So far, eight council members have announced their support of the ban, while another eight have announced their opposition. While other cities like Salt Lake City, Utah, have banned their horse carriages recently, the issue has been at the forefront of New York media lately, with The New York Times editorial board weighing in against the ban on Sunday:
Details are lacking, but questions are many. Why eliminate an entire class of Teamsters union jobs? How will the horses escape slaughter? What will happen to the stables, on coveted property on the West Side of Manhattan?
In fact, the proposed legislation requires that any carriage drivers wishing to sell their horses must notify City Hall 10 days beforehand to ensure they don't end up in slaughterhouses. Several animal welfare organizations and sanctuaries have already come forward saying they would adopt the horses.
Animal advocates argue that the industry subjects horses to dangerous traffic, citing several recent accidents and injuries, including cabs crashing into horses and one driver being arrested for forcing his severely injured horse to work for four days. Last June, public records from the Department of Health revealed that more than 200 retired carriage horses were unaccounted for, with no records of their whereabouts after they left the city's streets. Horse drivers argue that the animals are well-cared for, and that their livelihoods depend on the horses.
But, in fact, the carriage drivers may not be out of a job if the ban goes through. The proposed legislation includes requirements for training carriage drivers to get licenses to operate green taxis (cabs that operate in New York City's outer boroughs). An antique-style e-carriage has also been proposed as a replacement for the horses.
Now, the City Council must vote on the bill, and an environmental review will be conducted.