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Carriage horses often live and work in inhumane conditions. While some municipalities around the country are moving toward alternatives to horse-drawn carriages in their busy streets, less progressive cities continue to ignore both the public safety risks and well-documented animal welfare concerns.

Horse-drawn carriages should not share the same roadways as motor vehicles. It puts both the animals and public at risk. As prey animals, horses have a highly developed flight drive that is easily triggered when they are startled by an unexpected or threatening stimulus. This reaction can happen to even the best-trained and well-mannered horses, and is often the cause of accidents for horse-drawn carriages.

There have been several carriage horse accidents that demonstrate the inherent safety risks of forcing a 2,000-pound prey animal to pull tourists in carriages. In April 2014 alone, accidents involving horse-drawn carriages occurred in Savannah, Cleveland, Charleston and New York City, resulting in injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians and horses involved.

Read more from HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle »

NYC residents: Help get carriage horses off the streets by making your voices heard »

NYC Introduces Bill to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

The most recent independent audit of the New York City carriage industry by the city comptroller found that the horses are not provided with enough water, risk overheating on hot asphalt and are forced to stand in their own waste in their stables. The horses can be worked up to nine hours a day, seven days a week, in extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

In December 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced legislation (Intro. 573) that would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. The legislation would prohibit the current carriage horses from being sold to slaughter and provide alternative job training and opportunities for carriage horse industry workers.

The HSUS applauds Mayor de Blasio and the councilmembers who introduced this legislation. The HSUS is offering lifelong sanctuary to some of these horses at our Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and Duchess Sanctuary.

NYC residents: Take action!

News & Events

  • January 20, 2016

    Legislation to Limit Horse Carriage Industry to Central Park Introduced

    In regards to the recently introduced compromise agreement that would limit horse-drawn carriages to Central Park and create other favorable conditions for the horses, Brian Shapiro, New York state director for The Humane Society of the United States issued the following statement:

  • February 9, 2015

    Help Dogs, Cats, and Other Animals by Changing State Laws at Humane Lobby Day

    You can help pass laws that protect animals in your state. Humane Lobby Day is easy, fun and guaranteed to make you feel like a powerful animal activist. We'll help you find the Humane Lobby Day in your state.

  • January 7, 2015

    HSUS Positions Relating to Equine Protection

    The HSUS's Equine Protection Department is committed to improving the welfare of horses, burros, donkeys, and other equines through education, advocacy, and direct support. Learn our positions on soring, horse slaughter, euthanasia, horse racing, rodeos, wild mustang and burro management, responsible horse ownership and breeding, carriage horses and the use of horses in PMU (pregnant mare urine) production.

  • August 17, 2012

    The HSUS Issues Statement in Wake of Accident Involving New York City Carriage Horse

    The HSUS’ New York State Director Brian Shapiro is issuing the following statement in response to news reports that a carriage horse in New York City was involved in an accident:

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