De Blasio is saying “I have the right to ban an industry”, not based on any existing or proven harm, just because, I, your Imperial mayor, say we should, driving all those people out of work, and the horses he claims to be helping out into an uncertain fate. As it turns out, it also feeds into real estate interests who want to grab the land where the stables are situated.
New York City’s horse and carriage industry, centered around 59th Street and 5th Avenue, has existed for 155 years. But opponents, including our new mayor Bill de Blasio, view the operation as a form of animal cruelty. “We are going to get rid of the horse carriages. Period,” de Blasio said on Monday. “It’s over.”
Critics of the industry charge that the horses are forced to work long hours, squeeze into squalid living conditions, and navigate a dangerous traffic-congested environment. NYCLASS, the animal rights advocacy group that has been leading the charge against the carriage horses, donated $220,000 to a group dedicated to sinking former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s mayoral aspirations and another $124,000 on their own anti-Quinn efforts. NYCLASS was responsible for $774,000 worth of ads attacking Quinn, and its board members donated to de Blasio’s election fund.
During the campaign, Quinn said she supported the carriage horse industry. Her opponent, Bill de Blasio, promised he would ban it immediately. After his primary victory, some of de Blasio’s biggest fundraisers donated tens of thousands of dollars to NYCLASS.
NYCLASS has suggested replacing the horses with electric antique replica cars.
There are about two hundred carriage horse drivers, ranging from newcomers working their way through college to veterans who’ve been giving rides to tourists for decades. Here’s what eight of them have to say about de Blasio’s vow to eradicate their livelihood.