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

  • Airline passenger fined after keeping free airline apple

    World News CTV News
    DENVER - The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has fined a woman $500 for not declaring she was bringing a free apple into the U.S. that she received on her Delta Air Lines flight from Paris. Source
  • Unruly passenger removed from Miami to Chicago flight

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- Police used a stun gun multiple times on an unruly American Airlines passenger before removing him from a Miami to Chicago flight. An American Airlines statement says crew members asked the man to get off the plane after he had a "disagreement" with another passenger on Sunday night. Source
  • 'I got it wrong': Armenia PM bows to public pressure, resigns

    World News CBC News
    Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan said Monday he would resign to help maintain peace in the ex-Soviet republic following daily street protests since before he took up the post on April 17. Sarksyan, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had served as Armenia's president for a decade until earlier this month and had faced accusations of clinging to power when parliament voted for him to take up the post of prime minister. Source
  • Odds favour Camelot-linked name for royal baby

    World News CTV News
    He’ll probably never be king, but bookmakers think the most likely name for the royal baby is one with a strong link to the history of the United Kingdom – and the fictional kingdom of Camelot. Source
  • Key events in the life of William, Kate and their family

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth Monday to a baby boy, a third child for her and Prince William and a younger brother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Some highlights of the lives of the couple and their children: Source
  • Why Princess Charlotte just made royal history

    World News CTV News
    Though all the attention might currently be on Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s new baby boy, it’s the child’s older sister, Princess Charlotte, who is quietly making history. For the first time in the Royal Family’s history, little Charlotte is the first female royal to retain her claim to the throne, even though her new younger brother is a boy. Source
  • France's Macron first foreign leader to make state visit under Trump

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron to the White House on Monday at the start of a three-day state visit expected to be dominated by U.S.-European differences on the Iran nuclear deal and souring trade relations. Source
  • Net neutrality comes to an end in U.S.

    World News CBC News
    Net neutrality in the United States is officially over, as of today. In December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to change Obama-era rules that governed how major telecommunications companies treat data over the internet. That ruling comes into effect as of this morning. Source
  • Waffle House 'hero' snatched AR-15 from gunman

    World News CBC News
    As the search continued for a gunman who fled naked after killing four people at a Waffle House in Nashville, the man who snatched the rifle from him said it was a "selfish" act of self-preservation and he doesn't consider himself a hero. Source
  • 'I'm just thankful:' La Ronge, Sask. family survives after truck crashes through house

    Canada News CBC News
    A family in northern Saskatchewan is in shock and temporarily homeless, but thankful they were barely hurt after a truck crashed into their home and pinned them underneath in a basement room early Friday morning.I'm just thankful that the kids and my sister are alive today. Source