Skip Nav
Bachelor in Paradise's Ben Zorn Has the Cutest Rottweiler You've Ever Seen
Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage Asks GOT Fans to Stop Buying Huskies For the Novelty
Tinkerbelle the Dog Takes Over the Berkshires For Vacation

What's Your Take: Alec Vs. Liam in the Proposed Carriage Ban?

What's Your Take: Alec Vs. Liam in the Proposed Carriage Ban?

If you've ever been to (or lived in) New York, chances are you've seen a horse drawn carriage in Central Park or the line of horses waiting outside the south side of this landmark – they've been around for over a century. Well, if you live there still, you may also be familiar with the proposed bill to ban the horse carriage business in the city. Many people have strong opinions about their presence – and appropriateness – with some celebrities getting in on the conversation, too. In June, Alec Baldwin mentioned these horses (while hosting a PETA event), saying he believes they should be banned from the Big Apple because of the "traffic related stress" adding:

I don’t have a problem with the carriage trade. If they remove all the cars in Manhattan, and build a farm with an acre of land for each horse to graze, I will invest my own money. Passions run high in this issue… It’s loud and vulgar because they know they are wrong.

Then, just last week, actor Liam Neeson wrote an open letter to the City Council disagreeing with the proposed ban. Neeson writes:

As a proud New York resident, I have personally enjoyed the beauty of Central Park on a daily basis for many years, and these horses are an undeniable integral part of that experience. The notion that a well-nourished horse pulling a carriage through Central Park is considered cruelty may fit in with animal activists' extremist view, but not with the rest of us. Surely we have a responsibility to protect commerce, especially one with such history, and one I truly feel helps define this city. May pragmatism prevail.

What's your take on this matter?

Join The Conversation
Zivanod Zivanod 8 years
I wish the horses were better protected from traffic. That there be a buffer zone between them and noises that may scare them. Other then that, I have no problems with the carriages in Manhattan.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
On the fence...
mariecarew mariecarew 8 years
Concerning Liam Neeson’s comments; I have been an animal activist and vegetarian for twenty six years and I can tell you Mr. Neeson’s opinions are incidental and will not rule over the out come of the carriage horses dilemma so let’s not waste our time casting stones. What we must do is write letters in support of cruelty free living conditions for New York’s Carriage horses. These horses are doing human beings a service and there for they must be respected and protected. Trained animals like to be useful and serve a purpose. To take that purpose away could depress the animal and destroy its health and well being. Also, If these horses loose their livelihood, chances are they will be euthanized the same as race horses considering it might be very difficult to place 200 work horses on retirement farms. Let’s clean up any mistreatment of these beautiful animals, fine the responsible parties for their cruelty and neglect, then make new laws like banning traffic and bicycles from horse restricted areas and cleaning up the stables as well as moving the horses to greener pastures when they are not doing the work they were trained to do. These animals need to be given a chance at life. This is an issue of common sense, humanity AND commerce. The horses benefit the cities economic status so there for they should be treated as any other working citizen. The issue here is not about good guys and bad guys. Actor Liam Neeson never stated his opinion on animal cruelty so arguing with him is futile. Mr. Neeson does not have the deciding vote on this issue. The issue here is horse cruelty. Something that has been alleged in the New York carriage industry for many years. The problem here is not with actor Liam Neeson, it is with the human beings who are responsible for the care and treatment of these animals. Not all of these care takers are abusing their horses. Some of them love their horses and are just doing their jobs. No human being has the right to make ANY animal serve them. Animals were not put here on this Earth for human pleasure and consumption, on the contrary, because human beings are supposed to have the higher intellect that means that they were put on the Earth to defend serve, and protect animals and all life forms that can not defend, protect and think for themselves. ALL Animal cruelty is inhumane. These horses only know the life that human beings gave to them, therefore to take that away from them could be detrimental to there well being. Once again, what needs to be done to rectify this issue is simple, Laws must be passed to insure the health and safety of these hard working animals, while the horses themselves are moved to a cleaner environment. One that is more fit and suitable for horses. As far as the exhaust fumes go, Human beings created them and we are all breathing them, so at least we are all being asphyxiated together. Horse and man alike. Even actor Liam Neeson stated on comedy central that giving these animals a pasture was a good point. Instead of condemning Mr. Neeson, let’s work together and use our intelligence and energy to work towards stopping the real culprits from continuing this very negative atrocity. It is a shame but human beings do not come with instruction books on how to be humane, therefore, they must be gently educated in the fine art of humanity. Keeping an open mind on all issues makes us see things more clearly. Mr. Neeson has been a humanitarian and vegetarian for many years. He was being playfully wise when he made the comment about living in the stable. Mr. Neeson is a doer. This is why he physically went down to the stables to see what is going on. He wanted to know first hand; where as most of us must rely on the interpretations of others to make our decisions. His comment on “cows” is true. He knows this because he grew up in Ireland were farm lands are predominate. Animals live by their instincts. I have worked beside a farm for twenty years and every time the humans leave the pasture gate open, (Which unfortunately is often) the cows in herds lumber out down the road but always on there own return to what they instinctively know. Their own environment. The environment HUMAN beings gave them. This is true with all animals. That is why it is so important for all of us to see all sides to this issue. Mr. Neeson is coming at this issue through his own humanitarian point of view. He is simply sharing his opinion with the world and we must do the same. With the world in economic crisis, Mr. Neeson I concerned that the workers and horses will loose their livelihood should the Horse and Carriage industry be banned. What Is An Opinion? Always remember, opinions are neither right nor wrong. All opinions are individual and no ones opinions, the rich, the poor, even the scholars, have more value on this Earth then another. Opinions are only “right” to the individuals who are expressing them as well as to the individuals who happen to share them and believe them as truth. It is time we all expressed our own truth. Never let anyone usurp your opinion unless you truly believe in the opinion they have expressed. “It is more intellectually challenging to act humanely, then to act upon your natural, carnal, negative thoughts. One act of humanity is bliss. One act of ignorance is devastating.” When you disagree with someone intellectually, all you can do is try to educate them to seeing a different point of view. If they are beyond reasoning, then it is a waste of your time to pursue them. A healthy debate is one were both parties go away challenged and fulfilled. Not angry and intolerant. Through using our own psychic awareness we can create balance in our feelings and learn to use self control to alter our negative thoughts. All Negative emotions are caused from human error. Before we can make a new start, we must get rid of all the negativity inside of us, since we cannot eliminate the negativity that surrounds us. The development of the human mind is the reason why we believe what we believe and why we act the way we act. Unfortunately when we were born, we did not get a user guide or instruction booklet with our brains. The human brain is nothing more then a computer fueled by the energy surges inside our bodies. The energy inside our bodies is our human spirit. It is what gives us our psychic awareness. The proper way to use your mind is to keep it open to all things. If our minds are clouded by the opinions of others, we cannot fully develop. Without a doubt, the human mind is the most dangerous living organism on the planet Earth, for it can think up the vilest, depraved and monstrous cruelties known to man. It is our duty and responsibility to care for our minds and see to it that they are not allowed to stray into those dark areas that cause us to act on our negative emotions. We are all made up of positive and negative energy, (the yin and the yang.) One cannot exist without the other. Negativity is the number one reason for keeping a closed mind and harboring feelings of hatred, anger, intolerance cruelty and violence. The key to a positive attitude is the ability to Control your thoughts. You can achieve this by becoming more psychically aware. Do not let others opinions and your own life’s circumstances, rule your emotions and behavior. Take control of your feelings in the here and now, before you say or do something that you will later regret. By using your own free will, you can turn your negative emotions into positive reactions by choosing to over ride all negativity. ALTER YOUR ATTITUDE and you can alter your life. Through the convictions of your own mind, you can choose to react positive to a negative situation. Don’t react negatively to Mr. Neeson’s opinions. It’s up to you to choose your emotions wisely and make certain before you speak and act that you are speaking and acting out of the emotions you CHOOSE rather then the emotions you immediately feel. Always choose emotions that will not be detrimental or bring harm to yourself and those around you. Once you convince your mind to be positive, you will start acting in positive ways. Always over ride Anger, Hatred, Negativity, Cruelty and Violence with Consideration, Kindness, Compassion and Helpfulness. When you can not change your life’s circumstances, remember, you CAN always change how you react to them. The only way we can stop this cruelty is by acting intelligently and writing non argumentive letters to the people in authority without casting stones and name calling. This is the message we need to send people. It dose not matter whose opinion is in the right and whose opinion is in the wrong. What matters is rectifying the cruelty with acts of humanity.
agnellina agnellina 8 years
I think the problem that so many people have is the proximity of the horses to the congested and frankly rather dangerous cab and regular car traffic. The horses are obviously well-cared for in both the stables and by their drivers. Were the horses only used in the confines of the park, I personally wouldn't have a problem with the practice, however, seeing horses pull out in front of cabs always freaks me out as both I and my dog have had countless near misses with the inventive driving of our wonderful cab drivers. It bothers me that people don't seem to realize that there have been accidents causing injuries to both people and horses, and sometimes death for the horse. The problem is that horses shouldn't be a few inches away from cars the majority of their day not whether they are being well-fed and housed.
mix-tape mix-tape 8 years
I voted against the horse drawn carriages. I do not know first hand the training or care that goes into the horses that work in NYC, however, one related event that comes into my mind when I read this poll was the Victoria Christmas a near by town holds every year. A horse was spooked by car sounds and subsequently ran off causing a fatal accident in 2007. I understand that these horses are trained to deal with situations that arise in NY, but how can you honestly say there has never been a vehicle related accident or even nasty tourists causing problems with the horses in all of the years this practice has occurred? It just seems like an unsafe and unnecessary business.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
I am with Liam and the carriage drivers.
peeba76 peeba76 8 years
For the people who know nothing about our horses, how they live or how many regulations we have: We have NEVER been cited for cruelty in over 150 yrs. We have 5 stables, 2 of which are state of the art. We make approx 60,000 trips to and from the park (68 carriages with 2 shifts per carriage per day) per year with an overal safety record that the horse racing industry or jumping horses, or any other equine sport can not touch! All of our horses in nyc have box stalls. (which the mounted police horses dont even have)They get ferrier care, worming, and dental and vet care on a schedualed basis...which is all recorded for the city. We are overseen by 5 agencies (we have more regulations and oversight than at-risk children). We have temp restrictions(low 18-high 89), and hr work restrictions (9hrs)which are overseen by the aspca. We send our horses to vacations on farms 3-4 months out of each yr. When our horses are retired they are adopted out through one of 3 adoption programs we use-one is on the homepage of the new york humane society. We are licensed 4 times over (carriage, driver, horse,and stable) We are fully insured. Our horses were trained specifically for this job... PETA is really good at lying to people. their intentions are evil. They want to do away with all human to animal relationships. ALL of them including pets. Its disgusting. If you want the TRUTH you can see my videos on youtube of my horses on my farm and in their stable in nyc and at work. This is the TRUTH. I can prove everything I say....they cant! Please take a look before you believe everything they say.
foxie foxie 8 years
When I think of the South, I think of slavery. I mean, it was part of the culture for so long. As long as the slaves are given a warm place to live and proper health care, it's okay to keep them, right? They get used to the lifestyle and eventually learn to enjoy their work. Just don't hit them all the time and it's okay.
JuliaSez JuliaSez 8 years
The ASPCA does nothing to help the horses, and that is why the ASPCA finally came out in 2007 in support of a full ban. It cannot police this industry, when the agencies charged with oversight of it will not do their jobs. Neither do the police uphold the laws/regulations around this industry.
JuliaSez JuliaSez 8 years
and this, in response to audit assertions of extremely poor recordkeeping: "Although the horses had the same license numbers, their descriptions varied from year to year “in age, color, breed, name and, in one instance, gender,” Mr. Graham said. He added, “The high incidence of misidentifications was troubling to us.”
JuliaSez JuliaSez 8 years
Dream on...there is virtually NO oversight. As the audit says... And here is the NYTimes writeup following the audit: and this Times writeup, which leads with the city "has abandoned many of its responsibilities" toward the horses:
michaleenflynn michaleenflynn 8 years
...and i would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have.
michaleenflynn michaleenflynn 8 years
Hi everyone. I'm a NYC carriage owner, been in the biz for 27 years. The welfare of the horses is what the decent-minded, casual observer is truly interested in, and for good reason. The horse-drawn carriages are a New York City icon; they are ambassadors to our visitors, and the horses themselves are working animals that are entitled to proper care and good handling. Fortunately, our record reflects exactly that. Our horses lead exceedingly reasonable and content lives. They each receive a superior, formulated diet, occupy roomy box stalls, receive vet & farrier care, and are groomed and bathed regularly. This amounts to food, shelter, and medical care - which many CHILDREN in this city do not have. Beyond these basics, they are loved by their owners/drivers; they receive affection, treats, and human interaction everyday. Every stable has a sprinkler system in case of fire, and every stable has 24/7 stablemen. We are overseen by 5 city agencies, and not one WEEK goes by (and sometimes, day) that our horses are not checked by the ASPCA or the Dept of Health. (Let's see CPS match that record) The horses receive rotation turnout several times a year on farms in both Upstate NY and PA. When the time comes, we retire them to loving, forever homes; some of the owners retire them themselves on privately owned land. I personally have retired 3 horses, one of which is still living the life of Riley after being retired 6 years ago in South Jersey at a bank president's home. Juliasez - You are repeating false information. Before parroting the animal rights talking points, you really should check the facts.
lilegwene lilegwene 8 years
Foxie, a horse can definitely enjoy their job even in the chaos of New York when treated properly. Julia, thanks so much for all of the information. It doesn't sound healthy at all for the horses, and I would change my vote to banning the carriages when faced with all of that. Those poor things! It doesn't sound like they get proper veterinary care, any room to move around or "down time on the farm" at all.
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 8 years
I tend to agree with Alec.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
As some one else said, when I think of central park I think of horse drawn carriages. So I voted that they should stay, but only if the animals are being treated fairly and have proper care.
JuliaSez JuliaSez 8 years
The 2007 NYC audit of the industry details the poor oversight and infrequent veterinary care, among numerous other problems. Poor record-keeping was another. Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs oversees the Department of Health, which is responsible for oversight of the industry. Unfortunately, she is married to Thomas McMahon, an industry lobbyist. This ugly conflict of interest helps to ensure that no meaningful oversight or reform can occur.
JuliaSez JuliaSez 8 years
The ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States both support a full ban on the horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City.
JuliaSez JuliaSez 8 years
Those who don't know how the horses live should know this: The horses live in multistory buildings on the far west side of Manhattan. These "stables" are as far as 2 miles from the park. (that's 4 miles a day in heavy traffic, alongside emergency vehicles, trucks, taxis, and angry motorists). That's the first problem--and it's on that long commute that many of the spooking accidents occur, including the accident that claimed the live of young Spotty, on Ninth Avenue.
foxie foxie 8 years
Anyone who thinks a horse enjoys trotting around in the chaos and cold, dragging around tourists, is off their knocker. In the VERY least, there should be more transparency when it comes to veterinary care of these animals, as well as temperature restrictions.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I'm indifferent. If the horses are being cared for and not being abused, then they should stay. But I do agree they seem to be a part of NYC. I think about Central Park and I think about the carriages among other things.
lilegwene lilegwene 8 years
I agree with Liam. If this was a case of neglect it would be a different story. I'm not completely sure how they manage the carriage horses in New York, but where I lived growing up there were carriage horses and they trailered them in from outside of town. I went to the stable they were kept at for a show (I used to compete with horses) and they were well-cared for and happy.
Alec Baldwin and His Family at Boss Baby Premiere March 2017
Alec Baldwin's Daughter Donald Trump Impression Video 2017
Alec Baldwin Reveals Whitney Houston Once Snubbed Him
Alec Baldwin Family Pictures
From Our Partners
Latest Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds