NEW YORK - DECEMBER 28: A horse drawn carriage witch carried the casket of James Brown to a viewing at the Apollo theater is seen on December 28, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
The controversy over horse-drawn carriages in the city has heated up again, this time with two competing bills in front of the City Council – one seeking to ban the industry and another that would change its oversight.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Thursday that it opposes bill 653, saying it would “make life worse for our city’s carriage horses by eliminating the authority of several city agencies, the NYPD and the ASPCA to inspect the horses and their stables.”
The bill would change laws regarding the age and inspection of working horses, as well as the rates of horse drawn cabs.
The ASPCA, which is the primary entity enforcing the city’s carriage horse laws, said that if this bill passes, it will no longer be able to ensure that failures to comply with the law are addressed -- and there will be nothing preventing the carriage horse industry from self-regulating by hiring its own “inspectors.”
The Council is also looking at another bill, Intro 658, which seeks to ban horse carriages in New York City, saying they “do not belong on the congested streets.”
The carriage industry remains a hot topic in New York. In 2007, the Comptroller's audit found that many animals work with too little water, food, and rest.
Supporters maintain horse-drawn carriage rides are a tradition and pumps important tourist revenue into the economy.