this or that it is in any way natural for them. It is a gamble every day they are out there on their safety and of course on others who could be equally injured if these horses become frightened and veer off their course. I would love to see some progressive measures offered to absorb the horses into local sanctuaries and employment opportunities for the carriage drivers. But by all means get these magnificent animals into dignified circumstances.

Chelsea NYC

De Blasio was against banning horse drawn carriages until NYCLASS started funneling money to his campaign. This is all about real estate, not horses. Note that only about 1 horse dies on the job every ten years. Their safety record is one of the highest of any in the transportation industry. And remember, the people at NYCLASS have never been to a stable and the ASPCA's own study showed there was not abuse or reason to ban the industry... of course they buried that report! Finally, De Blasio stated with Pre-K "What the people want, the people get". The people want the horses. So he should drop the ban as the will of the people. What a hypocrite!

Bullshead, Staten Island

Why not make 59th street one way and leave the extra lane for the carriages and bicycle traffic?

Washington Heights

If the horses had a vote, they'd be saying "nayyyyy". Phase them out. Don't kill them. Horses do not belong in NYC! Use cars for tourism and to employ these people. Use a tram over Central Park if you need it. There's already enough tourism in NYC.

-Peter and Rebecca
Upper west side

with all of the traffic in NYC streets it’s too dangerous for horses. Let’s be modern and switch to electric horseless carriages in Central Park.


I had to disagree with the guy that said they are the same as race horses. Race horses are bread to race and are treated like royalty comparemto this horses. The horses in the park are in danger do to cars, the concrete is hard on their legs. A race horse is not made to pull a caridge. If you want to keep the horses make it in to a school that offers therapeutic treatment for pepole with disabilities. I understand horses were made for work but not in those type of conditions. People who are against baning this, clearly sees them as a decoration to the city than care for their happiness and well being. All in all is not fair to the horse. Tradition be damned. People keep saying is tradition, so was not working Sunday or the holidays.


Yea, let's ban police horses, too. lMO, DeBlasio promised the land on which the stables are located to a land developer. IMO, I have lived in NYC for 30 years. Stuff happens. More dogs are abused than horses have been hurt.

This DeBlasio bann is B.S. to me.


Keep the horses. It is an industry that has stood the test of time in NYC. The people in NYC want the horses to stay. The activists are not the majority on this issue. The accidents with horses are fewer then those with cars. There are accidents in every segment of the job market, and we can't go banning whole industries because there are some accidents. The last thing we need in this city is more cars in on the street. We also don't need to be loosing jobs in the city while we are trying to grow the job market. We have been using the horses and many other animals since the beginning of time. These horses are given 5 weeks vacation every year in Amish Country and work set amount if hours everyday. They are not abused. Let it go. If you don't like it, don't ride them.

Katie in Brooklyn

Does anyone see the irony here, homeless people sleep on the street in the dead of winter or have the option of losing their lives in a shelter. But horses pulling tourist wagons on the street? No way!

Please let's get our priorities in order.

Bay Ridge

I have seen neglected, lonely horses and they are not happy. It also costs a lot of money to keep horses, they cannot just eat grass in some mythical "Farm up state". There are boarding fees, feed fees, vet fees and on and on. The truth is of they are not making money a good number of them will need to be slaughtered.

Personally I think that it is good to remember here in the middle of the city that we are not the only creatures on this planet.

Trisha from Innwood

My name is Julian from Corona Queens, I agree with horse ban but if the city decided to ban carriages then police horses should be banned as well .

Yes of course I feel a little bad for the horse that fell down, just like I would if I saw a lady fall on the floor. That doesn't mean that the horses are being abused, I do believe that all, horses included will benefit in having an internal path inside Central Park, these horses have been around for over 158 years, they have a right to be there, they are a tourist attraction, I definitely wouldn't remove them.

Thanks .... Eduardo

Ban cars from Central Park and only horses. Problem solved


Like Raymond the caller just said, have humans pull a carriage. To that end, the cartoon on the cover of the current New York magazine by the great Bruce McCall, shows a human pulling a carriage full of horses, entitled the "The Cart Before the Horses."

Just sayin..
Gretchen UWS

from Richard in Jackson Heights:

The horses work, the people who work earn money and pay taxes. Horses who don't work don't thrive, so the idea of turning them out to pasture is ridiculous. Why don't we prosecute bad drivers of automobiles and, for that matter, buses. Add to that the fact that the proposed conveyances - fantasist Model T/Hummers - are hideous and the very epitome of fake.

I am a huge animal lover but i think to ban them completely is an overreaction. They should be limited to the park and their homes should be built there as well... they should be well cared for


I am a great fan of bdb but am starting to think that he might not have the stomach for certain types of conflicts. Maybe he didn't realize how many people passionately opposed a ban while he was campaigning, just as he disappeared when Eva and co. put up their fists. I like the idea of the compromise one viewer suggested.


There should be no ban on these horses who are well cared for and could be stabled in Central Park. How many pedestrians trip and fall on New York's cracked and potholed streets like I did that put me in the hospital for 4 days. Follow the money that's behind this.

NYCLASS co-founder, Steve Nislick, is first and foremost a real estate developer recently turned electric car builder. He poured vast amounts of cash into de Blasio's campaign not for the love of horses, who contrary to his beliefs are treated very humanely, but for his love of money. If the Mayor and all these activists cared so much about the humane treatment of animals, they would force the city to build shelters in the Bronx and Queens as the law dictated and save the lives of thousands of dogs and cats who end up on the euthanasia line at Manhattan's grossly overcrowded and understaffed Animal Care & Control Shelter.

upper eastside

You can not ban carriage horses without banning police from using horses. Police horses can't be spooked? Police horses work under more hazardous situations,i.e. crowd control,than carriage horses. Police horses work in more dense traffic situations. This is just a ruse by the accidental Mayor to placate political donors.


I have lived in NYC for about 30 years and do not recall hearing about accidents. After 100 + years there should be facts to review. The decision should be based on facts not political grandstanding.

Union Square

I am a strong supporter of banning horse drawn carriages in NYC. As Mayor DeBlasio has correctly stated it it is inhumane to subject horses to being in crowded city streets where they have been hurt several times as evidenced yet again by yesterday's accident with Sparta There is a viable alternative which guarantees All the horse carriage drivers jobs by replacing the horse carriages with electric horseless carriages.

It is time we honor these incredible horses and put an end to horse carriages in our city!


Where is this going to end? Getting the horses off the streets will lead these horses where? To slaughter houses upstate, like they had the turkeys here on Staten Island? To believe that these horses will be treated properly on a farm compared to the treatment they are receiving in the city is naive, for these horses have been trained to carry passengers in carriages, not to be on a farm or in the wild. A person upstate is not going to feed and care for horse that is useless to them on a farm.

Domenick from Staten Island

My name is Victoria.

I believe the horse carriages should be banned. Like Rita Lynn said, these animals go home to a warehouse as a home. Cement ground, and small confined areas. Its 2014, lets move forward and stop letting money rule the issue. It is going to take a someone getting seriously hurt for change. The Mayor is right, lets use common sense!

Don't ban them. Build carriage houses inside Central Park I ride bikes and the traffic in Manhattan is crazy. Spooky. Are they going to ban bikes also because of the traffic ? They wouldn't dare...but Poor horses and their operators, they are in minority. Keep them in Central Park

Sunnyside Queens

The are a multi-million dollar organization and founded in 1866 by Henry Bergh in reaction to cruelty to horses in the city's streets. Why are they not using their political and media muscle to get the word out that horses are sentient creatures who do not belong on the streets of NYC?

Queens, NY

It's heart breaking to see those horses standing for hours out in the blazing Sun with no shade anywhere. Who would not feel their pain??


Why can't the horses be restricted to Central Park? Certainly, midtown traffic as in Times Square, is no place for them, but Central Park South and the interior of the park are perfectly acceptable, pleasant and safe areas for the horses. The history of the carriage rides is very important to the City and the horses are obviously well-cared for. If we knuckle under to all interest groups, the island will end up being turned into a national park...

We have spent years banning traffic from vehicles in the park, are we now to re-introduce them, however clean and faux-cute they may be?

Walter, Union Square

This is crisis-mongering at its worst. The anti-carriage activists have been hoping and waiting for an incident to exploit for their flagging and at this point, disastrously unpopular campaign. The horse fell down and got up. That is the whole of it. Wherever horses are, there are mishaps, injuries, sickness, and death. Fortunately, the NYC carriage industry has excellent safety numbers, with true serious accidents few and far between. You don't need a "solution" when there is no problem - but the animal activists are following the playbook, "never let a good crisis go to waste."

Eva Hughes
Carriage Association

ok before I start my cousin has a horse and he need 3 horses 2 go on vacation and they rotate every week go to Pennsylvania .i get 2 weeks vacation in a year. We need to stop all the bike in the city (peddle cabs ) no stop lights signal or mirrors. People this is to all before cars we all had horses ,are we going after the Amish people too that's all they use and also on the farms

bus driver

When the mayor says no horses in NYC, does that also mean NYPD horses?


I think it's a false dichotomy; is it possible to run the carriages only inside the park, perhaps even billeting them in stables within the park or otherwise minimizing the need for horses to navigate vehicular traffic?

Rae in East Harlem

Keep the carriage horses - kindly treated. Horse is fit and well. No worries. Good track record.

The New York state horse council.

I'm with the Mayor and support a ban…the sooner, the better! The streets of New York City are no place for horses.


It is long overdue to have this inhumane practice abolished once and for all. Of all the major cities in the world why is NYC dragging its heels?
Absolutely Disgraceful. I’d like to see the average New Yorker pulling a carriage.

Bklyn Hgts

It's an irony that the ASPCA was founded around horse cruelty, and this issue yields the least to pressure to even regulate it. This is a practice from a bygone era. It is time to evolve and replace with electric cars.

Lynne, NYC

deBlasio should allow carriages to operate only within the park, but we know he's beholden to real estate interests who supported his campaign and want to buy the stables.

West Village

Everyone knows the Mayor is going to ban horses. The animal rights people helped him defeat Chris Quinn and he would not dare to double cross them. This is just more procrastination on the Mayor's part. BTW giving the carriage drivers free taxi medallions, which cost others $1million, is the worse idea I have ever heard.





I've always supported the carriage business and opposed regulation. However, recently there as a short subject on TV showing horses playfully romping around in a field. That night, I saw a story about the carriage horse business and noted the stark difference between the carriage horses and those frolicking in the field. The frolicking horses were happy and the carriage horses were not.

That contrasting view changed my mind.

I'm now 100% opposed to the carriage trade. All of the carriage horses should be set free.

Port Richmond, SI

I strongly feel that the New York practice of horse-drawn carriages should be banned. Listening to your news program and hearing the opinions of people who are pro-horse-drawn carriages was laughable. The way they were describing the horses circumstances were as if they were human! Saying things like they don't work that hard and that they get a lunch break; these are not people these are horses. It's a matter of what a horse should do and would do in its natural environment. History will show that horse-drawn carriages in this time period and environment is inhumane and doesn't represent the New York City I as a lifelong New Yorker relate to. The fact that there is a suitable replacement on the table that protects the horses doing this now as well as the drivers is representative of how thoughtful the people behind banning horse carriages really are. Like a lot of other cruel practices, once this ban is in place, people will realize it was the right thing to do and the alternative is something we can feel good about as a city.

Thank you.

Queens, NY

I think they should just leave the horses alone, as long as they are being treated well and eating well. They are a landmark here, the same as the are in Savanna Georgia. They make the city a bit more beautiful to look at, instead of just glass and asphalt.

Staten Island, NY 10305

Traffic spooks humans, dogs, cats and others. Ignore the activist, keep the horses, and move on.

Park Hill

Hi John,

I feel that the horses should be allowed to walk in the park only. As for electric cars, they are ridiculous and too large. If tourists want to drive in a car, they can hire a taxi. We do not need more vehicles on the streets. Pedicabs should be banned as well; they are as dangerous to tourists as traffic is to horses.

midtown east

The accident yesterday changes nothing, in terms of my view of this controversy -- and Mr. De Blasio still looks and sounds like a fool, a bought and paid for fool if the New York Post's reporting is correct, on the subject of the carriage horses.

Upper West Side

The Mayor is 100 percent correct on this issue. The age of the horse and buggy has had its day. Wake up folks, the last time I looked at my calendar it was 2014 not 1814.

Jackson Heights

Hi John

Mayor Diblasio shouldn't wait in getting the horses off the streets they should be off now, Electric cars can take the tourist around the park and down 5 ave safer. Spartacus could of been killed, to much traffic is on the streets of NYC the weather is getting warmer now everyone comes out to enjoy the sights of our great city.

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