The controversial carriage horse trade in New York just got more scandalous when a cable news channel pulled an ad narrated by Emmy winning actress Edie Falco. The ad calls for an all-out ban on horse drawn carriages in Manhattan and attempts to draw attention to the animal cruelty involved in New York’s famous horse carriages, where tourists pay to be driven around Central Park and neighboring streets to tour the sights. For years there have been calls to ban the trade as horses are routinely struck by cars, injured, maimed, or even killed doing their job. The carriage drivers are unionized and have fought a ban or reforms for decades out of fear of losing tourist dollars.
The ad, which depicts some disturbing images of injured horses on the streets of New York filmed by concerned bystanders, was produced by a group called NYCLASS, an acronym for New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets. It was set to air on Charter Communications channels that include MSNBC, CNN, and Lifetime, but was pulled seemingly without warning with a vague reason of being “too graphic.”
NYCLASS co-founder and president Steve Nislick is threatening legal action against Charter. In a letter to Charter, he writes, “The advertisements in question include narration from Emmy-award winning actor Edie Falco and feature footage of injured carriage horses captured by bystanders on the streets of midtown Manhattan. In recent weeks, these very images have been broadcast on many networks in your system, including Spectrum News NY1, PIX11, WCBS and others.”
A spokesperson for Charter would only say that the ad didn’t meet their guidelines. NYCLASS, which paid a six-figure sum for the ad space, was shocked, especially given that Charter didn’t provide further details or make suggestions as to what could be done to bring the ad within its guidelines. The ad has aired across other channels and online. The New York Post reported on the ad as well as the ongoing scandal. You can watch the ad on their site here.