New legislation for controversial horse-drawn carriages in New York

  • Legislation is being introduced in New York to reduce the number of horse-drawn carriages and only allow them to work in Central Park.

    An agreement was reached between Mayor Bill de Blasio, the City Council and the Teamsters Union, which represents drivers on 18 January.

    This will reduce the number of licensed horses from 180 to 110 by 1 December.

    The decision follows a year-long row between animal rights protestors who said the horse’s work on busy city streets was damaging their health, and supporters of the carriage industry who said the horses were well looked after.

    The carriage driving supporters have argued the horses are an important tradition of the city.

    But Mayor de Blasio has been against the rides since he was elected two years ago.

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    “We are pleased to have reached an agreement in concept on the future of New York’s horse carriage industry. We look forward to working together on the final details of this legislation and getting this passed,” said a statement from Mayor de Blasio’s office.

    From 1 June the carriages can only operate in Central Park and the agreement states new hack stands are to be built in at visible park entrances.

    A new home for the horses is to be built within Central Park providing space for 68 carriages and 75 horses. The agreement said the stables must be completed by 1 October 2018.

    Other stipulations are changes are reductions in the number of hours the horses can work.

    From 1 December they can operate no more than nine hours in a 24-hour period, but carriages will be able to charge extra $5 tips after 6pm between 15 November and 5 January and on Valentine’s Day or at Easter.

    The New York Council is to hold a hearing on the proposed changes and will vote on legislation.

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