Christina Hansen, a carriage driver in New York City spoke at the annual meeting of the National Animal Interest Alliance, in November, 2014, presenting the current status of the drivers, their horses, and the incredible public support they have received for the preservation of their businesses, following Mayor de Blasio’s promises to shutter their stables, ban horse-drawn carriages from the city, and replace the carriages with electric cars.
Christiana described the history of the carriage rides as well as the attempts to ban this industry, as detailed on the Save NY Horse Carriages website.
As explained there, the horses “in the NYC carriage business are some of the most fit, content, tractable, and beautiful horses you will find anywhere. Much of this is due to the fact that they are some of the most well-cared for horses you find anywhere!”
“Each and every NYC carriage horse lives in one of our four historic stables, buildings which were built specifically as stables in the 19th century. Each of the stables have been retro-fitted to include high-pressure sprinkler systems in case of fire.”
As Christina explained, the current ban proposals started in 2007 when “Queens Councilman Tony Avella introduce[d] a bill to repeal all aspects of the NYC administrative code pertaining to horse-drawn cabs.”
This bill was introduced shortly after the NYC’s Comprtoller’s audit of the horse carriage industry found adequate regulation, training, and oversight of the industry and ASPCA, the entity empowered to enforce the laws, found no significant violations involving the care of the horses.
Despite that finding, as reported on the website, ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres said:
“The ASPCA has always wanted to see the carriage horse industry in New York City come to an end, but until now, such a bill had not been introduced. Increased accidents, the recent death of a carriage horse and the city comptroller’s report all underscore the urgency to get these horses off the streets.” (citing horsetalk.co.nz)
Christina insists the horse are well cared for.
- Each and every NYC carriage horse occupies a box stall;
- All horses are given mandatory-by-law 5 week vacations-at-pasture outside NYC, and most spend 3-6 months at pasture each year;
- Horses are required to have vet exams twice a year by law; in the event that they vacation outside of NY state, the vet exams increase to four times a year;
- Their horses must be between the ages of 5 and 26 years old by law; most horses are between 7 years old and 20.
Carriage rides in Central Park have been available to New Yorkers and tourists alike for 155 years.
I have seen the stables in NYC, but you should visit yourself if you want to see how well these horses are cared for.
The drivers invite you to attend their open stable, at 618 West 52nd Street, Monday or Tuesday, February 16-17, 2015 between 1-5 pm.