New York mayor vows to ban horse-drawn carriages

Horse-drawn carriages are something of an icon in and around New York City’s Central Park. But the city’s new mayor says he’s going to ban them, citing animal cruelty in the practice he finds outdated and unnecessary.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday he’ll spend part of his first week in office banning horse-drawn carriages from New York. He says it’s inhumane to work the horses in so much traffic, and that alternatives, such as electric antique-style cars, should be employed instead for rides through the park.

The announcement met applause from animal rights groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“The ASPCA has been advocating for the welfare of these horses since our founding in 1866. We believe that the use of carriage horses in 21st century New York City is unnatural, unnecessary, and an undeniable strain on the horses’ quality of life, and in recent years, we have advocated for phasing out carriage horses in the city,” Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of the society’s anti-cruelty group, said in an email.

Wolf promised the ASPCA’s help in re-homing the city’s carriage horses and facilitating their retirement if de Blasio’s promise comes to fruition. But carriage owners in the city vowed a long fight to keep their businesses going, saying very few horses have died due to traffic collisions in the city’s history and that they are as vital to the city as the Empire State Building.

The move, should it happen, is sure to create controversy. What do you think about banning horse-drawn carriages in New York? Comment below.

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