The horse-drawn carriage industry has been popular in New York City for generations. Barring inclement weather, you can see the horses pulling elaborate carriages through Central Park. Locals are indifferent, but they are a big draw for tourists, as they provide a unique way to explore the city’s largest park.
However, animal rights activists and others have blasted the horse-drawn carriage industry as antiquated and cruel. Moreover, most can’t justify the price tag. Rides start at around $165 per hour.
Over the years, carriage horses have collapsed from heat, illness and exhaustion. The most recent known incident happened last month. A horse collapsed in front of stunned onlookers, who took out their phones.
The New York Times reports “the driver frantically tried to rouse the horse, and police officers sprayed it with hoses to cool it down.”
The footage sparked a robust discussion about horse-drawn carriages. But there have been concerns since the late 1800s, when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was established.
In modern times, former mayor DeBlasio said he would ban horse-drawn carriages. He didn’t.
The New York Times writes “video of the horse, thin and prone on the pavement, reignited calls from residents, celebrities and politicians to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry. The Manhattan district attorney is investigating the incident. A bill before the City Council would replace the carriages with electric versions.”
Montreal, Chicago and other cities banned horse-drawn carriages some time ago.
The horse who collapsed, Ryder, is recovering on a farm eighty miles from Manhattan. There, he has ample room to roam freely- something city horses can’t enjoy.
Following the incident with Ryder, “the carriage horse industry itself has called upon the city to step up oversight. Its requests include a full-time city equine veterinarian, updated rules and training for drivers, and the creation of a carriage horse stable inside Central Park.”
Would you like to see New York’s carriage horse industry go the way of circuses with animal acts?