NYC Carriage Law Addresses Equine Conditions

New York City carriage drivers will receive their first fare increase in more than 20 years through a new law passed recently. However, some feel it hasn’t gone far enough in improving conditions for the horses.

"The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) does not support Intro. 35 in its current version," said Ed Sayres, ASPCA president and CEO. "We are disappointed that the City Council did not include the amendments we submitted this session, which would have improved the living and working conditions for the city's carriage horses."

On April 14, the New York City Council passed into law Intro. 35, which includes provisions such as:

• A fare increase, to be indexed for inflation every three years, to $50 for the first 20 minutes plus an additional $20 for each additional 10-minute increment (increased from $34 for the first half-hour, plus $10 for each additional 15 minutes);

• Five annual weeks of vacation per horse, at a facility with pasture turnout;

• Probationary licenses for new carriage drivers;

• Carriage operation time and location restrictions; and

• Stall size, drinking water availability, and emergency protocol regulations.

Shamrock Stables owner and 23-year carriage driving veteran Ian McKeever reported that of the 19 amendments recommended by the ASPCA, 15 were included in the new law.

As for the fare increase, McKeever feels it's been a long time coming. "We’ve been waiting 23 years for this fare increase, and actively fighting for it for the past five," he said.

An attachment with the full Intro. 35 provisions, including changes from the prior law, is available at the New York City Council Web site.

The ASPCA indicated it will continue to closely monitor the industry to ensure the humane treatment of the carriage horses.

About the Author

Lisa Kemp

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