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Vallone favors tighter regulations of horse-drawn carriage industry

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City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside), whose district is home to about 20 percent of the horse-drawn carriage drivers, admitted he was surprised the controversial bill to rid of the industry “became the No. 1 question” at City hall.

“This shouldn’t be the big issue it turned out to be,” he said.

Vallone called for a compromise between the industry supporters and workers and City Hall, but he said Mayor Bill de Blasio “pushed it to a point where there is all or nothing.”

The City Council is divided over the bill introduced by Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), and promoted by de Blasio, legislation that calls for putting an end to the horse-drawn carriages in Manhattan by mid 2016.

“Now the mayor wants a yes or no answer,” Vallone said. “Now there is no compromise.”

The lawmaker said he spoke with several of the drivers at his office, a meeting that gave the workers a chance to explain how their industry operates.

“I learned a lot about them,” Vallone said.

He said that with more regulations, maybe the industry should be saved.

“I think the best thing to do is to put in more restrictions and further regulate the industry,” he said. “And then you will have the best regulated industry as oppose to eliminating it.”

But supporters of the ban are also working behind the scenes, putting pressure on council members to vote in favor of the bill banning the horse-drawn carriages.

For example, NYCLASS, the animal rights group behind the bill, is mailing daily graphic postcards to the lawmakers until the legislation is passed.

“We expect the bill to be passed and the horse-carriage drivers will be a thing of the past,” Allie Feldman, executive director of NYCLASS, said recently.

The group also launched other campaigns seeking to amass support for the bill. The efforts included TV commercials.

In collaboration with the People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals, the groups organized an ad blitz campaign in which they targeted council members by installing giant posters in the bus stops near their district offices. The ads featured a horse that died in a Manhattan street in 2011.

NYCLASS is also organizing pickets near district offices of the lawmakers who opposed the bill.

More than 300 people work in the horse-drawn carriage industry.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Posted 12:00 am, February 16, 2015
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Reader feedback

Andrea Whiting from Florida says:
This industry is already highly regulated. It is more regulated than daycare centers in NY. The horses that drive in Central Park are the most regulated horses in the US and possibly even the world and the.job they perform is actually pretty cushy as far as horse jobs go. As a horseperson with 3 decades of horse ownership and 4 decades of horse experience I can tell you that most horses in the US do not have the care and attention that the carriage horses have and that horses are VERY adaptable to environments.
Feb. 16, 2015, 8:46 am
Susan from NJ says:
1.Is this the same PETA that KILLS over 80% of the animals handed to them for "saving"?
2. < horse-carriage drivers will be a thing of the past,” Allie Feldman, executive director of NYCLASS, said recently.> the carriage DRIVERS? I thought this was "about the horses" not the drivers. The true nature of the fight rears it's ugly head.
3. Is this the same Allie F who was fined for illegal campaign contributions to the DeB campaign?
4. Liars and Law breakers. And we should believe them?
Feb. 16, 2015, 9:01 am
Brian from The West Village says:
Other cities all over the world have horse drawn carriage operations as well as places in the US, like New Orleans. To tell them that they would have to go would have the citizens looking for a new mayor.
Feb. 16, 2015, 10:39 am
Gemma from Woodside Queens says:
CM Paul Vallone is quoted as saying: " I think the best thing to do is to put in more restrictions and further regulate the industry,” he said. “And then you will have the best regulated industry as oppose to eliminating it.”

Mr. Vallone has no idea what he is talking about. It does not matter how many agencies have jurisdiction over the carriage industry since the many existing regulations are not enforced now - how does he expect new ones to be enforced? This business is out of control and the Vallone family has allowed it to happen -- this started with Peter Vallone Sr. slyly adding the sunset clause to the bill passed in 1989 that would have kept the horses in the park.

Paul Vallone has a conflict of interest. His cousin, Giovanni Rosario Vallone, owns a medallion. He manages his medallion through his friends at West Side Livery since he lives outside the country in Sicily.

When this bill comes up for a vote, Vallone must recuse himself from voting because of this conflict of interest.
Feb. 16, 2015, 11:58 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Demand the extreme and unreasonable and in the end, you will get nothing. NYCLASS and PETA take note.
Feb. 16, 2015, 12:20 pm
Kathryn from Gotham Expat says:
If there were a shred of scientific evidence to suggest that the NYC carriage horses were any less safe, or more stressed, or had more illnesses or injuries than any other horse population I could understand putting in corrective measure. But there is no regulatory fix for people who look at a horse standing comfortably at rest and come up with the anthropomorphic projection that he or she is sad, or abused.
More restrictions or regulations are an effort to fix something that isn't broken at the expense of hard working blue collar families and their equine partners. Council needs to stand up to the extremist groups who won't stop until they reach their goal of eliminating well cared for horses from NYC, placing them and their people at risk.
Feb. 16, 2015, 3:11 pm
Joan from Bayside says:
It's time for this outdated, inhumane practice to stop. It's 2015, not 1715. Give the horses a break.
Feb. 16, 2015, 3:19 pm
better than bikes and pedicabs from queens says:
Standard bred horses pulling carriages are much safer in city traffic than bikes or pedicabs.
Feb. 17, 2015, 1:06 pm
Martin R. from Flushing North says:
Centola, why don't you keep your anonymous, anti-Vallone comments at Christina's Queens crap where you belong.
Feb. 20, 2015, 12:53 pm
Civic Watcher from Bayside says:
Fear not, good people of Queens, the horses will stay and they will be pulling tourists around Central Park for many years to come.
Feb. 23, 2015, 5:44 pm

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