The debate over horse-drawn carriages in Central Park rages on, but city officials may have finally reached a deal.
If you have visited New York City in your life, it is possible that you have seen a fleet of horse-drawn carriages giving rides around Central Park. While some city residents have fought against the practice for years, a recent deal reported by CNN means that the horses are here to stay – for now.
The deal still has yet to be approved by the city council, but would restrict the range of horse-drawn carriages to within the borders of Central Park by the first of June this year. It would also lower the number of licensed horse-drawn carriages from 180 to 110 by the year’s end.
According to a statement, from Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa-Mark Viverito, and union leaders and carriage operators, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement in concept on the future of New York’s horse carriage industry. We look forward to working together on the final details of this legislation and getting this passed.”
The horse-drawn carriages in Central Park have been the source of controversy for some time. When Mayor Bill de Blasio took office two years ago, animal rights groups urged him to take actions to prevent abuse, namely by banning the practice altogether. At the same time, the horse-drawn carriages are a staple tourist attraction that brings countless people to the city. De Blasio has called the practice cruel, causing confusion among animal rights supporters and proponents of the carriage system.
NYCLASS, an animal rights group, says that horses are negatively affected by the traffic emissions in an urban environment, and have little space to live a natural life. Carriage driver Stephen Malone, however, argues that Central Park horses are not overworked, are routinely shipped out of the city for rest and relaxation, and have some of the best lives of any service animals in the world.
While the debate does not appear to end anytime soon, the recent deal represents a compromise that will ultimately result in fewer horses living in a dense urban area.