New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has vowed to ban the city’s iconic horse-drawn carriages in Central Park.
“We are going to get rid of the horse carriages. Period,” de Blasio said at a news conference Monday, the New York Daily News reported.
Activists have long held that the carriages are inhumane and outdated.
“We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City,” de Blasio added, according to WNBC-TV. “They are not humane. They are not appropriate to the year 2014. It’s over.”
According to the Daily News, De Blasio vowed to work with existing carriage drivers to come up with alternative ways to transport tourists around the park.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals celebrated de Blasio’s announcement.
“We believe that the use of carriage horses in 21st century New York City is unnatural, unnecessary and an undeniable strain on the horses’ quality of life,” Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group, told NBC News.
But Stephen Malone, a carriage driver for 26 years, told NBC the issue is far from settled.
“We look forward to having a long battle with him,” he said.
“People expect us to be here,” he added. “It’s like taking away the Empire State Building. It’s the same as taking the [Christmas] tree from Rock Center.”