Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City promised in his 2013 campaign to phase out the presence of horse drawn carriage on the city's streets, a business that has been a part of the city of New York for the past 150 years.
Since medieval times, carriages of one type or another have been in service. Stage coaches and Conestoga wagons have been used in America since the 14th century. Europe's history of carriages goes back to 3000 BC.
Today, we see horse drawn carriages in larger cities, like New York City, on a daily basis. These conveyances are popular among romantics who want to take their significant others on a celebratory excursion through parts of the city for birthdays, anniversaries and other special holidays.
Draft breeds are usually the type of horse used in carriage service. They work about 4 days a week and have a very boring existence. They weigh between 1650 to 1750 pounds. Such a horse can pull a dead weight that is equal to 1/10 of their body weight for 8 hours a day. For short distances, they can pull ten to fifteen times as much.
Mayor de Blasio is steadfast in his aggressive plan to ban the horse drawn carriage from Central Park. In December 2014, he introduced a bill to phase out the horse drawn carriages. Electric cars taking the place of the carriages is one idea that could be made a part of a new plan. This summer, the bill will be heard in the New York City Council. They have been undecided so far with a required 26 councilmen needed to in order for the bill to pass.
The idea for banning the horse drawn carriages is supported by others. The PETA organization feels that horses are nervous around unexpected noises and sensitive to the loud commotion of such a big city. A spokesmen for PETA stated that too many horses are being seriously injured and that the only way to eliminate this type of cruelty is to ban it completely.
There is great opposition as well. In a poll conducted by the Quinnipiac University in March, 64% of the participants said no to the Mayor's stand on wanting to ban horse drawn carriages. Many tourists are coming to NYC to enjoy the horse drawn carriage for the first, and what they feel could be, the last time. There are about 160 carriage drivers that are members of the Teamsters Local No. 553 and are ready to fight against this proposed bill.
If the bill passes it will be unlawful, as of June 1, 2016, to be in operation of any vehicle drawn by a horse. There will be job training made available and special licenses for cab driving given to unemployed former carriage drivers. The bill also requires proof be made available that these horses are not slaughtered when they are taken out of service. Special events and parades are the only exceptions to this bill.
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