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

  • Two wildfires burning in B.C.'s Northern Interior and Cariboo regions

    Canada News CTV News
    100 MILE HOUSE, B.C. -- There are two wildfires burning in the Cariboo and Northern Interior regions of B.C. BC Wildfire Service says a containment line has been established around an out-of-control wildfire near 100 Mile House. Source
  • Professor fired for racially charged remarks on Fox News

    World News CBC News
    A New Jersey community college has fired an adjunct professor after officials say she made racially insensitive comments on Fox News. Essex County College's president announced the decision Friday, two weeks after Lisa Durden appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Source
  • 'It's definitely a crisis,' says family after three Cape Breton teen suicides

    Canada News CTV News
    The family of a young transgender teenager who took his own life is calling on the Nova Scotia government to do more to address what they’re calling a suicide crisis in Cape Breton. Justin Newell died by suicide on June 3. Source
  • Canadians not shy at wrapping themselves in the Canada 150 logo

    Canada News CBC News
    It's been said that Canadians are not brash about their patriotism, but you wouldn't know it from the variety of merchandise, big and small, being snapped up in advance of Canada's 150th birthday July 1. From T-shirts to hats, flags to flasks, condoms to caskets, goods adorned with celebratory logos are popping up faster than you can say sesquicentennial. Source
  • HL:Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare" and signalled that last-minute changes were coming to win enough support for passage. Source
  • Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Making a final push, U.S. President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare" and signalled that last-minute changes were coming to win enough support for passage. Source
  • Crowd catches teen falling from park ride; no serious injury

    World News CTV News
    QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- A teenager fell about about 8 metres from a stopped gondola ride at an upstate New York amusement park Saturday night, tumbling into a crowd of park guests and employees gathered below to catch her before she hit the ground. Source
  • Toronto Pride parade draws revellers from around the world

    Canada News CBC News
    The annual Pride parade is one of Toronto's biggest celebrations, drawing tens of thousands of revellers into the city to fête the LGBT community. Reading this on mobile? Find our live blog hereAbout 150 different organizations, businesses and groups are participating in the two-hour parade. Source
  • Some U.S. pride parades disrupted by protests

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Gay pride parades Sunday in New York, San Francisco and other cities are spotlighting resistance to what participants see as new pressure on gay rights, while contending with the prospect of protests over the events’ own diversity and direction. Source
  • Float in Montreal parade sparks allegations of racism

    Canada News CTV News
    A video taken at Saturday’s St. Jean Baptiste parade in Montreal is sparking outrage among some -- and calls for calm among others. The video shows pop singer Annie Villeneuve on Rue St. Denis on a float being pushed by what appears to be only people of colour. Source