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Last week during New York City’s record heatwave, a carriage horse named Billy was found dead in his stall, according to the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).

This is just the latest incident that highlights the dangers of this industry and how these animals are used and abused for entertainment. Although there is a law that horses must be removed from the streets when temperatures reach 90 degrees, it is not always upheld.

DOHMH reported that the 14-year-old Belgian draft horse died “apparently from colic” on July 20, when temperatures reached a high of 96 degrees in Manhattan, with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees by 11 AM.

“The fact that this horse likely died a long, painful death without receiving proper medical care is inexcusable. Like many carriage horses in New York City, Billy died as he lived – in extreme heat, under terrible conditions, isolated in a tiny stall, neglected and alone. Many questions remain, but one thing is clear: the city must initiate a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances of this horse’s death,” said Edita Birnkrant, NYCLASS Executive Director.

NYCLASS is calling for the NYPD to conduct a review through the animal cruelty unit as well as an independent veterinarian. They say that the following questions must be answered by an independent investigation.

  • Given the extreme symptoms of colic, was the horse previously examined by a veterinarian?
  • Colic is not followed by instant death. How could this horse have simply dropped dead from an agonizing condition without anyone detecting a problem?
  • Why did heat suspensions only go into effect at 2 PM on the day of and before Billy’s death despite 90+ temperatures recorded hours earlier?
  • What, if any, oversight measures are currently in place to ensure these rules are followed and enforced?

A new bipartisan bill will replace horse carriages with modern electric carriages. This will not only reduce horse deaths but make the streets safer for New Yorkers. The bill also requires owners to pay drivers a prevailing wage, as these drivers often receive few, if any, benefits or standard worker protections.

Source: Equine Advocates/Youtube

Animal rights activists and animal lovers have long attempted to ban the use of horses to transport tourists. The electric carriages would be low-speed vehicles that would be limited to three miles per hour in Central Park, according to the bill. Drivers would be able to work more, get better pay, and better benefits than they do now using live animals.

Unfortunately, these exhausted prisoners for profit often collapse and are treated horribly. In March, a horse in Central Park stumbled multiple times before finally collapsing on the pavement, and multiple men continued to try to make the animal stand up.

Similarly, a few months ago, a heartbreaking video was shared on Facebook showing carriage drivers in NYC violently mishandling a collapsed horse named Luciana.

Horse-drawn carriages and horse rides are not quaint and romantic! These poor horses are subject to walking for hours on end in sometimes extreme weather without adequate breaks. We need to work toward banning carriage rides and protecting these animals from being exploited!

Sign this petition and tell New York that it’s time to end horse-drawn carriage rides.

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