With NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio failing to deliver on his campaign promise to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets midtown Manhattan, animal advocates with Empty the Carriages have resumed the grass-roots effort to compel tourists to boycott carriage rides. Along Central Park South where tourists board the carriages, tensions are running higher than ever between the advocates and the drivers.
With many tourists opting out of carriage rides, the drivers have filed a lawsuit against the advocates in an effort to curb their impact. Among their demands is a 15 foot buffer zone that would prevent advocates from being able to interact with tourists contemplating a carriage ride.
For decades, animal advocates and other concerned NYers have campaigned, in the streets and at City Hall, to ban horse-drawn carriages on the grounds that the industry is inhumane and unsafe. When, in 2013, Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio included a horse-drawn carriage ban in his campaign platform, the industry fought back with the help of the pro-carriage media, elected officials and actor Liam Neeson.
Instead of working to fulfill his promise by building a case for a ban with lawmakers, the media and the public, the Mayor abandoned the very issue that helped catapult him to his Mayoral victory.