Media Coverage

NY TIMES (web)   
September 6, 2007,  10:37 am

Audit of Horse-Drawn Carriage Business Finds Inconsistencies   
By Glenn Collins

A carriage waiting for customers at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South. (Photo: Dima Gavrysh for The New York Times)

Call it a horse of a different color. And, er, age, breed, name and – yes – gender as well.

For one of the most fascinating findings in the first audit of the city’s carriage-horse businesses by the New York City comptroller is the strange discrepancy it found when investigators compared the 2005 health certificates of 135 carriage horses with the 2006 certificates.

Fifty-seven of them – 42 percent – offered conflicting physical descriptions of the horses. Including color.

That startling finding is one of many critical conclusions raised in the comptroller’s audit, which found a litany of problems in the carriage industry, from lax veterinary care to infrequent inspections. The audit found that the horses were not provided with enough water, were at risk of overheating on hot asphalt and were forced to stand in their own waste because of inadequate drainage.

The poor record-keeping, it would seem, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Audit language is invariably bland, cautious and inoffensive, but the comptroller’s report says — on the verge of snidely? – that “it would seem important for the [Department of Health] veterinarian to carefully review and compare the current information with the information on prior years’ certificates to ensure that horses are not being switched or that one license number is used for several horses.”

Or, as Elizabeth Forel, president of the Manhattan-based Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, said – considerably more bluntly – the comptroller’s discovery was evidence of “switching horses, or that is just very bad record-keeping.”

We have posted the full text of the audit [pdf] — including responses from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Consumer Affairs, which were taken to task for inadequate oversight of the 221 licensed horses, 293 drivers and 68 carriages.

The audit by the city comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr., is likely to renew calls in some quarters for a ban on horse-drawn carriages, which some activists proposed in July and which became the subject of a heated debate on this blog.



Coalition To Ban
Horse-Drawn Carriages

A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.

The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.

P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025


To honor
Bobby II Freedom
previously known as Billy
ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.

In memory of
Lilly Rose O'Reilly
previously known
as Dada ID# 2711
R.I.P.August, 2007