The New York City Council has introduced a bill to end horse and carriage rides in the city. The bill was promised by Mayor Bill de Blasio during his campaign for office, and now he appears to be following through with his plans. However, not everyone is happy about the measure. The individuals who make their livelihood from giving carriage rides to tourists are up in arms over the news because they may soon be out of a job.
The carriage drivers who work in Central Park have been rallying in protest of the measure in front of city hall. Standing by their side are fellow Teamsters and members of other unions.
Mayor Says Horse Carriages Are Inhumane
The mayor says that the use of horses for the carriage rides is inhumane, but union members say that the new law will cause approximately 300 people to lose their jobs and it could result in horses being taken to the slaughterhouse.
One opponent to the bill -- the leader of the Teamsters Joint Council 16 -- said that New York horse and buggy drivers have been in business for the past 130 years. He said that the new law will end this longstanding history and the way of life and livelihood enjoyed by the city's carriage drivers. The Teamsters leader stood with other protestors, who held a variety of signs, one of which read, "Say neigh to the horse carriage ban."
In response to protestors' job concerns, the bill offers to provide training and licensing to carriage drivers so they can learn to drive taxis. The carriage drivers will even get to have their taxi license fees waived.
Bill Supporters Say Horses Have Poor Quality of Life
Supporters of the measure say that in the past thirty years a total of three horses have been killed in traffic-related crashes. One city councilman noted that animals should not be on New York City's streets. A spokesperson representing the American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reiterated the councilman's concerns by stating that horses working long hours on Manhattan's congested and busy streets is both unnecessary and unnatural. She said that it is diminishing the quality of life for horses.
The carriage drivers beg to differ. Several carriage drivers mentioned how they treat their horses like friends and family and that the safety and comfort of their horses is a primary concern.
When a change in city laws can result in the loss of hundreds of jobs and affect the lives of many people at the drop of a hat, those who are affected by the new laws may wish to contract a lawyer to help them assert their rights and fight the measure in court.
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