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Photo by Christina Santucci
Mayor Bill de Blasio has revamped his vendetta against the horse carriage industry by vowing to reduce the number of drivers conducting business in Manhattan.
By Tom Momberg

Mayor Bill de Blasio is not backing down on his vendetta against the horse-drawn carriage industry.

He is working with a handful of City Council members on revamped legislation that might limit the number of horses registered to work on city streets from 220 to just a few dozen, and would only allow carriage drivers to carry riders in Central Park, The New York Times reported.

De Blasio previously sought to eliminate the industry with legislation sponsored by City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), backed by animal rights activists who claim the horses are kept in poor conditions and are being put in danger on Manhattan streets.

Opponents of the previous plan to ban the horse carriage trade claimed the well-regulated industry cares well for the horses, is safe, and that it provides a livelihood for about 300 drivers and caretakers.

Many of the drivers live in Bayside and Jackson Heights.

No actual bill has yet been introduced, so members of the City Council, many of whom either opposed or remained undecided on the previous proposal, were slow to speak out about de Blasio’s new plan.

New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, the animal rights organization that backed the mayor in his campaign for office and endorsed the bill to ban horse carriages, said the organization would refrain from commenting until the new bill is proposed.

The de Blasio administration did not return a request for confirmation on the new plans.

One of the animal rights groups that claimed de Blasio’s plan to ban the industry was too weak for the City Council to pass, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, said a bill to reduce the number of carriages would be an even worse plan.

“Mostly, this is a transparent ploy to stave off criticism by activists that Mayor de Blasio has not fulfilled his promise of banning the inhumane and unsafe carriage trade – because he is too weak,” the organization said in a statement. “De Blasio’s ratings have sunk and he is trying to do damage control.”

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) was an independent voice on the previous bill to ban carriage horses, asking for compromise on a measure that would appeal to animal groups and industry advocates. But that bill never made it to the floor of the Council for review. He, like other Queens Council members, declined to comment on de Blasio’s most recent move, because the plans are only speculative.

Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomberg@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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