Group Protests Horse-Drawn Carriages Outside Gracie Mansion
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Opponents of horse-drawn carriages are not letting Mayor Bill de Blasio forget his campaign promise.
As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, a protester playing the bagpipes while wearing a horse head mask has joined dozens of others with a message for Mayor de Blasio outside his Upper East Side home Tuesday.
Donny Moss joined Elizabeth Forel with the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, which it says helped get de Blasio elected. Now, the group says he has to do his part whether the city council has enough votes to pass legislation or not.
“We’re here to remind the mayor of his promise to take the horses off the street and out of harm’s way,” Moss said.
“I know he has other issues, you know, Pre-k and now what’s going on with the police, but he has a big administration. He has the ability to hire someone who can deal with animal issues and so far that has not happened,” one protester said.
“It’s very cruel what goes on with these horses,” protester Therese DeMico said. “One of the reasons I voted for Mayor de Blasio was he promised to ban them and it’s going on months and months.”
Forel says there are erroneous reports saying the horses would be slaughtered if the carriages are banned.
“When they go to the auctions, they could easily be bought by kill buyers. We would stop that, we would save that, we have homes for all of these horses,” Forel said.
“We’re considering a range of options that move the horses off our streets, safeguard the animals, and protect the livelihoods of the men and women who provide carriage rides,” de Blasio Spokesman Wiley Norvell said in a statement Tuesday night.
De Blasio wanted to ban the horses from Manhattan’s streets and Central Park during his first week in office.
But in a Google Hangout video chat in April, the mayor said he now expects the City Council to ban the practice by year’s end.
“A horse in the middle of the streets of Midtown doesn’t belong,” he said. “I think a humane society doesn’t do that to animals and we have an alternative where we’ll have an opportunity for tourists to have a similar experience but without horses being a part of it.”
But carriage-horse operators and allies have loudly opposed the mayor’s plan, including actor Liam Neeson who toured the Clinton Park Stables on West 52nd Street last month.
“This is an industry that’s been here since before Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration,” Neeson said. “These horses are well cared for.”
Operators also say banning the horses will cost the city jobs and deprive New York of one of its iconic industries.
De Blasio has proposed replacing the carriages with electric cars and says the change will help create jobs.
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