Story Via: Lauren MacCarthy
While NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to make good on his campaign promise to eliminate the carriage horse industry in New York City, the keepers of the rules have changed. In February, the NYPD were tasked with enforcing the rules, through its Mounted Unit, one of the oldest and largest horse patrol units in the United States.
Formerly, all city regulations on carriage horses, including where and when they can be on the streets, the restrictions based on weather and temperature, and rules governing their stable spaces, were enforced by the ASPCA. However, the ASPCA has been criticized for a conflict of interest in their enforcement of rules against an industry that the animal organization had pledged to end. The ASPCA has been a huge funder and it's president is co-president of the best organized and well-funded lobbying group NYCLASS, who wants to have the carriages banned and replaced with electric powered replicas of antique automobiles.
The possible conflict exploded when the ASPCA pressured and then fired its chief equine vet Pamela Corry for refusing to say that a carriage horse who died less than two weeks into his work in the city had been killed by the job. The carriage horse industry has been controversial for years, but activists say that de Blasio's campaign promised to end the industry is their first real chance for change in several years. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose daughter Georgina is a well-known equestrian, supported the carriage horse industry and refused to ban it.
Draft legislation to ban the industry may take months to move through the city council which must approve it. Even if a ban is approved, the carriage horse owners and operators have pledged to fight the ban in the courts.