New York City’s mayor-elect is promising to carry out a campaign pledge to bring the Big Apple’s horse-drawn carriage trade to an end.
Bill de Blasio, who takes office on New Year’s Day, says he will stop horse-drawn carriages plying their trade through Central Park.
De Blasio told a press conference on Monday: “They’re not humane. They’re not appropriate to the year 2014. It’s over. We are going to get rid of the horse carriages. Period.
“We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape.”
The new mayor, who has not indicated a time-frame for the move, can expect a fight from the carriage trade.
The carriages are a tourist icon for the city, but opponents say the busy inner city is no place for horses, citing several incidents where horses have been injured.
Its backers argue the industry is well-regulated and the horses are well kept.
De Blasio has talked about replacing the horses and carriages with electric-powered antique cars to provide work for the drivers.
The new mayor may not find filling his pledge easy, with industry spokeswoman Christina Hansen telling local media that drivers were prepared to fight in court to keep the business going.
She told the New York Daily News: “It’s not over. You cannot just get rid of a business, a perfectly legal well-regulated … just because a few people don’t like it.
“If he wants to ban them because they’re dangerous and inhumane, he needs to prove that.
“Our record shows we take care of our horses and our horses are treated humanely.”