WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation sent a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio requesting that he revisit and advance a new policy banning carriage horses in the nation’s largest metropolis. The call follows a horrific incident involving a twelve-year-old mare named Aisha on Saturday in Central Park that a pedicab driver caught on video. The mare was euthanized later that day, and protestors gathered in Central Park on Sunday following the incident.
“Forcing horses to pull more than a thousand pounds day and night on asphalt pavement amidst loud noises, dense traffic, and an array of flashing lights is archaic and inhumane, said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action, and a lifelong horseman. “Mayor de Blasio, and the City Council should swiftly ban horse-drawn carriages and make room for modernized methods of tourist transportation. The animal protection movement ignited 150 years ago over the abuse of carriage horses, and it’s ludicrous to allow history to repeat itself in this continuous loop around Central Park.”
In 2018, de Blasio directed his administration to move the Central Park location where horse carriages wait for passengers to five boarding areas within the park. By doing so, the mayor fell well short of fulfilling a 2013 campaign promise, when he vowed to ban the carriages altogether on his first day in office. Mayor de Blasio has been a champion on numerous animal protection initiatives and revisiting a ban on carriage horses would add to that record and clear Central Park and the streets for a cruelty free path forward.
The death of the horse that occurred this past Saturday has sparked equine protection advocates across America to weigh-in on the issue, and numerous national media outlets including People Magazine to elevate the issue to the national stage.