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Help Carriage Horses in NYC

Written by PETA | July 11, 2007

I’ve never understood the whole carriage horse attraction. Setting aside the animal rights thing for a second, I just don’t get how people could possibly construe riding around a loud busy city in a non-air-conditioned buggy while smelling horse crap the whole time as even the slightest bit romantic. I’ve always found it totally absurd. But believe it or not, that’s not what this post is about . . .

Fund4Horses/Creative Commons

Last week a spooked horse used for carriage rides collided with a taxi cab in NYC, injuring the horse and taxi driver. Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident. Carriage and car collisions and other such accidents have occurred in nearly every location where horse-drawn carriages are allowed. The last one I heard about was last year when a horse was euthanized after bolting from his carriage and slamming into a station wagon—the driver received a fractured skull and a medically induced coma. You may remember that case because Martha Stewart’s daughter, Alexis, jumped on it and brought some much needed attention to the issue. The same year, two other people were seriously injured in collisions, and one horse was repeatedly whipped after collapsing in Central Park—she died in her stall the next morning. Anyway, this latest incident—there have been more than 20 in the past 10 years—happened on July 4th, when a horse became spooked and ran into a taxi cab, resulting in lacerations of the horse’s leg and hospitalization of the cab driver.

The harsh reality here is that as long as horses are forced to work in loud and busy city environments, these accidents will continue to happen regularly. And in addition to the clear danger it poses to people, the horses’ hooves and legs suffer from constant pounding on hard pavement and the smoke and exhaust fumes from urban traffic can make them ill.

So, please take a moment to click here to join us in urging the New York City council to ban the outdated and cruel horse-drawn carriages that endanger animals, drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Palm Beach, Fla., London, Paris, and Toronto have all banned carriage horses because of cruelty to animals, and it’s time for New York City to join them.

IneTours/Creative Commons

And don’t worry about the tourists. They’ll be fine. If they insist on sticking out like a sore thumb they can still take one of the super cheesy roof-top bus tours . . .

Commenting is closed.
  • Julie says:

    The PETA magazine said to come to this website to find out how we can help carriage horses. Sotell me how can we help???

  • Rosemary Locatelli says:

    I had lived in N.J. and always visited NYC. thought it was cruel that the horse driven buggies were being abused from the person who owned it. seen horses collapse in the heat or cold. Those people should be locked up. When reading the magazine and seeing this article it really made me sick.I always donate.

  • Anita Gerami says:

    As the klargest fleet owner of nyci feel compelled to differ in opinion.Our horses earn our livingand they are licensed insured and well cared for.The up keep of keeping 20+ horses in nyc is very expensivewe go up and beyond what we ”have to do by law”we have a equine dentist come in regularly and have our shoes replaced every 4 weekswe rotate our horses which is not mandated and yet with the price of fuel and tollswe happily transpotr our own horses to our own farm.I can understand people who want to see horses well cared for and not abusedmyself and my family are the 1st ones to send money to rescues to get horses out of bad situationsand even foster rescue horses at our own farm till they are placed.However working horses are not abused horsesthey get constant steady care and have a 24 hr staff at hand at all times.To support the issue of animals in general shouldn’t workthen that would have to include showing them riding them and pleasure driving themas anytime a person uses a horseeven though they might consider it a sport or hobbythat horse is ”working” for them.I truly think the fact that we make good money at using our horsesmakes some people jealous no matter how well we treat our horses.The main issue in the end is we love and respect our animalsand we are Blessed enough to absoulutly enjoy being able to employ and work with all our horses.

  • Anita Gerami says:

    Mayai thank you for being 1 of the few writers on this website who is polite and rational.We use the very same streets as the Mounted Police Horseswho i seem to never hear a complaint on these horses.Some are cared for by the same Vet who treats both Carriage Police Horses.There are NYC Police Officers who drive and even own carriage horseswe are a very profesional group of horse ownersif if for 1 second our horses health would be in danger we would not be here.WE do what we do because we love working with horsesand to havea profession thats a piece of the past is even a better reason for driving our horses.As any sportrisk and injury are a possibiltyrace horsespolice horsesshow horsescan get get injured as wellhoweverraces go on dailyshows continue to be performed and patrol horses work the city streets too.For 68 horses working daily and nightly every nightthe satistic of accidents are very lowits just that they are media frenzy when it occurs.We own horses for many yrsthat are still workingand are very healthy and soundand they seem to enjoy what they do.If horses are tried and don’t adapt to their jobthey are turned back to their original owners or are given to horse rescues for rehoming.

  • Maya says:

    Anita Thank you for your response. I would never want to accuse anyone of something not backed up by science. I hear you about the specially fitted shoes but I’m curious about what pavement does to a horse’s legs. Isn’t it damaging to their leg bones? Also I’m still sure that a crowded city is kind of a risky place for a horse and carriage. I understand what your opinion is but I base my posts on science not opinion. I want to see science prevail so I have no problem with admitting if you are right and I am wrong. Therefore I would like to see a neutral veterinarian’s opinion on this sometime. Peace Maya

  • Anita Gerami says:

    MayaAs a long time Business Owner of the largest fleet of horse carriages in NYCand the largest collection of antique coaches carriages on the east coastmy opinion is the opposite of your views.I see the factthat we employ many Draft horses who would face a horrible fate at the slaughterhouse if they didn’t have a job.A horse that weighs 2000 lbspulling a carriage on roller bearing wheels that are 800900 lbson level ground is not considered even light excercise my Teamsters who use their horses for farm work.Read Rural Heritage magazinea horse can easily pull twice his weightdeadweightnot even on wheels.As for their health in the citythey are specially shod with shoes to protect their feetjust like the police horses.The Vet that oversees most these horses is the City’s vet that cares for the Mounted Police Horses too.As for fumeshorses are above the direct tailpipesnot the like the thousands of dogs that use our city streets.There as been no evidence that horses respitory is endangered anymore than humansdogscats or any other being in nyc.My family i are very proud to operate a carriage service based in NYCand love each day we can walk in our own stable and enjoy our horsesbe it to drive them in Central PKtake them to a movie jobor ride a bride in our Cinderella Coach to Church on her Wedding Day.

  • Maya says:

    Anita I am a certified veterinary nurse so maybe you will listen to me. I agree that PETA is way more negative and harsh than is appropriate. Hopefully they are trying to change that because their ultimate goal is to make life better for the horses that I’m sure are very loved and precious to you. As a professional I must comment that riding horses on pavement cannot possibly be good for their legs. That’s not a matter of opinion it’s a fact. Breathing in car fumes is also bad for any animal with lungs. That’s also a scientific fact. And there’s at least some fumes in NYC wouldn’t you agree? New York City is a very very dangerous place to drive even when wrapped in a car with all the latest safety features. Even though people are forced to drive slowly there are still thousands of accidents each year. Being forced to endure these conditions IS dangerous and cruel to horses as is proven by your own statement. The ASPCA is understaffed as it is. If they are inspecting your facility on a regular basis there must have been reason to worry about the horse’s health otherwise they would not be farming out their resources so often. Please educate yourself on the hazards to your horses and maybe you can be a hero and make life better for these animals since you know a lot about the profession.

  • Anita Gerami says:

    My answering this website is only to try to touch those people who have yet to be contaminated by phony organizationsto generate some ”donations”.Horse dran carriages services are opening up more and morebecause they enjoy riding in a horse carriage.NYC has more licenses to and inspections to operate more than any other city.Stable staff works 24 hrs in all stables to assure the comfort and safety of the horses.The ASPCA Health Dept regularly inspect the stables and conduct street inspections.There is so much bitterness and rage thru all the posts that go off the subject and are purely made by assumptionsmakes me wonder if the only reason they are angry is a lack of something in their own lonely lives.

  • Michele says:

    Whenever one is considering the credibility of a statement or opinion always question the person’s motivation. PETA does not have any financial interest in convincing people to go vegetarian or to stop using products that are tested on animals. They do not get more money or more awards or an increase in a stock value by putting an end to the running of the bulls or by convincing a city to outlaw cruel practices such as horse carriage rides. BUT someone like Anita Gerami sure has a vested interest in defending her “profession” by putting forth pathetic excuses and explanations to support her financial worth. What is the bottom line? Anita Gerami loses bigtime $$$ if more people realize how these horses are being abused. Where I live in the touristy part of downtown Ottawa Canada we have what are called “Rickshaw” rides where people very athletic ones at that pull a small 2person cart around the area showing tourists that part of town. If one is in excellent cardiac shape it would probably not be an impossibly demanding job because the carts are quite light but the point is that the people pulling the carts have the choice to be there or not. Anita Gerami and others’ horses would surely much rather be running carefree around a meadow munching on grass whenever they wanted instead of being forced to run around on hard pavement and to breathe in the noxious fumes of the city’s vehicles.

  • Urmil Dhanda says:

    Pl keep the good work. It is absurd that people give such stupid excuses. Thanks

  • catherine nicoletti says:

    Too bad William Wilburforce is no longer aliveno doubt he would do something about the cruelty to carriage horses

  • mary panos says:


  • Anonymous says:

    GERAMI Is that the new wordextemists? Because I am opposed to cruelty to horses you consider compassion the acts of an extremist? BTW I am wellinformed and am highly educated so I am not from the lunatic fringe as you imply in your very silly transparent and hollow comments. Because I am wellinformed I am an advocate for animals. Your position and your premise is based on the $$$$ money that you so enjoy making off of the misery of these horses my position is based on my love for the horses and of justice. Enough horses have died during wars and as transportation time to give them a place to live in peace. You would do yourself well by trying to buy with your $$$$ money some integrity.

  • Miriam Braschi says:

    I live in Petrpolis Rio de Janeiro Brasil and here also exist horses pushing carriages for tourists it is really a cruel and stupid practice remanescent of the XIX Siecle. Stop with this horrible sacrifice of the poor animals! Miriam

  • Running Wild says:

    anita gerami i’m a horse owner since 40 years and i can distinguish an ill horse from one in good health and what i saw with carriage horses specially in greece and spain is really utterly bad. the horses’ hoofs are not made for asphalt. i hope you put at least a protection piece between the hoof and the iron if not i’m sorry to all you a horse abuser!

  • Ariel says:

    ANITA GERAMI p.s. The TRUTH of the matter is it irritates you because you don’t like to hear the TRUTH about the whole issue. And when it comes to moneyyou even said it yourself “…as many as possible out of cash!”…of which you are not being scammed. Your accusation of “scamming” is really reaching.

  • Ariel says:

    ANITA GERAMI you just don’t get it do you? All you get is the money $$$$. Only us “extremists read this website” ??? Well I think it’s kind of difficult to hide the eyewitness accounts of the horserelated accidents that were in plain view of the people in NYC as well as it is difficult to convince the people who were victims of the accidents that it wasn’t the cause. Have to disappoint you again 1. Not one of us who are against animal cruelty ever made even one penny. We volunteer ourselves for FREE. 2. We are not “antihorse” as you say. We are anticruelty and use common sense that horses are not for entertainment purposes to drudge on the pavement in all kinds of inclement weather especially in a big city that is not naturally instinctive to them. So you will continue to dupe the naive public you can continue to tell of your lack of knowledge about horses you can continue to rake in the bucks and I guess you can continue to sleep at night while the accident victims of your business suffer trauma. That’s brings us to a full conclusion that money means more to you than any species of life.

  • Carolyn Barnes says:

    Personnaly I lived in New York for 2 years and never once did I want a ride from a horse and carriage. In a world full of cars I believe that the horses have paid their debt to society building America and they ALL should be having a happy wonderful retirement!!!!

  • Anita Gerami says:

    As well expectedonly peta extremists read this websitethe normal general public wouldn’t bother to see such crap and read lies pumped to them by uneducated ill informed ”donation collectorswho want to use our Carriage Horses to scam as many as possible out of cash!Shame on petato feed all these lieswhen they never once walked in a stable in nycor have been involved with any aspect of our industry! Business increases every yrplus carriages are now opening in other NYC parksstarting with Prospect Pk in Brookynthats what the public obviously demands.Sorryanti horse peoplewith business increasing you will see more working horses employed and flourishing !

  • Ariel says:

    ANITA GERAMI yeah we’re a bunch of “uneducated” people who don’t have the slighest clue about head injuries comas and injuries in general. The people who sustained injuries and accidents caused through your business well they were just making it up to get attention right? And those of us who work in the medical field can’t tell the difference between an injury and a pile of crap being spewed out right? You want to talk about “profits” you’re the one who is doing it for the money and don’t give a darn about human or animal life. And I think it is YOUR responsiblity to warn the general public about the potential dangers involved. If not you should be held legally responsible right from the start.

  • Ryan Dolan says:

    i mean really who cares….the horses are inspected and looked at by vets there not treated cruely and there fed and watered…sorry people but really its a horse

  • doug says:

    anita i live in Toronto and every time i visit Manhattan I tell all the carriage drivers that I am soooo proud that my city banned such an evil and cruel practice!!!!! im sorry but you are scum at the highest level and I shouldn’t even be waisting these keystrokes bad bad person

  • Ana says:

    anita gerami what a lot of horse manure you wrote…I need several shovels for that comment… what you really mean is…..I enjoy making a lot of money $$$ off of the backs of these miserable and mistreated horses…. how about anita getting into the business of compassion!!

  • Running Wild says:

    to anita gerami carriage rides are one of the last remains of horse abuse from last centuries. running on asphalt destroys the horses’ legs and so you can see many of these poor creatures putting one leg forward that means they are already ill and feel much pain. when they are lame they are thrown to the butchers for reward. You just speak for carriage rides because you make money with it. But it is not right to stay with death penalty just to avoid the executioner losing his job! People can walk or take a taxi let the horses in peace let them free they did really enough during history and stop to profit on animals!

  • kelly says:

    Anita Gerami SORRY I know people involved in your marginal “trade” You have big problems and you know it! And the disgusting tax avoidance is widespread as is the case with most grayarea disreputable “businesses” It’s up to YOU to clean up your act It’s a disgrace

  • Jaclyn says:

    I’m from New Orleans we have horse and carriage rides. I’ve also visited many other cities that have them as well. I have NEVER been tempted to get into one of the rides. Maybe it’s the manure stink… maybe its the irritating ownersdrivers whatever they are that insist on trying to sell you an overpriced ride on a hot summer day… maybe its because the horses I’ve seen never look vibrant and healthy but sickly and thirsty and tired… Sorry Anita Gerami it is not my thing. The horses are lined up on the street most tourists cross the street to avoid the stink. You look down at the water… it’s dirty. The horses are in the hot sun… the ownersdrivers are under the tree fanning themselves. I’m sure somewhere in the U.S there is a carriage horse company that uses a horse that is willing and exicited about going to work everyday even with no pay. Somewhere there is the perfect company that will never have any accidents that hurt humans and the animals.

  • Anita Gerami says:

    As the owner of the largest fleet of Carriage Horses Carriages in NYCits really irrating to have a group of people who are totally uneducated about our industry.Thankfully the general public see things differentlyand is proven by the increase of rides every yr.What a ridiclous statement displaying cities who don’t have carriage rides ”anymore”when some of these cities NEVER had them to begin with! Guess its not profitablefor these ”organizations” to mention the cities who are adding carriage rides to their citycause it is so popularand in demand by the public.The recent accidentwas exactly thata accidentinstead of gloating in the glory of using it against a legalfully insured businessthese ”activists” should work with the industrynot against it.I realizethis might not be ”accepted”by the moderator to publishbut this is spoken from somebody who can honestly speak from expierience.

  • leilani says:

    please any other facts that you come accross please dont hesitate to pass them on. l am hoping to change the City of Melbournes Australia attitude to these poor horses….. our guidlines are so weak thats all they are guidelines we have had horses die !! Leilani

  • kelly says:

    This carriage horse thing is ridiculous. It is incredibly dangerous for everyone slows down traffic and doesn’t belong in a city. Not to mention these people don’t declare their income or underreport it and don’t pay proper taxes! A total scam at our expense

  • mary panos says:

    hard to believe a person would whip a horse to death in NYC for collapsing in Central parkwas he arrested