Horse News

De Blasio admits he doesn’t have enough backing in City Council or the public to ban NYC’s carriage horses

“The mayor stated unequivocally that he would end horse-drawn carriage rides in Manhattan…”

Mayor de Blasio had vowed to ban the horse carriages in Central Park on “day one” of his mayoralty. - SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

Mayor de Blasio had vowed to ban the horse carriages in Central Park on “day one” of his mayoralty. – SHANNON STAPLETON/Reuters

As a City Hall candidate, he vowed to ban horse carriages on “day one”— but Mayor de Blasio is finally admitting he bit off more than he can chew.

Furious supporters of the ban aren’t ready to be muzzled, though.

De Blasio said Wednesday he still wants to get rid of the “inhumane” industry — but for the first time he acknowledged he doesn’t have the votes in the City Council.

And the mayor said that the carriages — the focus of a long-running Daily News campaign — are popular.

“The fact is, the industry has a lot of support in the City Council, and among the populace,” de Blasio said on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC.

His message to the anti-carriage activists who helped elect him: his hands are tied.

“What I’d say to every advocate is, ‘You already have my vote, go get the votes in the City Council and solidify the support in the City Council so we can make this change,’” he said.

That was not what they wanted to hear.

Animal rights activist Donny Moss, who helped start the Anybody But Quinn group that toppled de Blasio’s Democratic primary rival Christine Quinn, ripped the mayor.

“The mayor stated unequivocally that he would end horse-drawn carriage rides in Manhattan. He also said that he would lobby Council members in support of his bill. He has done neither,” said Moss. “Is he really looking to alienate his base — the very people who worked tirelessly to get him elected?”

NYCLASS which donated heavily to de Blasio — challenged the mayor’s math on the Council tally.

“We are prepared for the bill to be voted on immediately as we believe we would be successful,” said a spokesman.

That might be wishful thinking. Council sources said the bill has little support, with one member saying only a handful of members would probably vote for a ban now.

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said the mayor is wisely shifting his focus.

“I wouldn’t say the mayor’s given up on banning horse carriages, but like all of us he has to continue focusing on what’s important: jobs, housing, education, public safety,” he said.

“Prioritizing banning horse carriages doesn’t make the cut.”

The ban on horse carriages was the number one topic that listeners tweeted to Lehrer to ask the mayor about, the radio host said….

11 replies »

  1. I’ve wondered why the Horses couldn’t be moved to the parks and get them out of the traffic and off the pavement. A carriage ride would be much more enjoyable there.
    There needs to be a place for them where they can get out of their stalls, eat grass, roll and just be a Horse. Every Horse needs that.
    The other thing is…what happens when they are too old to pull a carriage. Where do they end up?
    All work Horses should have a 401K Retirement account in place…funded by some of the revenue that they help generate. A lot could be done for them with that money invested wisely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Maybe in some state park in Staten Island or something. They should write down their own humane Code of Conduct and live by it. You know, something on paper. Plus, it would be in their best interests if they worked alongside animal welfare groups to determine how the business will work.


      • Carriage horse advocates tell a different story. The horses never get to feel grass beneath their hooves. They are either out on the polluted streets of NYC or in their stalls in a multi-story building. The Irish Carriage Horse Mafia made de Blasio back down the one time he tried to get this practice banned. They are belligerent, unapologetic and entrenched.


  2. I made a point to walk to Central Park area twice last year to see for myself what kind of work climate these horses had, and I did not see any horses on the street. There were all on the large sidewalk areas or trails around and within the park. The driver on one of the carriages stood next to his horse on the ground talking with the horse and with tourists, and the horse appeared very relaxed with his head down and no tension around the muzzle area. The driver and horse looked like a couple of pals who knew each other.

    I know that there have been recurring accusations about lameness that has been blamed on stalls that may have waste in them. It is possible for a horse to get off his pace for any number of reasons. Some horses, particularly draft horses, are more prone to foot issues. Vets and farriers know how to minimize the possibility of lameness and to mitigate it, if possible, for the horse, but there is simply no way in he world that anyone could guarantee that even the best care could prevent lameness.

    I don’t know how the livery is set up for mucking out and picking the stall With such large horses and the deposit of 3 piles of manure a day or more, it is not always possible to get the waste immediately depending on what other matters also have to be taken care of. However, I think veterinarians are the most competent people to make the decision about the conditions that the horses are living in and make suggestions when there appears a change is needed.

    The truth is that horses are big, strong, animals and they are always a second or two away from the possibility that they will injur themselves—most injuries I see occur when the horses are playing around in the pasture, and someone decides to bite or kick too hard. There are powerful forces that want the horses and livestock to go away, and the concerns are not limited to one country. The Equine Species Survival Group omitted the caballine altogether. This could be due to the fact that horses and livestock graze in the same areas where plants have been abundant and both wild and domestic species have shared habitats throughout the world in the grasslands of the Eurasian Steppe and the grassy plains of the United States.

    There is an affinity among humans and horses that is hardwired inside most members of both species. I fear Mayor DeBlasio’s close personal relationship with the people that came up with twisted idea to eradicate horses and put it into federal law through a treaty that almost no one knows about classifying the horse as an alien when its one of the oldest and most native in North America. I am also concerned about what is happening at Sweetbrier College in Virginia where another friend of the horse enders is the Governor of Virginia. They worked hard to get him in, and now Sweet Brier College suddenly announces that it had to close even with an 88 million dollar endowment. And what do you know? They just built a nice new environmental center. Sweet Brier has had an equestrian program for years, but it may be just a little too close to a molybdenum mine for some greedy people to sit by. Lots of weirdness going around.

    I just hope the people who call themselves horse advocates for the carriage horses have been around a lot of horses, stables, and equestrian activities, so they can tell the difference in what is normal and what is not. These horses are ambassadors for their species in one of the least horsey places in the world. If they are removed from the every dayness of our human world, they will be forgotten about and as such much easier to eradicate.


    • This article says “its not necessary to see the interior stables in the flesh”. I wouldn’t think anyone could really judge unless they actually visited the stables & walked through. I think Hoofhugs comment above has more horse sense in it. It would be great if the horse’s stables were actually in or next to the Park – but that’s probably not going to happen. Oddly, the pictures & videos I’ve seen show a much different view of the stables. And to be honest – its not always possible to have a spotless stall where any horse, much less a draft horse, lives. Would I want to stable a horse in NYC? Nope, but I’m lucky – I live in the country. And if its wrong to confine a horse to a small stall – look around, that’s happening in many places and with much worse care than these horses get. There are lots of really important issues that involve cruelty to horses & they could always use more advocates.


  3. I saw a very good comment somewhere that suggested the stables be moved to Central Park, where they could get out of the stalls, eat grass, roll and just be Horses. Sure seemed like a good idea to me. It seems that those that truly want the carriage Horses to stay would be in favor of this solution.


  4. Central Park’s $700K horse stable used as storage shed while carriages are kicked to the curb
    Supporters of the horse carriage industry see moving operations into Central Park as a compromise to get the carriages -which are under threat of ban by Mayor de Blasio – off the street.

    Central Park’s only stable has no horses, but it is full of crap.
    The four-stall stable near the Central Park Zoo that cost $700,000 to build doesn’t house any horses but is used for storage, the Daily News has learned.

    Some supporters of the horse-carriage industry that Mayor de Blasio has vowed to ban see moving operations into Central Park as a possible compromise. It would get the horses off the streets but allow the 300 carriage drivers to keep their livelihoods.


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