Tags: horse carriages | New York | Central Park | legislation

De Blasio Pens Bill to Ban Horse Carriages in NYC

Image: De Blasio Pens Bill to Ban Horse Carriages in NYC
(Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 01:14 PM

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will fulfill a campaign promise he made to animal rights activists next week when he lays out legislation to phase out and eventually eliminate the horse-drawn carriage industry, reports Capital New York.

According to a draft obtained by the newspaper, the bill would not renew licenses to operate the carriage horses, and would ban horse-drawn carriages in the city unless they were being used as part of a parade or movie screening.

While supported by animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the bill has been opposed by labor unions, which views it as a job-killer.

The bill  still has to be approved by the City Council, and that could be a real challenge, reports The New York Post.

A majority of members of the council who spoke to The Post said they had not reached a decision on the proposal, including Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of Queens.

"Based on conversations I’ve had with my colleagues, there’s more support for the industry than there is for a ban," she said.

"This is a labor-friendly council. I don’t believe this is an animal rights issue — it’s an anti-labor issue."

The mayor's plans also face vocal opposition from New York State Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, the chairman of the Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee.

The Westchester County Democrat plans to reintroduce a bill he authored in April that would prohibit the city from taking action to limit the number of horse-drawn carriage licenses it issues. The legislation was blocked in the Assembly, according to the New York Daily News.

Pretlow recently sent a letter to the mayor and members of the City Council defending the horse carriage industry and citing support he has received from the state's veterinary medical society, the Daily News reports.

"I have spent a great deal of time with equine veterinarians and have the utmost respect for their understanding of and compassion for the horses in their care,"  Pretlow writes.

"Therefore, when the Veterinary Medical Society offers their firm support for the NYC carriage horse trade and endorses the quality of care provided to these horses, I believe it is an endorsement that should be seriously considered by NYC lawmakers."

In May, the New York State Veterinary Society sent a letter to de Blasio expressing their opposition to his plans to get rid of the carriages and cited a 2013 study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science that found no issues of concern after examining the carriage industry in South Carolina.

If it does pass the City Council, the bill could face legal challenges.

“That will be down the line, definitely. We are not just going to roll over,” driver Stephen Malone, a leader of the Horse and Carriage Association, told the Daily News.

New York City voters oppose Mayor de Blasio's proposed ban by a 61 percent to 25 percent margin, according to a September Quinnipiac University poll.

Residents have consistently opposed the idea in three previous Quinnipiac polls, notes the press release.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will fulfill a campaign promise to animal rights activists next week when he lays out legislation to phase out and eventually eliminate the horse-drawn carriage industry, reports Capital New York.
horse carriages, New York, Central Park, legislation
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2014-14-02
Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 01:14 PM
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