Animal Law Review

Author Details

Katherine Hutchison, J.D. candidate 2012, Chicago-Kent College of Law

First Page



This Comment reviews the history of the horse-drawn carriage industry in New York City and details legislative efforts to regulate the business. Many cities in the United States feature horse-drawn carriages as a tourist attraction, but they are most associated with New York. The long-standing controversy over the working and living conditions of the horses that pull the cabs has garnered less national attention than other animal welfare issues, despite the fatalities and injuries suffered by the equines on traffic-choked Manhattan streets. Supporters of the industry defend it as an important contributor to the local economy, an iconic symbol of the city, and a source of livelihood for the operators. They maintain that municipal regulations are sufficient to protect the horses from mistreatment and the public from the perils of accidents involving carriages. However, city regulation has historically proven to be inadequate and ineffective in ensuring that the horses are not exposed to inhumane conditions. Moreover, the inherent hazards and stressors of New York City streets take a toll on the horses’ health and well-being that regulation cannot address. For these reasons, the protection of the horses and the public cannot be assured until the carriage business in the city is abolished. This Comment discusses the movement to ban the industry, including proposals that would replace the carriages with replicas of antique cars. With inadequate regulation and political obstacles to a ban, it may ultimately take a tide of public sentiment to end the suffering of carriage horses.

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Animal Law Commons



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