On August 10, 2022, an emaciated horse named Ryder, who was used for carriage rides, collapsed in the middle of a busy New York City street, likely due to illness and heat exhaustion. He lay on Ninth Avenue for over an hour—with no veterinary care—while his driver slapped him, whipped him, and screamed at him to get up. PETA exposed this horror on social media within minutes. Ryder eventually died but not before a veterinarian’s exam revealed that he was malnourished, sick, and elderly. (His owner had lied about his age to the city and police.)
Emaciated and covered with sores, a horse named Michelle was still forced to haul loads of tourists in New York City’s sweltering heat. Countless troubled residents and visitors reported her deteriorating condition to local authorities, but their concerns were ignored and she was forced to continue pulling a carriage for at least a week.
Predictably, a representative for the carriage union dismissed all the eyewitness evidence and claimed that everything was fine, even though Michelle was reportedly pulled from service as pressure mounted.
It’s past time to ban horse-drawn carriage rides. Laws regulating the carriage trade have long failed horses, many of whom have suffered and died. New York City’s police and health departments don’t have the resources or the inclination to monitor the conditions under which the horses are made to work on a routine basis or to make sure regulations are being followed. Meanwhile, carriage operators fight and flout every rule put in place to protect the horses and the public. Ryder’s driver has been charged in New York City Criminal Court with overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals. This abuse allegedly occurred in front of other carriage drivers and owners, but none intervened. A ban is the only way to protect other horses from suffering and abuse.
PETA joined New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) and other local advocates to call on the city to put an end to the cruelty. Treating horses like machines is a speciesist mindset that must end. Horses are social animals who use 17 facial expressions to communicate with one another. They prefer to spend their time grazing in meadows, roaming at will, playing, and courting.
One administration after another has failed to take decisive action, but the horses can no longer wait.
Please urge Lynn Schulman, chair of the New York City Council Committee on Health, to hold the hearing that is needed to advance Ryder’s Law (Intro 573), which would replace the horses with electric carriages.