Labor group bucks de Blasio, backs horse carriage industry - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Labor group bucks de Blasio, backs horse carriage industry

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

On a spring-like day, many lined up to take a horse and carriage ride through Central Park. In an effort to preserve the industry, the Central Labor Council, an umbrella group representing more than 1.3 million workers sent a letter, obtained by the Daily News, criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio's push. One line reads: "We firmly believe that banning the horse carriage industry would be detrimental to New York City on a number of levels…"

But if de Blasio gets his way, these iconic rides could soon be a thing of the past.

Here's what he said Sunday: "I saw that a lot of other major cities in the world have banned horse and carriages so I'm firm we have to make this move."

According to Horses Without Carriages International, several U.S. cities have banned horse carriage rides. So have major large cities like London, Oxford, and Paris.

Colm McKeever, who has been a carriage driver for 25 years, says some cities purported to have banned horse carriages have not.

The mayor wants to replace the horses with electric antique replica cars. That idea that is not going over well with riders we spoke to.

On Sunday, actor Liam Neeson took a tour of one of the horse stables and invited the mayor along.

The mayor said he would visit the stables when his schedule allows.

A spokesperson with NYCLASS, an organization against the horse carriages, didn't have time to speak with me on camera but she did give me a statement. In part it reads

"Why continue to subject horses to a risky nose-to-tailpipe existence when there's a gorgeous, cruelty-free alternative?"

However carriage riders tell me the horses ride through Central Park and only go across town coming and going from their stables after rush hour.

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