“The Sopranos” star Edie Falco is making New Yorkers an offer she says they shouldn’t refuse — to ban the horse carriage industry.
Animal rights activist Falco narrates the six-figure cable TV ad bankrolled by the anti-horse carriage group New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets, urging the City Council and lame duck Mayor Bill de Blasio — and likely next Mayor Eric Adams — to end what she describes as the abusive horse carriage industry.
Videos of injured and fallen horses appear as she speaks.
“New York is back – and so is the abuse of carriage horses. Please don’t look away. Why are horses still pulling carriages in traffic?” Falco says in the 30-second ad that’s set to air on NY1, MSNBC, CNN, Animal Planet, CNBC and Lifetime.
“Sick and injured, worked to death, violent crashes…These animals feel pain, they feel terror, they bleed just like we do.”
Falco urges viewers to take action.
“Call your NYC Council Member: tell them to ban carriage horses in 2021,” she says.
Horse carriage rides on streets around Central Park are a major tourist attraction and labor leaders argued that the horse riders shouldn’t be put out of work.
De Blasio campaigned on banning horse carriages in 2013 — and NYCLASS helped get him elected — but he failed to get the City Council to go along and has pushed to keep the rides inside Central Park.
Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor, opposes a ban but is open to discussions on reforming the industry, a spokesman said.
Republican mayoral nominee Curtis Sliwa supports the ban on the carriage industry, saying that having the horses trot in traffic is “barbaric.” He supports switching to electric-powered carriage rides around Central Park.
In recent days, a violent crash between a horse and a vehicle was captured on video, and another sick horse was photographed pulling a carriage in Central Park with a severely swollen leg and a reported infection.
NYCLASS has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence local elections. During the Democratic primary for mayor, the group ran ads attacking candidate Andrew Yang. In a similar vein, the animal rights group aided de Blasio’s first campaign mayor by running ads attacking a rival, former Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The head of the union that represents horse carriage drivers blasted Falco and carriage opponents as “hypocrites.”
“She should go take a look at Belmont , Aqueduct and Yonkers [racetracks] and leave our carriages alone,” said John Samuelsen, international president of the Transport Workers Union.
“They whip horses at the race tracks. Her and everyone in her woke circle are hypocrites.”