Celebrity-Stuffed PETA Video Denounces Carriage Horse Industry, Urges de Blasio To Ban It Already

Screenshot via PETA
The battle over carriage horses in the city is dragging on and on, with no end in sight, and, as yet, no bill introduced in the City Council that would actually ban the industry and replace it with the classic cars favored by animal rights group NYCLASS. While Bill de Blasio famously promised "an immediate ban" on carriage horses during his campaign, the mayoral reality hasn't been quite so neat; a recent Newsday story found that 19 city council members are undecided on the merits of a ban, versus 15 who support it and eight who oppose it.

Neither side definitely has the 26-vote majority they'd need for victory, and in the meantime, everyone is ramping up their publicity. First there was Liam Neeson's big visit to the Clinton Park stables, where he called carriage driving "a beautiful industry." And yesterday, PETA released a new video wherein millions of celebrities denounce the carriage horse industry as cruel and inhumane. If you were waiting to hear what Dave Navarro's eyebrows think about horses before you made up your mind, wait no more.

Here's the full video:

As you can see, it's also a not-so-subtle nudge to de Blasio to go ahead and take action on the carriage horses; viewers are being encouraged to tweet at the mayor with the hashtag #TYdeBlasio. Neither the mayor nor Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, who also supports a ban, have spoken publicly about the bill in quite a while. Mark Viverito told WABC in January she was "not sure" when a ban bill might be reintroduced.

In the meantime, we've got this ongoing war of words and famous people. PETA spokesperson Dan Mathews tell us the non-profit's reliance on celebrities is "a numbers game: if it was my boyfriend in the video, all of our dozens of friends would see it; when someone like Pink, who has 22 million followers is in it, millions take notice and become more informed on the issue. Because this is an issue involving tourists, it's of interest to everyone around the world who visits the city, not just New Yorkers."

Christina Hansen, not surprisingly, feels differently. She's a carriage driver and a spokesperson for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, an industry group. She tells the Voice via email that the latest PETA video is "a tone-deaf compilation of old, tired, and false material," adding, "This is a desperate attempt on the part of a few very wealthy donors to PETA and to Bill de Blasio's mayoral campaign to remind the Mayor who bought and paid for him on this issue." (Hansen says she suspects, too, that PETA sped up the footage to make midtown traffic look more dangerous than it is: "The horses trotting in traffic have obviously been sped up, from the rate of their footfalls.")

This fun and productive back-and-forth between the two sides will continue until the City Council pulls itself out of its apparent stupor and just puts this thing to a vote already.

Hansen's full statement is on the following page.

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The horses are well cared for and happy. It's apparent by their appearance. Does PETA want to pay to take care of the horses? A rescue won't take them because they don't need to be resued! They are taken care of and are domesticated animals. If they stop the indusry who will take care of them? Will they go to auction? Then what? Some may get a good home but most will go to slaughter? Why can't PETA go find places where the animals are being abused? Like dog fighting or where people are starving the animals. I guess the city is a matter of "convenience protesting". Protest close to where you live on a nice day. There's not that much effort to that or to the purpose of PETA which is to protect animals.


The NYC Carriage horse's are cared for extremely well and have a easy life. PETA kills more healthy animals that could be adopted, they don't think anyone should be pet owners.FACT: As a general rule, horses are capable of pulling 2-3 times their own body weight on wheels over paved ground pretty much all day long. The average carriage horse today weighs 1200 – 1800 lbs. The typical commercial vis-à-vis used in cities around the world weighs 900 – 1000 lbs. Even fully loaded, a carriage is quite easy for a large horse to pull. It is the equivalent of an average person pushing a shopping cart with a few gallons of milk in it.A small man can even pull it. Asphalt was designed for horses to walk on to make their jobs easier; the first asphalt in New York City was used on Fifth Avenue in 1872.

frank124c topcommenter

The question is whether or not an animal can suffer. And if they can what about the farm horses that are harnessed and forced to labor for farmers. A good example of this are the Amish in Pennsylvania. Are they to be the next target of the PETA do-gooders?  

epac666 topcommenter

I find it interesting that everyone's complaining about pollution, accidents, living in cramped quarters etc., but apparently this is all ok for humans?


Thank you Christina Hanson for some sensible discussion on the subject.  The film is full of falsehoods, one being that the horses never go out to grass.  By law they have to, for 5 weeks a year, and they have to be vetted on their way out and on their way back in.  The dark interior footage shown is labeled 2007.  That was taken before all the new regulations of 2010 were put in place, so all the stables do not look anything like that and are modernized.  And to cap it all, Hilaria Baldwin is clutching at straws and can only add to the debate, the unsubstantiated claim that  "The horses don't look happy." I'd like to hear her description of what a "happy" horse looks like because I'm betting it is rooted in Walt Disney imagery.


Can there be any doubt that horses do not belong in the city? Life on the streets is misery for the horses who have to pull over-sized loads in heavy traffic and in arduous weather conditions. In the summer, they breathe in lung searing exhaust fumes and plod along scorching asphalt. In the winter, they endure freezing temperatures. They constantly must avoid collisions with careless or impatient drivers—not always successfully.

NO ONE has to lose a job.Drivers will be given first dibs to drive the new, cool vintage eco-cars.And permanent homes are ready and waiting for all 220 horses, the Black Beauty Ranch for one, can take many.

Threatening to kill horses if the rides are ended is an inflammatory tactic to get people upset and turn public opinion in favor of keeping the rides.But the very least the owners/drivers can do for the horses they’ve used to make money is to take responsibility for them.If any horse is sent to slaughter, the blame lies solely with the owner.It’s outrageous that these owners are so ready to kill horses once their “use” is over.

After decades of abuse and suffering, this industry is finally on its way to the history books where it belongs.


@epac666  PETA is concerned with animals, which is what the horses are. There are hundreds of groups and also government agencies that concern themselves exclusively with humans. I would like to point out that people have the freedom of mobility that the animals lack.

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