Editor's Note

Editor’s note: Policymakers must stop the continued suffering of carriage horses

The city’s elected officials are missing how New Yorkers have a lot of love for animals by not addressing this controversy.

A horse-drawn carriage with customers rides through Central Park.

A horse-drawn carriage with customers rides through Central Park. Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Some pet owners in New York City push their dogs and cats around in strollers. I never quite got the point of such a posh amenity for a furry friend. For cats maybe because, well, they are cats. Dogs still need a good walk. Then after meeting the owner of two small dogs, who considered herself their “mommy,” I realized the strollers are all about love. This pedestrian preferred walking her dogs in a sheltered doggy carriage where they were protected from larger animals and the weather.

She’s not alone. Walk the streets enough and you’ll spot plenty of other pet owners doing the same in the city. It’s clear there’s a lot of love out there for animals, which is why it’s sad to see the city’s elected officials not lending more attention to the continued suffering of carriage horses. There have been heart-breaking stories about horses collapsing this summer and of questionable care for the animals.

Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents carriage drivers, has called for legislation that would create more oversight of the industry, among other requests, including a new trough to keep the horses hydrated. Opponents to the industry like the nonprofit NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets) have mounted a campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages. City Council Member Robert Holden also has introduced a bill to replace the carriages with electric ones by 2024.

The debate over horse-drawn carriages has dragged on for years. It’s time for policymakers to see that they deserve to be protected just the same as other furry beasts loved by New Yorkers.