From: The Guardian
By: Edward Helmore
Bill de Blasio takes on Teamsters and Liam Neeson as he tries to ban New York’s horse carriages
The city mayor’s stand on animal welfare is facing heavyweight opposition – but he won’t back down
On the corner of 59th and 5th, Marcello, a 12-year-old, chocolate-brown draught horse, has his nose in a bucket of feed. Most days he and his Sligo-born owner, Karl Bruen, can be found taking tourists in an open carriage around Central Park.
But not for much longer. Marcello, who has spent most of his working life drawing a plough on an Amish farm near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and at least 80 others like him could be put out to pasture or sent to the knackers’ yard if Bill de Blasio, New York’s liberal-minded mayor, manages to deliver a campaign pledge to make the city horse-free.
Backed by animal rights campaigners, De Blasio insists that it is time to pursue “more humane alternatives to the horse-drawn carriages”. But six months into his term, his stand against carriage horses threatens to become a focal point for the opponents of his administration and his liberal-progressive legislative agenda.
The city’s major newspapers have come out against the proposed ban and the powerful Teamsters union has mobilised in support of the carriage drivers, stable owners and stable hands.