NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A city councilman has thrown up a hurdle in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
City Council Chair of Consumer Affairs Rafael Espinal Jr. announced on Wednesday his support of the horse-drawn carriage industry, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
Espinal said the animals’ housing is up to date “and they have been modernized with state of the art, top of the line equipment to make sure that each horse is healthy and safe.”
Those who support the horse carriage ban were also standing by during Espinal’s announcement.
In front of City Hall his opponents held signs saying “Espinal is on the wrong side of history,” WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“We are seeing a pattern time and time again of the carriage industry abusing these animals, fudging their records,” said Allie Feldman, with NYCLASS.
The city councilman is backed by the Teamsters Union, which represents the carriage drivers.
“For over 150 years the horse carriage industry has grown to employ 300 drivers, blacksmiths and stable workers,” Espinal said, adding that those jobs would be lost if there was a ban on the carriages.
Any measure to ban the horse carriages would typically pass through Espinal’s consumer affairs committee, Lamb reported. But City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who favors the ban, said the bill might take a different path.
“Once the bill is introduced we will discuss in terms of what committee it falls under,” she said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a promise to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city.
The mayor initially said he wanted to ban the horses from Manhattan’s streets and Central Park during his first week in office. But during a Google Hangout video chat in April, the mayor said he expected the City Council to ban the practice by year’s end.
Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:
- 2 Ulster County Girls Rescued After Being Held Prisoner In Brooklyn, Police Say
- Limits On Deliveries, Crackdown On Blocking Intersections Among Highlights Of De Blasio Traffic Congestion Plan
- FDNY: Angry Driver Assaults Fire Dept. Member In Fire Truck After Hell’s Kitchen Crash
- Police: Knife-Wielding Man Shot By Officers In Hamilton Heights; Had Already Stabbed Himself