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Zoe Stolbun  - January 30, 2009      

My name is Zoe Stolbun. I support Intro 658A and I’m against 653.  All my life I’ve lived in Manhattan District 4, where the horses work.  I’ve seen many instances over the years of carriage horses being abused, even beaten. Most recently I saw a horse tied up so tight it could hardly move its head. The driver told me that “John Wayne said to ‘tie ‘em tight’.”  I called the ASPCA but they said they get complaints all the time and there’s nothing they can do.      

This isn’t to say that all carriage industry workers intentionally abuse the horses, but it’s impossible to protect the animals from those who do since the horses live mostly outside objective scrutiny. With more than one person handling the horses, NO ONE can assure you that the horses are properly treated.  And how could it be otherwise?  Horse-drawn carriages are a business. That means the horse’s care will always be secondary to finances.     

So why does this practice continue?  The one thought that keeps resonating is that horse-drawn carriages are a tradition in New York City.  There’s a long and shameful of list of traditions that have provided incomes for people at the expense of those who are vulnerable:

The original Central Park Carousel was powered for decades by a blind mule and a horse that walked a treadmill in an underground pit. The carousel made children happy so the practice persisted.   

Horses used to be dwarfed to only a few feet high for work in coal mines, never to see the light of day.

Another respected tradition is dog fighting – yes, it provides livelihoods in many cultures.

And don’t forget slavery & child labor – these were traditions thought to be very important economically.     

If you don’t think that horse-drawn carriages belong on the list of shameful traditions, talk to equine veterinarian Holly Cheever, reread the December 8, 2007 press release from the ASPCA, and watch ‘Blinders’, the documentary film.   

Don’t let tradition be an excuse for allowing abuse.  Not in this city, where we take pride in finding new and better solutions.  There are certainly ways to enjoy tradition and earn livelihoods without using whips and straps on vulnerable animals restrained between carriage shafts and in tiny stalls. 

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