July 20, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Horse-drawn carriages are unsafe, inhumane and condemn horses to a lifetime of hardship.
That’s the view of Councilmember Robert Holden who has introduced a bill that aims to ban horse-drawn carriages from operating in the city.
The legislation, if passed, would end the practice beginning June 1, 2024 and replace the wagons with horseless electric carriages that would provide trips within Central Park and certain areas of Manhattan.
Under the legislation, the city would oversee a program to lease or sell the electric carriages to current horse-drawn cab drivers who would get preference for licenses to operate the new vehicles. The new electric carriage drivers would also be paid prevailing or union wages set by the city comptroller.
Horse-drawn carriages, although controversial due to animal welfare concerns, have been a fixture of Central Park since the 1850s and continue to be a massive tourist attraction, proponents say.
However, Holden says that it’s time for the city to move on and scrap the practice for good.
“New York has always been a city of innovation and there is no reason to continue to use these horses this way,” Holden, a Democrat, said in a statement to the Queens Post.
“We can end their needless suffering and improve carriage drivers’ livelihood at the same time.”
Holden said the electric carriages could generate extra income for the drivers since they can be operated all year round, unlike the horse-drawn carriages which are forbidden during heat waves or inclement weather. The vehicles would have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, with the speed capped at 3 miles an hour while operating inside Central Park.
Two Queens councilmembers, Tiffany Cabán, a progressive, and Joann Ariola, a Republican, are among nine lawmakers who are co-sponsoring the bill.
However, it is unclear whether the legislation would pass a majority vote inside the 51-member city council chamber.
Furthermore, Mayor Eric Adams does not support the ban and the chamber would require a two-thirds majority to override a potential mayoral veto. Adams, however, has said he is prepared to discuss the legislation.
In last year’s mayoral election, Adams was backed by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) that also represents the horse-drawn carriage riders — who vehemently oppose such a ban.
Carriage drivers and the TWU argue that the horses are well looked after and work under favorable conditions.
Tony Utano, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, told the New York Post last week that the horses receive physical exams by horse veterinarians up to four times a year and new shoes every 4 to 6 weeks. They also get regular dental care, vaccinations, hoof trimming, he said.
“They have comfortable and clean stalls, spend their days in the 843-acre park – and get at least five weeks’ vacation on farms every year,” Utano said.
Meanwhile, animal rights campaigners such as the anti-horse carriage group — New Yorkers for a Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) — argue that the horses are being exploited and often get spooked by oncoming traffic – leading to crashes and injuries.
NYCLASS says the horses have also been made to work in extreme heat and with visible injuries.
The group held a rally with Holden outside city hall last week in support of the bill.
📢Massive City Hall rally today introducing a NEW bill to replace cruel horse carriages with innovative horseless versions with lead sponsor @BobHoldenNYC, whistleblower vet Dr Jim Keen, @kathynajimy, @KeithPowersNYC, @galeabrewer + & @peta
🚨Let’s get this done @nyccouncil pic.twitter.com/tNeWtlxSil
— NYCLASS (@nyclass) July 14, 2022
How about regulating the pedicabs who hustle & rip off the tourists?
Maybe this is a push by Uber to replace the horse drawn carriages with an electric tech company , they have no problem paying off the power to be, just look what happened to the taxi business .
As for nyclass the never got their quid pro quo for donating millions to mayor Bozo and are still trying to acquire the stable
Building, corruption is big business
Keep the Horses and get rid of the bike lanes screwing up the city, traffic, and parking.
Does Robert Holden care about animal welfare more than human welfare? It’s a serious question. Please pose it to the council member.
everyone lover horses more than the Amish…only hipster types pretend to love the Amish to make themselves appear morally superior to others to feed their own egos…they secretly dislike the Amish more than anyone…
Thank you for your answer. So a translation of this presumed Holden supporter is:
I [a presumed Holden supporter] love horses more than black people, but you [hipster] secretly dislike black people more than me.
Astonishing if utterly predictable. Can you confirm you are a Robert Holden supporter who supports this bill? Also can the council member himself speak to his positions on choke holds and general thoughts on black New Yorkers in his district and across the city?
the post was a criticism of hipsters and their faux crusading…it never mentions Holden or chokeholds and never mentions support of Holden. your “translation” is way off…the post speaks for itself and does not need a “translation”…
So, are you now denying you’re a racist? Incredible, if it weren’t so predictable. I guess I didn’t need to ask, but the questions about choke holds were clearly aimed at the council member himself, who, like you, has a little bit of a racism problem.
Btw I don’t disagree completely about hipsters faux crusading. Just try to rezone their school districts and they will say the most racist things you have ever heard in public without an ounce of shame. Speaking of which, where does Robert Holden stand on school rezonings in his district? Would he support diversifying the school districts in Middle Village?
Aww. Horse carriages are beautiful and magical. Make great selfies too.
And ban the NYPD from riding horses in the city!!! Tired of seeing them in the neighborhood every year. Its animal abuse!!
What does these people think will happen to all the horses if they don’t have carriages to pull, they will be slaughtered and made into pet food and glue. The dream that they get to live out their lives in green pastures all happy and content is fairytale stuff. Holden and his buddies just want to develope the stable properties and make lots of money out of it. Anyone who thinks they care about anything else is in loo loo land !
That’s a complete lie. There are animal sanctuaries all over, many upstate. I visit them frequently and volunteer. This is where the horses will be sent. Do your research. While you’re at it, look up the horses hit by cars on Central Park South.
This anti horse carriage group was started and funded by a real estate developer that wanted to buy the stables where they keep the horses and build a high rise. When it failed to work the group continued and even grew. That developer and his crew laugh about it to this day. This legislation is stupid and the anti horse group movement started under nefarious intentions
with all in the organization unaware of the origins of their group.
And DeBlasio exploited it in his mayoral campaign against Quinn.
In other words, neigh means neigh!