N.Y. Council considers banning horse-drawn carriages
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York City Council is considering a ban on horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park after recent traffic accidents involving the popular tourist attraction.
The proposal was introduced on Tuesday by Councilman Tony Avella, a democrat who has long fought to end the practice he calls inhumane and incompatible with traffic clogged midtown Manhattan.
"It's just not a natural thing to have a horse-drawn carriage in an urban setting like New York City," said Avella, whose ban is supported by a variety of animal rights groups.
In September, a horse died when it was spooked by street musicians. Its carriage became wedged between a tree and a pole and the horse fatally injured itself straining to get through. It was the second serious accident involving the horses in less than two years, Avella said.
But the Horse and Carriage Association of New York has called the ban a publicity stunt and vigorously defended its record.
"Calling for a ban on a working-class NYC industry that is 100-years old and highly popular with tourists and New Yorkers and considered 100 percent humane by all licensed animal welfare groups and agencies for a few cheap headlines is the real horse manure," Carolyn Daly, an association spokeswoman.
"These horses are extremely well cared for and extremely loved," she said.
It was unclear how much support the ban has attracted in the 51-member council. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said recently he believed the horses are well cared for and are part of "what defines a city."
(Reporting by Edith Honan, editing by Michelle Nichols and Sandra Maler)
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