New York City on verge of deal with horse carriages

NEW YORK - City officials are close to a deal that would save Central Park's horse-drawn carriages from a threatened ban.

See Full Article

When Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected two years ago, he pledged to end the popular carriage rides through the park right away, calling it inhumane to keep horses in loud, car-clogged Manhattan. But now his administration is negotiating with a carriage drivers' union a compromise deal that would keep the horses trotting.

As many as two-thirds of the approximately 200 horses working in the park would be permanently retired. The remaining ones would get a new home, a stable built within Central Park, a City Hall official not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations told The Associated Press. The official told the AP the plan could be announced by Friday.

The Central Park stalls, replacing four privately owned stables on Manhattan's West Side, would have space for around 75 horses, although the official said that number could change as the plan firms up.

The move to the park would address one complaint from animal welfare activists: that the horses were in danger every time they made their daily walks from their staging area at the south end of the park to the urban stables where they now sleep at night.

One location being discussed for the horses' new home flanks Central Park's 86th Street Transverse.

But Elizabeth Forel, of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages, said Thursday she remains "absolutely" opposed to any plan that does not ban carriage horses altogether. She also questioned whether it's proper to house horses belonging to private businesses in the very public Central Park, which serves as a refuge for harried urban denizens.

"What right does Mayor Bill de Blasio have to take public land and build a stable for private use?" asked Forel.

Besides, she said, even in the park, often filled with crowds, the horses can "get spooked" and run rampant.

Another animal welfare group sees a move to Central Park as a compromise that would clear streets of carriages.

"We're open to a compromise, but we need to see more details," said John Collins, spokesman for NYCLASS, an animal advocacy organization working for "a more humane city for all New Yorkers, two-legged and four-legged."

But Collins said the group wants more information on where and how many hours a day the horses will be working, what kind of veterinary care they will get and what happens to them after they age and are no longer useful.

Drivers had mixed reactions.

"Being forced to move to Central Park would be a great idea - if it would be all the horses!" said driver Ian McKeever, who owns licenses for three carriages. Otherwise, "that's a lot of work for about 70 horses."

The Dublin native is one of about 160 full-time drivers, a majority represented by the Teamsters negotiating the possible deal.

The Central Park Conservancy, which oversees the park, did not return calls for comment.

If the plan is approved by the City Council, the park stable would be ready by 2018. Central Park already has one stable originally used by a city equine unit and now for storage; it was not clear whether it could be repurposed.

Also unclear is whether the deal would include any compensation for carriage drivers who lose their jobs.

Several drivers contacted by the AP declined to comment further on the closed-door talks. The Democratic mayor's administration, the council and the Teamsters issued a statement that said the discussions continue "to reach an equitable outcome."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Calgary couple accused of abusing nieces and nephew to learn fate in June

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- A couple accused of abusing their two nieces and a nephew with implements that included wooden spoons, needles and barbecue forks are to learn their fate in June. The children's parents were killed in a car crash in the United States in 2006 and the kids, who were all under 10, were adopted by their maternal aunt and uncle, who moved them to Calgary. Source
  • U.S. softwood tariffs prompt NDP claim of "inaction" against Christy Clark

    Canada News CTV News
    BURNABY, B.C. - British Columbia NDP Leader John Horgan is accusing Liberal Leader Christy Clark of delay and inaction in the wake of American demands for duties on Canadian softwood. Horgan issued a news release saying he is disappointed by the United States government's decision to level an average 20 per cent duty on Canadian softwood, effective May 1. Source
  • Halifax council votes to put Cornwallis name on city property under microscope

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- In a move Halifax's mayor calls a step toward reconciliation with indigenous people in the municipality, regional council has voted to examine the use of Edward Cornwallis's name on city property. Mayor Mike Savage says council's decision Tuesday stands by a pledge it made in 2015 to develop a strong working relationship with the city's aboriginal residents based on truth, dignity and mutual respect. Source
  • Alberta needs new operations centre to manage disasters: minister

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta is looking at building a new operations centre to better manage how it responds to disasters such as the Fort McMurray wildfire. Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson said the need for a larger and more modern nerve centre is one of the lessons learned from the fire last May that forced more than 80,000 people to flee the area and destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings. Source
  • White House lack of transparency in Michael Flynn investigation blasted

    World News CBC News
    President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to violate federal law when he failed to seek permission or inform the U.S. government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015, leaders of a House oversight committee said Tuesday. Source
  • Police nab suspects in Paraguay robbery involving tens of millions

    World News CBC News
    Twelve men suspected of taking part in a dramatic, multimillion-dollar theft from an armoured car company in a Paraguayan border city have been arrested in Brazil, officials in the Brazilian Federal Police said Tuesday. The men are thought to be among roughly 50 men who used explosives to blast into the vault of the Prosegur company in Ciudad del Este, then escaped into Brazil, Federal Police Inspector Fabiano Bordignon said. Source
  • LCBO workers vote overwhelmingly in favour of a strike

    Canada News CBC News
    Liquor Control Board of Ontario staff have voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike as their union continues to bargain for a new collective agreement. Voting by members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union was held Monday and Tuesday. Source
  • China launches first domestically-made aircraft carrier

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - China launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own on Wednesday, in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defence industries and determination to safeguard its maritime territorial claims and crucial trade routes. Source
  • Watchdog says ASEAN must stand vs. killings in Philippines

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - An international human rights watchdog is calling on Southeast Asian leaders to take a stand against the Philippines' war on drugs that has left thousands dead under President Rodrigo Duterte, the host of this week's regional summit. Source
  • Chobani sues provocateur Alex Jones for spreading sex assault, migrant claims

    World News CBC News
    Greek yogurt giant Chobani filed a lawsuit Monday against right-wing radio host Alex Jones, accusing the conspiracy theorist of publishing false information about the company. Chobani says that Jones and his InfoWars website posted fabricated stories earlier this month that linked Chobani owner Hamdi Ulukaya and the company to a sexual assault case involving refugee children. Source