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After Years of Fighting to Ban Horse Carriages, NYCLASS' Crusade Is Over

by WNYC | 3.27.18

Jul 17, 2017 · by Danny Lewis

After years of advocating for a complete ban on Manhattan's iconic horse-drawn carriages, an animal rights group says its crusade to end the industry is over.

Since 2013, New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets, or NYCLASS, has pushed for city officials to remove the horses from the streets of Manhattan. But in a statement released Monday, the group says it is stepping back from that fight.

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The group rose to political prominence during the 2013 mayoral election, when NYCLASS raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to challenge then-city council speaker Christine Quinn's mayoral bid. During the Democratic primaries, then-candidate Bill de Blasio endorsed their cause, promising to ban the industry on his first day in office.

Since then, though, the animal rights group has met with opposition from both politicians and the public. A proposal by NYCLASS to replace the horse-drawn carriages with electric cars fell flat, and the group was later fined by the city Campaign Finance Board for violating spending limits in contributions to several city council campaigns and to de Blasio's own mayoral campaign. Even after years of haggling with the union that represents the carriage drivers, a 2016 deal to keep the horses off city streets in exchange for new city-built stables collapsed at the last minute.

Now, NYCLASS says it's giving up on the ban in hopes of making more progress in making the horses' lives better.

"Our goal has always been protecting the health and well-being of the horses and our focus is now on removing horses from Times Square and other dangerously traffic-congested areas of Midtown, ensuring that they don't end up slaughtered, and making the carriage stable stall sizes more like those for the NYPD mounted unit," NYCLASS wrote in a statement. "We are meeting with elected officials and stakeholders and believe there's support for these commonsense improvements."

Among those improvements: restricting their movements to Central Park and a proposal to restrict the carriages to bike lanes.


Written by WNYC

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  • Skyelav

    Stip picking small fights. By and large the NYC carriage horses are well cared for. Accidents happen in every area. Tell animal rights to picket overt abuse as I. Horse racing

  • Mary

    Respectfully, this is not somehing we should encourage or support in 2018. It is pure animal abuse. Those horses stand in the freezing cold or excessive heat. Vehicles are impatient around them and have no concern for their welfare. The horses are not well cared for as implied by the drivers or their owners. They are housed in dirty stalls not far from the food carts peddled thought NYC. Roaches, rodents and terrible working conditions make this a reprehensible practice. There is nothing romantic or pleasant about this service. Tourists can find better ways to spend their time and money.