NYC needs to shut down the inhumane and unsafe carriage trade. It is one of the largest in the world, with 68 horses out at any given time. It is an anachronism and does not belong in one of the most congest cities in the world
But the NYC Council and Mayor continue to turn their back on the beleaguered carriage horse. They are all afraid to rock the boat - to go against the unions and the media. They are hoping we will go away.
UNSAFE AND INHUMANE: The horse-drawn carriage business is unsafe and inhumane and it is only a matter of time before someone is killed in NYC. It has happened elsewhere. Horses are prey animals and considering their size, could injure or kill themselves or passersby. They can spook and bolt at the slightest provocation. There should be no compromise allowing them to work only in the park because spooking accidents have occurred there also. The southern part of Central Park is very congested.
REGULATIONS: Most street regulations are not enforced. There are simply not enough agents to oversee this business. Carriage drivers overload their carriages; work out of accepted work areas; leave their carriages unattended and untethered, which is an invitation for a horse to bolt; use their cell phones while driving instead of paying attention to the road; consistently do illegal U-turns. And the authorities do not care. It is the Wild Wild West!
COMING TO AN END: The four stables are located within the Hell's Kitchen area where extensive redevelopment is occurring. Many new office towers and apartment buildings are being constructed. When businesses and apartment dwellers begin to move here and create more congestion, they are not going to welcome the dangerous and unhygienic carriage trade. Two of the stables on W. 37th and W. 38th St. are essentially stand-alones now with high rises going on around them.
CITY COUNCIL NEEDS TO STEP UP: The City Council should have taken the lead on this issue several years ago to help create jobs for the drivers, instead of propping up a dying union and newspaper business and siding with the carriage medallion owners. There is still time for the Council to act and create jobs in other fields for the drivers who will be unemployed when the stables eventually close down. Or they can substitute the carriages for battery operated ones without the horses. But turning their back and pretending all is well is not the answer.
CURRENT CAMPAIGNS: There are currently ban campaigns in Chicago, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, St. Louis, Niagara on the Lake, Victoria, BC, Rome, Florence, Berlin, Vienna, and Dublin. Barcelona just banned the industry this year. Montreal will ban their business by the end of 2019.
This excellent Youtube compilation of carriage horse accidents was compiled by the Anti-Caleche Defense Coalition in Montreal. Many cities are included.
Both tourist guides Frommer’s and Fodor’s recommend not taking these exploitative and cruel rides.
For more information, please see our web site at www.banhdc.org and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BanHDC