NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Animal rights activists and others gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday to protest Mayor Bill De Blasio’s horse carriage proposal.
Opponents are urging the City Council to vote no on the compromise, arguing it was pushed through without consultation. Those protesting the proposal include activists, pedicab owners, and park preservationists.
“This is the definition of back room dealing. This is an abuse of power, plain and simple,” New York City parks advocate Geoffrey Croft told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “The Mayor couldn’t deliver on a campaign promise so now he wants the taxpayers to pay off his campaign debt.”
The plan would reduce the number of horses and limit them to Central Park where the animals would live in tax-payer funded stables.
“Having the stables in the park will prevent the horses from ever having to leave the park while working. Make no mistake, while not a complete ban, this is a huge step forward to ensuring that we as a city and as a society treat our animal companions on this planet more humanely,” New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm said at the Transportation Committee Hearing, as reported by 1010 WINS.
Dromm says the bill will restrict the carriages to the park away from traffic hazards that are routinely faced by the horses “navigating traffic.”
Some council members were taken aback to learn that the administration is lacking details on a final plan, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“There’s no final plan on the location for the stable, although we certainly are looking at the 85 Street shops as the potential for the location,” Parks Department General Council Alessandro Olivieri explained.
“You’re asking us to vote on something not knowing then where in the park the stables will go. Right? I mean they could go in the middle of the great lawn,” Councilmember Mark Levine responded.
The administration says that without full design it is hard to guarantee that not one blade of grass will be touched. Despite the controversy, the City Council says it has the votes for passage.