The long-standing debate over Central Park carriage horses looks like it's made its way to the mayoral election: Mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio says he'll ban carriage horses on his first day in office if elected, and his supporters have made a big ad buy blasting fellow candidate Speaker Christine Quinn for supporting the controversial practice.
Proposals for carriage horses ban are nothing new: the New York State Senate's tried to shut down Central Park carriages in 2007, 2009 and 2011, and considering some of the injustices these poor horses have been forced to suffer over the years and the advocacy groups that have sprung up in support of shutting down the industry, de Blasio's campaign promise isn't surprising. Quinn's maintained support of Central Park carriage horses, citing the jobs and tourist revenue they drum up, even in light of recent controversies.
But Quinn also brands herself an animal lover, giving de Blasio supporters something to dig into: animal rights groups, some of whom have donated heavily to the de Blasio campaign, have commissioned $1 million attack ads calling Quinn out on her carriage horse stance. And de Blasio says he'll follow through: "I would ban the horse carriages in Central Park within the first week on the job," he said at a mayoral forum last month. "I think it's horrible what happens to the horses. I think it's unnecessary and doesn't do anything for our economy, much to the chagrin of the mayor who thinks it's at the center of our tourism economy." Though perhaps it's not so auspicious that mayoral candidates are already throwing around the word "ban."