De Blasio Plans to Ban Horse-and-Carriage Rides

12.27.13 Andy Cush

New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who supported a citywide ban on horse-and-carriage rides during his campaign, plans to follow through on that support, pursuing the ban while in office. De Blasio aides haven’t said whether team has been working on the issue during transition, but told Politico the mayor-elect is committed to the law.

NYCLASS, an animal rights organization that supports banning the rides (and that financially backed an “Anybody But Quinn” ad campaign during election season), has proposed antique-electric car rides to replace the carriages, in an effort to secure the $19 million annual economy supported by horse rides and keep the drivers working.

“For years and years, activists have tried to do things like ban the industry, without a replacement,” NYCLASS director Allie Feldman told ANIMAL in May. “And those efforts have been unsuccessful because the City Council realizes the horses are a part of the city’s tourism. We realize that if we want to get these horses off the street, we need to work with the industry and come up with a solution that would replace the horses and the jobs without just putting the drivers out.”

Demos Demopoulos, secretary/treasurer of the Teamsters Local #553, which represents some carriage drivers, says the ban is a bad idea because drivers are apparently too stubborn to switch over to cars. “We are against the thought of the electric car replacing the horse carriage industry,” he told Politico. “This is what they do.”

(Photo: Rhys A./Flickr)