The ad targets animal cruelty and calls on the NYPD to ban horse-drawn carriages

An animal rights group launches a six-figure ad campaign to pressure 15 faltering New York City Council members to ban horse-drawn carriages and replace them with electric ones.

The 30-second spot, which appears on social media sites and targets each state legislature’s districts, features horrifying video of sick carriage horse Ryder collapsing on a street in Hell’s Kitchen last month.

It shows the creature being whipped to “Get up!” by its carriage driver. lying on the ground and later being hosed down with water to get back on their feet.

“There are no more excuses for allowing animal and worker abuse. The Ryder collapse and cover-up exposed the complicity of carriage horse owners and their union allies in industry-wide abuse and corruption. With the whole world watching, they lied about Ryder’s age, they lied about his health, and now they face a criminal investigation,” said Edita Birnkrant, executive director of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS).

NYCLASS said it was targeting Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Council members Shaun Abreu, Alexa Avilés, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan, Gale Brewer, Carmen de la Rosa, Amanda Farias, Oswald Feliz, Crystal Hudson, Shekar Krishnan, Julie Menin, Carlina Rivera , Lynn Schulman and Marjorie Velazquez

A bill sponsored by Queens Councilor Robert Holden would phase out horse-drawn carriages and replace them with electric ones by June 1, 2024. Fourteen other members of the 51-strong council have joined the action.

A union representing horse-drawn carriage drivers said the latest scare campaign, backed by NYCLASS millionaire donors, will fail like previous ones.

“We take the NYCLASS campaign seriously. But we believe in science and facts. We believe the council will not be fooled by NYCLASS,” said Christina Hansen, carriage driver and representative of Transport Workers Union 100.

“We are a well-regulated industry. The carriages are happy, healthy and well protected.”

Carriage horse in NYC
A six-figure advertising campaign is attempting to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric ones.

But following outcry over the Ryder’s collapse, the union has proposed measures to improve the safety of equestrian sport – including building a stable in Central Park to keep horses from wandering the streets between the park and their current stables on the West Side of the city have to commute, doubling the required amount Annual inspections from 2 to 4 and establishment of additional driver training.

The plan also calls for better water access and more shade trees at the carriage stalls, as well as additional heat regulations and new safety towing posts. These posts would prevent the rare occurrence of a startled horse charging out of the park and running, the union said.

Manhattan DAs are investigating on-camera flogging of the ailing Ryder after the creature’s horrific collapse.

Carriage horse in NYC
The new ad campaign urges New York City Council members to pass a ban on horse-drawn carriages.
Helayne Seidman

“Animals should be treated humanely and we take every incident of animal cruelty extremely seriously,” a spokesman for DA Bragg said last month. “We are investigating the incident.”

Ryder fell to his knees on Ninth Avenue near the intersection of West 45th Street around 5 p.m. on August 10 in rush hour traffic.

After police officers arrived at the scene, they repeatedly doused Ryder with cold water until the horse was able to get up about 45 minutes later and be driven away in an NYPD Mounted Unit truck.

Sick carriage horse on the ground
The thirty-second spot shows a horrifying video of a sick carriage horse.

Coach driver Ian McKeever told police Ryder was 13 and had just completed a 7 1/2 hour shift, but a veterinary examination “confirmed the horse was 28-30 years old and not the 13 mentioned above Years. According to an NYPD Unusual Occurrence Report.

In addition, the initial diagnosis was that Ryder was “malnourished, underweight and suffering from the equine neurological disorder EPM (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis),” according to the police report.

EPM results from a parasite that attacks the central nervous system and “can cause devastating and permanent neurological damage,” according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The ad targets animal cruelty and calls on the NYPD to ban horse-drawn carriages


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