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Horse Drawn Carriages On Their Way Out in New York City
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Horse Drawn Carriages On Their Way Out in New York City

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City promised in his 2013 campaign to phase out the presence of horse drawn carriage on the city's streets, a business that has been a part of the city of New York for the past 150 years.

Since medieval times, carriages of one type or another have been in service. Stage coaches and Conestoga wagons have been used in America since the 14th century. Europe's history of carriages goes back to 3000 BC.

Today, we see horse drawn carriages in larger cities, like New York City, on a daily basis. These conveyances are popular among romantics who want to take their significant others on a celebratory excursion through parts of the city for birthdays, anniversaries and other special holidays.  

Draft breeds are usually the type of horse used in carriage service. They work about 4 days a week and have a very boring existence. They weigh between 1650 to 1750 pounds.  Such a horse can pull a dead weight that is equal to 1/10 of their body weight for 8 hours a day. For short distances, they can pull ten to fifteen times as much.

Mayor de Blasio is steadfast in his aggressive plan to ban the horse drawn carriage from Central Park. In December 2014, he introduced a bill to phase out the horse drawn carriages.  Electric cars taking the place of the carriages is one idea that could be made a part of a new plan. This summer, the bill will be heard in the New York City Council. They have been undecided so far with a required 26 councilmen needed to in order for the bill to pass.

The idea for banning the horse drawn carriages is supported by others. The PETA organization feels that horses are nervous around unexpected noises and sensitive to the loud commotion of such a big city. A spokesmen for PETA stated that too many horses are being seriously injured and that the only way to eliminate this type of cruelty is to ban it completely.

There is great opposition as well. In a poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University in March, 64% of the participants said no to the Mayor's stand on wanting to ban horse drawn carriages. Many tourists are coming to NYC to enjoy the horse drawn carriage for the first, and what they feel could be, the last time. There are about 160 carriage drivers that are members of the Teamsters Local No. 553 and are ready to fight against this proposed bill.

If the bill passes it will be unlawful, as of June 1, 2016, to be in operation of any vehicle drawn by a horse. There will be job training made available and special licenses for cab driving given to unemployed former carriage drivers. The bill also requires proof be made available that these horses are not slaughtered when they are taken out of service. Special events and parades are the only exceptions to this bill.


Image: Flickr.com

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  1. tzigane
    Good information. Hard to decide if the horses are really being abused in their service, just to be pulling the carriages. It seems if they are well cared for and not over worked, it's not really abuse....I love horse and surely do not want them abused. But also seems sort of sad that this part of the history of NY will be taken away. Hard one to decide! #1 so good luck!
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      If you go to the PETA link it shows several accidents with the horses. I am such a sentimentalist I think it is sad but best for the horses.
  2. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Voted. Nice article. I agree with you Eve - these things are not fair on horses. I am glad to see them banned.
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      I am too. Thank you for your vote.
  3. Moocowlvr
    #14 love ya
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      You're so funny with your names. Thank you for the vote silly girl.
  4. nascarangel
  5. James Kenway
    I for one want it banned too. That and all equene compatetions as polo, jumping, fox hunting, racing, drassage compatetions and all equine sports, as its all painfull detrimental, harmfull, and stressfull events to the horse.
    1. James Kenway
      Drassage is an event where the horse is forced to perform unnatual and often painfull movement movement. We see riders whip and spurs the horses to perform. Sure we also see a few gendel riders, but never witout a bit in the horses moute, whip in hand, and spurs on boots as That in the his classes is a requirement to perdesipate in the event. Where is the humanaty in That?
      1. James Kenway
        Horse racing horses is often called the kings of sport. They Are so fare the poplic is informed caret for Day and night with all the Best. But behind all the glemure anoder truth. Race horses Are breed over 200.000 evey years. Then 8 of them make it for race training, weil all the oders Are sent to slurtherhouses, the 8 so called Lucky one's Are harshly trained all Day long, with painfull Bits and spurs from an age of 3-4 years old, and push to Win allready as 6 years old. Then pushed harder yet for higer classes.... And thats not all!!! I have not even got in to how breed mares Are taiking there foal That Are putted to a nurse mare who's only purpos is to give the foal Milk, then the Mother is pregnented again 9 days after Birthe of its oder foal. Last but not less, foal not apropiated for racing Are often left on a field untell it dies of hunger, then skinned for designet leader skin boots from there skin. Race horses That no longer can race Are left dead on the side of a road somtimes, or sent to slauther as well in the end after earning millions of dollars to people. That is the thanks most racehorses get... Need i say more abute polo and fox hunting and jumping???
    2. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      With time I think they will be banned. Give PETA time. LOL
  6. 5equineMom
    Draft horses ARE work animals. If you own a draft, you know they need to be exercised and have a "job". If these horses lose their jobs, many will go to slaughter. New York law may ban the slaughter but it will be unenforceable. Does anyone really think these horses' homes will be vigorously checked and the law enforced? Drafts are expensive to feed versus a saddle horse, and not as adoptable. Perhaps PETA will commit to support and care for these horses. As if.
    1. James Kenway
      Many May end on rescues where they can live out there life. More and more people every year worry more and more abute there animals well being then how expenciv they Are. Human kind is evolving. A solution will Come as we go.
  7. Mark Calvo
    Mark Calvo
    I believe that I read that these horses get a mandatory break each year on farms in upstate New York. My personal feeling is that if the horses are being treated well then there is no need to get rid of the carriages. I have heard Liam Neeson speak on talk shows about this. He loves these horses and has been to the stables where they are kept. I would like to read more comments from others concerning this. My main question is to ask, how well informed are the people who want to get rid of the carriages when it comes to the treatment of the animals?

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