A senior horse reportedly forced to work in NYC’s horse-drawn carriage industry while injured has been removed from the streets, according to a nonprofit group advocating for his safe retirement.

New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) reported that Lucky, a 22-year-old horse, allegedly continued to pull carriages while in pain from untreated leg injuries and a damaged hoof, and also documented the horse’s head bobbing on the paved streets, which the group said was symptomatic of his leg injuries. 

But Lucky now has been pulled from the streets, reportedly following an exposé about his suffering, and is scheduled for a vet exam, said NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant.

“Our goal is to ensure that Lucky is safely retired to a lifelong rescue farm to live the rest of his life with love and care,” Birnkrant said. “We already have a loving forever home lined up for Lucky!”

A spokesperson for the Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU Local 100) told Lady Freethinker that “a report was made and investigated, and action taken — as the NYC regulatory system is intended to work.” The spokesperson said the examination by an equine veterinarian did find lameness but did not find reportedly Lucky had been working with a cracked hoof.

“I can say the examination did not find a cracked hoof,” the TWU Local 100 spokesperson said.  “A level 1 condition of lameness (out of 5) was detected on the trot. It was not evident, I believe, at a walk. Lucky is resting and receiving treatment and will be evaluated again in a week or two.”

The New York Health Department, which oversees the welfare of horses in the carriage industry, did not immediately respond to media inquiries. 

Lucky’s story follows the tragic demise of Ryder, another senior horse who collapsed in Manhattan while being forced to haul a carriage in the middle of a heatwave and later died. 

NYCLASS has documented numerous horse injuries and deaths over the years and asserts that the suffering will continue in NYC until the horse-drawn carriage industry is banned within city limits. 

Those who care about the welfare of NYC horses used in the carriage industry can take action by calling or emailing the NYC Council and urging them to support Int 0573-2022, which would phase out horse-drawn carriages and replace them with electric carriages, the organization said.

“Electric carriages don’t get injured, spooked, or drop dead, but 2,000 pound horses do, endangering themselves and everyone else around them,” Birnkrant said. “The City Council can end this and bring New York in line with global cities by shifting to cruelty-free, electric-powered alternatives that ensure safer streets and provide drivers with better paying jobs.”

NYCLASS is asking animal advocates to take the following actions:

Please call NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams at (212) 482 -6731 or email at [email protected] and leave a message asking her to “Please use your power as head of the Council to END horse abuse by advancing and passing Int 573 to replace unsafe horse carriages with safer, cruelty-free electric carriages that provide better pay and benefits for drivers Horses are suffering right now.”

If you live in NYC, please call your own NYC Council member and urge them to “sign on as a co-sponsor to Int 573 to end carriage horse abuse.”  Find your Council Members’ contact info HERE.

If you haven’t already, you can also sign Lady Freethinker’s petition in support of a transition to electric carriages here.

SIGN: Ban Cruel Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides in New York City