ASPCA and New York City advocacy groups call for reforms to city's carriage horse industry

ASPCA and New York City advocacy groups call for reforms to city's carriage horse industry

Nov 23, 2011
By staff
New York, N.Y. -- ASPCA and other advocacy groups hosted a rally to announce their support of legislation calling for a phase-out of horse carriages in Manhattan.

At a minimum, the groups want reforms including certification and mandatory veterinary examinations.

A second rally on Nov. 21, hosted by New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), was organized to flaunt the collection of 55,000 signatures on a petition in favor of the passage of Intro 86A by New York City Council.

The bill calls for horse carriages to be replaced with electric-powered “horseless carriages” to replicate turn-of-the-century cars. Advocates say the legislation would transform the industry while maintaining jobs, generate revenue, attract tourists and aim to provide a better life for the city’s carriage horses.

Cries for reform of the carriage-horse industry is in response to a string of horse-related incidents over the last five months, ASPCA says. In fact, ASPCA and New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) have compiled a list of reforms for the carriage-horse industry, including increased penalty for drivers working during a suspension, the ability to issue a preventive closure in advance of inclement weather or a city-wide state of emergency, restricting operations only to Central Park, and developing stricter regulations on the horses’ working conditions.

Also, the reforms call for certification of carriage horses, requiring a veterinarian's examination of each horse within three months of initial licensure. A second veterinary exam would be required when horses return from vacation prior to returning to work.

“Until we pass Intro 86A, at minimum we must ensure these necessary reforms are put in place and that the industry adheres to these basic principles,” says Manhattan Borough Council member Sara Gonzales. “The recent collapses of carriage horses on our city streets attest to the urgent need for reform so these beautiful creatures are afforded the dignity they deserve.”

ASPCA recently suspended one of its own veterinarians after the veterinarian issued a revised statement about the death of one of the New York City carriage horses.

Read that story here.