PETA Vs NYC’s Carriage Horse Industry

PETA and a coalition of animal rights activists have long battled against New York City’s horse-drawn carriage industry. In a clip issued today, PETA passingly mentions the health of the animals to focus on homophobic and racist statements made by the drivers. Via the Observer:

Pop star Pink just tweeted PETA’s latest video out to her 26 million plus followers, a video that seems to show carriage drivers in moments of hate speech, racism and bigotry. In the video, which appears to have been stitched together from various encounters over the years, a filming passerby asks a coachman by Central Park why his horse is tied to a lamppost. The coachmen then flicks him off and replies with a series of homophobic slurs. “People who don’t live in New York and don’t come to new york don’t realize how much vitriol and hate is inherent in the carriage trade,” Vice President of Media Communications for PETA Dan Mathews told the Observer. “It loses a lot of its luster, and for people sitting on the fence about it, this behavior has no place on the streets of New York.” The city is no stranger to controversy surrounding the carriage industry—a tight union—and Mayor Bill de Blasio has been lobbying for a ban.

  • I’ve seen no evidence that the animals are being mistreated by today’s drivers. The path isn’t broken and harsh, the carriages are safe.

    Eat a horse dick, PETA.

    • royinhell

      The path isn’t broken and harsh? Do you mean inside Central Park, or the long journey through Midtown streets to GET to the park?

    • another_steve

      It’s counter-intuitive — the idea that someone who relies on an animal for a living would intentionally mistreat the animal — but I haven’t studied the issue so I don’t know.

      Surely, non-extremist animal welfare people (unlike the PETA people) have studied the issue and weighed in.

      Do they believe the drivers are mistreating their horses?

      Do they believe making the animals do what they do is cruel and constitutes mistreatment per se?

      • Oscarlating Wildely

        Having a horse run through traffic or alongside vehicular traffic in the most populated city in the United States is a threat to safety, not to mention their own sanity. There are places for the horses to be safely placed and the drivers won’t budge as the tourist dollars won’t follow. Those dollars matter more than the horse’s well-being and safety– and I agree that’s problematic.

      • Sporkfighter

        “It’s counter-intuitive — the idea that someone who relies on an animal for a living would intentionally mistreat the animal — but I haven’t studied the issue so I don’t know.”

        It’s counter-intuitive — the idea that someone who relies on [a slave] for a living would intentionally mistreat the [slave] — but I haven’t studied the issue so I don’t know.

        Yeah, you know.

      • Rand503

        You’ve obviously never read “Black Beauty” as a child.

      • guest

        Many who rely on animals for a living have been accused of abusing them, for example, elephants in the circus, and dolphins at Sea World.

    • guest

      You’ve seen no evidence? How much effort have you really spent on studying this before you arrogantly tell someone off about it?

  • TexasBoy

    I don’t understand what hate speech has to do with the horses, PETA. But then, I don’t understand how eating a greasy fast food chicken sandwich glorifies a deity, either.

    • guest

      Hate speech + mistreating animals = all around disgusting and no reason to keep it around.

      PETA is showing there is no value to this carriage trade, and showing us not to feel sorry for putting homophobes out of business. I support PETA for sticking up for animals and also for not defending homophobia.

      • JustSayin’

        no peta is whining and trying to conflate issues like they always do…

        • Guest

          GET THE HORSES OFF THE STREET AND PUT THE HOMOPHOBES OUT OF WORK! Understood! Your prejudices toward PETA are irrelevant and irrational!

          • ColdCountry

            Not every drive is a homophobe, idiot.

  • Leo

    PETA is a vile, counter-productive organization presenting a red herring here but I don’t see the need for the continuation of the horse-drawn carriage industry either.

    • Oscarlating Wildely

      Reason they are there? Idaho, Utah, Indiana, Montana, and every other place that is chuck full of tourists who descend on the city in the summer months, making the lives of those of us stuck with walking through Midtown a living, breathing, walking hell.

      Against the industry due to the treatment of the horses? Sure, okay, cool I guess, sounds great. Less tourists: Absolutely. Sign me up.

      • Octavio

        To get rid of the tourists you need to appeal to the New York Tourist Bureau. Tell them how annoying all the tourists are and how they are ruining the quality of life you expect to enjoy as a New Yorker. 🙂

        • Oscarlating Wildely

          Oh don’t get wrong– *love* the money they bring. They can just get out of my way on my way to make mine.

          • Octavio

            I dunno. I finally gave up enjoying camping among the rugged red rock of southern Ewetaw after seeing so many signs in the National and State Parks that stated, “Wir sprechen Deutsch.”
            And four-wheeling into Moab only to find all of the stores out of beer? The quality of life just wasn’t the same. 🙂

          • Ian

            Seriously. The summer I spent in NYC on mission for the UN was a constant struggle to get through the day without tackling a tourist who stopped short to take a picture of something shiney!

          • In the summer, Alaska’s roads are clogged with older folks driving motor homes at well below the posted speed. They refuse to pull over and allow the built up traffic to pass, and generally make our trips anywhere a slow boil.

            However, they are only here for 4 months en mass, and while tis tourist season, many wonderful places are open for those few magical months. Many restaurants and hotels are only open during those months as well. We do get tourists from Asia in the winter months to see the northern lights and to ride dog sleds and other winter time pursuits.

      • Suzy

        Or, put in a more pleasant way: if the carriages and pedicabs weren’t there the tourists would get some (most likely) much-needed exercise while visiting Central Park.

        I wouldn’t even mind (well…as much) the obstacle course they form for runners like me.

        • Oscarlating Wildely

          I found an odd solution to this (I don’t jog, just walk a lot) The northeast side of the Park, above the Reservoir, to the west of the gardens at 103. It’s deadsville up there. The views are lovely and the solitude is blissful.

          • Suzy

            I used to run the full loop a lot (both solo and with FRNY), but that 1ish mile circuit at the top was great for speed/hill workouts.

      • Outlaw Woman

        The unmitigated gall of those tourists !
        Actually trying to enjoy New York City !
        What nerve !
        How you SUFFER, ohhh how you SUFFER!

        • Oscarlating Wildely

          I’m all for enjoying NYC. How a bunch of horses strung up along the base of Central Park has anything with experiencing NYC I have no idea.

          The mayor’s proposal has been to move the horses to a safer area, to remove Park congestion, to limit the access of horses to areas that are not also heavily populated by vehicles and people. The drivers won’t budge.

          That’s not enjoying NYC. It’s not good for the horses or traffic. It may be good for tourists but why they can’t walk to another area to experience NYC through an anachronism is unknown.

          Why tourist dollars– hardly isolated or even profitable on that street– trump residents lives I really don’t know. It’s just tourism fodder to assume that the only place the horses could be a draw happens to be from 5th to CPW on 59– one of the most dense part of NYC– and makes it less accessible for all.

          • Outlaw Woman

            Ok ok ok, I was too bitchy in my first response and I apologize, begging your pardon.
            I primarily got a barb from your classification of the “outsiders” (Idahoans, Utahns, as being the object of your ire. Us “outsiders” like a dose of NYC when we get a chance too.

            I was unaware of the mayor proposing other places for hansom cabs to operate, unfortunately the densest areas of Manhattan are the nicest and funnest to visit.

          • Oscarlating Wildely

            No need to apology, clearly understood and if I may, the funnest parts lay beyond– and yes, I know that’s not a word–some really strong gems. I saw Manhattanhenge last week near, of all places, some crap street in Murray Hill. I was floored at its beauty. And the views and walks at the Cloisters, way up and away from no-where: striking. And seeing the sun hit the East River from the Brooklyn side in the morning with Manhattan in the distance– gorgeous. I could go on! I agree: it is a beautiful, magical city.

      • cleos_mom

        Every area that’s a tourist magnet has people who love the ritual of pointing, giggling and wishing harm on them.

        Let all the tourists go home and the shrieks of but the economy!!!!!!!!!!! suggest a factory hog farm in pig-sticking season. It’s one of the most popular and non-partisan forms of hypocrisy going.

  • Gustav2

    I called the drivers every fucking name in the book and I only recorded how vile they were to me. ME, the righteous one!

  • Rocketeer500

    I’ve always heard that these horses were very well cared for… if PETA is trying to expose the personality of a carriage driver, that’s a different story. And PETA, why stop there? Stiff a taxi driver, and see what kind of vulgarity the driver will expel.

    • animal lover

      Well the buggy drivers will definitely say they are well cared for, but no one else does . .

      • ColdCountry

        Not true. I have noticed before that the loudest screechers of abuse are usually the ones who know nothing about horses or how these horses are kept. I also know a former carriage driver, and yes, I do believe her.

  • jomai

    I’m far from a fan of PETA’s but… When I first moved here, my parents wanted to take a carriage ride through the park. I obliged them, and travelled along.

    Halfway through our ride, another carriage passed by, and the driver called out to our driver: “Hello, handsome!”

    As English wasn’t his first language, I can excuse that he didn’t get that he’s actually a handsome cab driver… and it was a funny pun.

    But the invective that followed was gross. I think that was the first time ever that my parents witnessed homophobia. They were uncomfortable for me, for the first time in my life.

  • gaymex

    The hate speech is a red herring. If she’s worried about the horses, show us horse issues. I thought this was a bunch of crap and I’m sympathetic to not allowing the mistreatment of carriage horses.

    • JustSayin’

      i am with you there gaymex, I despise it when anyone tries to conflate issues.

    • ColdCountry

      Like one thing has anything to do with the other. They are grasping at straws.

  • penpal

    There is simply no need, no need whatsoever, to have horse drawn carriages lugging tourists through urban centers clogged with honking taxis and gas-spewing buses. They’re a danger to motorists and worse, to the animals. Good on PETA for raising awareness on the NYC problem, but it also exists in Chicago and elsewhere. Even I can barely tolerate being subjected to the Mag Mile when I need to get to Neiman Marcus. Those poor creatures shouldn’t be subjected to it either. Animals weren’t put on this earth for our entertainment.

    • Octavio

      As a horse owner, I have to agree. I don’t even ride my horse. He hasn’t been saddled in years. And he’s very happy. Aren’t there human-powered jitneys plying the sidewalks and sides of roads in and around Central Park? I think if anyone should be made to work for the pleasure of humans it should be other humans willing to put their bodies where their politics are — peddling overweight people to and from destinations the lard butts should otherwise walk. Neener, neener, and neener. 🙂

      • gaymex

        I’m with you there. I always took better care of my horse than myself. I miss him. Folks who haven’t had a chance to bond with a horse have really missed out. Boy and his horse…great times. Bareback, when it was totally okay.

        • Octavio

          Thumbs up on the bareback part.

    • Freeman

      oh Lord, let’s get you woozy queens some smelling salts.

  • ZhyKitty

    I do hope they’re not making the horses work in the day in this hellacious Southern sun… This is just unbearable heat, even for those of us who are natives. That would be too cruel. It’s much too hot to be alive outside right now. I feel awful for Big Daddy that he has to work outside in this.
    I wouldn’t wish it on anyone…I even keep my big rambunctious dogs inside during the heat of the day and I most certainly won’t go out in it myself unless I absolutely have to. Our dryer is broken so I’m having to use the clothesline. It’s quite a hike in the sun…. I came in dizzy and sick from hanging the last load, that’s how fucking hot it is here.
    It really would be inhumane to make the horses work in this weather.
    I personally wouldn’t have them doing that anyway, in any weather.

    • royinhell

      They are required to bring the horses back to the stables when the temp reaches 90 – but they’ll keep working them until forced to stop.

      • Third son used to work up at Prudhoe Bay in the winter. If you’ve seen Ice Road Truckers, thats why nearly all the outside work is done in the winter. Anyway, they have rules for weather, and when it reaches -30f they must have a running rescue truck nearby. After -80F all outside work must stop. However, the thermometer they use is broken and never shows under -76F or so. He would work outdoors for 15 hours with meal breaks.

        I know that most places fudge the temps to get more work out of both humans and animals, which makes a joke out of the rules. Could they restrict the horses to only Central Park? That would be safer for the horses, but still allow the tourists to enjoy a popular “treat”.

      • ZhyKitty

        At least with the horses there is a “cruelty” temperature. Not so for the manual laborers on two legs. It all makes me sad to think about.

    • Ian

      My mom’s in Charlotte, NC right now… I’m in Los Angeles where it’s warm but tolerable. She reported to me that it is so damn hot when she goes from building to building. Hope it breaks soon for you Zhy.

      • pj

        its been 110 here in tucson…

      • ZhyKitty

        Thank you for that.
        I would like to hope so too, but I know that we’re just getting started. In reality, we have two more months of this, and next month will be even worse than this one was.
        It’s the way of things now… I’ve lived here all my life and I don’t remember the temperatures being like this in Summer when I was growing up. Our schools were unairconditioned. They couldn’t do that now.
        It amazes me that all these republicans here still refuse to believe in global warming / climate change even though they live here.

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      We had this heat all last week. Horses are weird. We have five that have huge cottonwood trees to stand under and when it was 120 in the sun ( along with high dew point ) they just commingled at the top of hill swatting flies with each other.
      But yes, over- working a horse in high heat can cause founder. When that little tiny bone in their foot actually turns, and does a 180…it is too late.

      Be careful of this heat wave, it is deadly for all of us.

      • stuckinthewoods

        I hope you and Zhy (and ourselves too) will get some relief. The 6-10 day NOAA forecast for temp is below……always amazing that the rest of the continent has no weather.

        • Poor Canada! How can they leave our friendly neighbor to the north off the weather map?

          • ColdCountry

            Because their weather never influences ours?

        • ZhyKitty

          Oh goodness, you’re right! lol

    • ColdCountry

      They have very strict rules about what temps the horses can work in. Not too hot, not too cold. In that respect, they are better protected than humans. I find the cries of, ‘but humans have a choice, animals don’t’ to be interesting, as oft times the humans choice is to go to work in hideous conditions or starve.

      • ZhyKitty

        That’s exactly it. RAmen.
        Just like my Big Daddy, who is now really too old to do what he does, especially in these temperatures, and all the other manual laborers around the world who work in dangerous and horrible conditions until the day they die, because they’ve no other choice.

        • ColdCountry

          The time and place for labor unions. They’ve given unions such a bad rap lately – or tried to – that people forget that some of the initial rights that unions fought for were the right to go to work and come home alive and with all your limbs. I remember the farm worker’s strikes in CA in the late ’70s. They were striking for radical things like port-a-potties and water in the fields.

  • royinhell

    Living in Midtown Manhattan, I constantly see these drivers forcing horses through crowded rush hour traffic (usually running red lights), and I will stop and say to them, “Horses don’t belong in traffic.” Their usual response? “Fuck off, faggot!”
    These assholes can’t be put out of work fast enough.

    • penpal

      Nice. And can we really expect people who treat other people this way to treat their animals any better? They’re like taxi drivers, only worse, and in charge of animals that have no free will of their own.

      • Jafafa Hots

        The horses do have free will… they’re just beaten if they exercise it.

        • Ogre Magi

          Just like gays used to be

    • Paladin SF

      Right, light those freaking “mass resistance” bikers.

  • lenvus

    So the guy at 1:08 claims he’s not gay, not interested in men? Gurl puh-leeze. If he IS one of the LGBT community, is it too late to ask for a refund?

  • Gene

    its PETA so, well….even if they are right…its PETA, so…enjoy the carriage ride…and if the driver says something bigoted, go to his boss and have his ass fired. its NYC, it will happen. (PS..lots of people in NYC who ARENT horse carriage drives are homophobic assholes…it has no bearing on the horse, the carriage, or the ride)

  • franklinb23

    I say bring back man-operated rickshaws … powered by former horse carriage drivers.

    • Oscarlating Wildely

      Slightly similar: Pedi taxis. Get biked to work and stare at a dude’s ass on the way. Those drivers are hot, and this one guy that I saw near Port Authority, calves like cantaloupes, took me for a spin once, if you know what I mean, and then I— or that is, my friend that he happened to pick up, well, he told me that they um—

  • Wynter Marie Starr

    I never had an opinion on this industry until a few years ago. I was in the city with my mother, (a woman who would take in every animal she could and then some). There was a horse in the midst of a large holiday crowd and it was obviously getting spooked. He dipped his head onto my mother’s shoulder and she gently removed it and he bit her. I was hysterical at the time at her shock because she really had been gentle. He’d just had enough. Horses aren’t meant to be around throngs of people and working in extreme conditions. Get motorized carriages or old fashioned classic cars. It will be just as romantic and touristy.

    I didn’t know about this aspect of the industry in the video. It’s disgraceful.

  • Paladin SF

    I don’t trust PITA. at ALL. Mind you, if this was a few decades ago and it was gay men that were the horse carriage drivers they would use the animus towards gays as a selling point.

  • SFHarry

    I don’t know much about the horse drawn carriage industry so it is hard to comment on it especially from this video. Showing a few racist and homophobic drivers is so unrelated to why the industry is either good or bad that it makes me think, should I not support PETA because they came out with such a bad video? That correlation is probably just as weak.

  • MBear

    so…instead of making a plea based on the care of the animals, she makes it all about LGBT hatred? Umm…manipulative much?

  • Sporkfighter

    PETA can go over the top, but just because they are often wrong, they aren’t invariably wrong. The gay slurs don’t strengthen their case, either. The coach drivers could be wearing rainbow jumpsuits and singing show tunes, and they would still be wrong to subject horses to that life.

  • Rand503

    About 15 years ago, there was a woman who offered horse carriage rides around the Mall in Washington DC. It was nice to see, and the tourists loved it. She had a few horses that she used.

    PETA came to town and got a public referendum to outlaw the horse drawn carriages. The woman had to money to fight this, of course. PETA did a full blown media campaign. (This was the days before the internet).

    All the owner could do was write letters to the newspapers explaining that she is a horse lover, takes excellent care of the horses, give them plenty of water and rest periods, and never uses them when the weather is too hot or too cold. She made just enough money to live on, and that was about it. She welcomed anyone to view her stable off the mall at any time, unannounced, to view her treatment, and to examine the horses at any time.

    To everyones surprise, PETA lost the ballot initiative. At some point, she closed down — I can’t say when — and so no horses left on the Mall.

  • Six Pins Delores

    The mouthy ferunner presented here in video still needs to be bounced quick!

  • vegjoyce

    To help get the horses retired and the industry banned : NYC folks PLEASE call your council member (10 sec call) and tell them to Vote YES on the ban on horse carriages. Support Intro 573 which will ban them. Find your council member here:

  • leastyebejudged

    I don’t know, I think every city should have a carriage industry to remind us what shit holes cities were before the internal combustion engine.

    Where you have horse shit everywhere, you have flies and disease. Cities were shitty places to live.

    Aside from that, fuck PETA.