NYCLASS to City Council: Protecting Tourism Doesn’t Mean Endangering Horses - NYCLASS

NYCLASS to City Council: Protecting Tourism Doesn’t Mean Endangering Horses

New York, NY – New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) and other animal welfare groups today pressed the City Council to pass a pilot program that would test out a proposal to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric vintage-replica cars. They were joined by New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a longtime supporter of the movement.

15 June 2012
Animal Welfare Groups Urge Council To Pass Pilot Program That Protects Tourism By Replacing Central Park Horses With Vintage-Replica Cars NYCLASS Delivers Over 85,000 Signatures In Support Of Vintage-Replica Car Trial

For Immediate Release: June 15, 2012
Contact: Scott Levenson/Katie Franger, 212-239-7323

NYCLASS to City Council: Protecting Tourism Doesn’t Mean Endangering Horses

Animal Welfare Groups Urge Council To Pass Pilot Program That Protects Tourism By Replacing Central Park Horses With Vintage-Replica Cars

NYCLASS Delivers Over 85,500 Signatures In Support Of Vintage-Replica Car Trial

New York, NY – New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) and other animal welfare groups today pressed the City Council to pass a pilot program that would test out a proposal to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric vintage-replica cars. They were joined by New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a longtime supporter of the movement.

The full Council has thus far been unable to pass the pilot program even though it would be done at no cost to the city and could provide a definitive answer to how replacing horse-drawn carriages with vintage electric cars would impact tourism.

NYCLASS also delivered over 85,000 petition signatures in support of a replacement for horse-drawn carriages in New York City.  The strong showing underscored the fast growing support for a pilot program to test the viability of an electric vintage-replica car that would phase out the carriage horse industry and provide a cleaner, safer and animal-friendly alternative. 

“The incredible number of signatures in support of a viable replacement for this antiquated industry is indisputable evidence that New Yorkers are looking for action,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.  “It's time for the City to stop sidestepping this important animal welfare issue and embrace a reasonable solution that is worth testing.  We have absolutely nothing to lose by trying.”

“The overwhelming number of New Yorkers who support a carriage horse alternative is not surprising given the inhumane and exploitative nature of this industry,” said Carly Marie Knudson, Executive Director of NYCLASS.  “Speaker Quinn now has 85,000 reasons to get the vintage-replica car pilot program passed through the City Council.  Only she has the power to get this done and bring some badly needed relief to these horses.”

The petitions, which were delivered at a press conference on the steps of City Hall, included over 85,500 signatures in support of NYCLASS’ mission to find a viable alternative to the carriage horse industry.  Anjelica Huston, Chelsea Handler, Lea Michele, Kristin Chenoweth, Kathy Najimy and other celebrities have helped raise awareness for NYCLASS’ efforts. 

“It’s surprising to me that a city known for its progressive spirit still allows this cruel and dangerous tourist trap,” Anjelica Huston wrote in a recent letter to Quinn. “The electric cars are clearly a more humane and sustainable option for New York City.”

The pilot program would test out the viability of the eco-friendly car, the costs of which will be 100 percent covered by NYCLASS.  If the car proves to be successful with patrons, it will then become a long-term replacement.

The vintage-replica car – also known as the “21st Century Horseless Carriage” – would ultimately create jobs for workers currently in the horse carriage industry, with the potential for higher wages, fewer days of work lost to weather restrictions, and safer working conditions.  The number of jobs in the industry after the introduction of the electric cars will be equal to or greater than the number of current jobs.

If the pilot is successful and all cars are approved, projected annual gross revenue to the city would be $33 million.  By comparison, the horse-drawn carriage industry brings in $15 million annually, according to a study by Sam Schwartz Engineering.  All cars will be built in New York City, spurring investment and creating local manufacturing jobs.

Legislation currently pending in the City Council, known as Intro 86A, would phase out the carriage horse industry and provide for a full fleet of vintage-replica cars.  The bill, led by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, has 15 co-sponsors but Speaker Quinn has refused to take action thus far.

 

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