Updated 11/13/2011 06:16 PM
Opponents Of Horse-Drawn Carriages Rally On City Hall Steps
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Lawmakers and animal rights advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall on Sunday to demand a ban of horse-drawn carriages, following the recent death of a carriage horse in Central Park.
They said the practice is outdated and is a health hazard to the animals.
Earlier this month, a carriage horse collapsed near 60th Street and Broadway.
A couple of weeks prior to that, a carriage horse named Charlie collapsed and died suddenly in Central Park.
"It's not just cruelty to the horse. It's also a huge danger to the driver, the passengers, and other motorists and pedestrians," said Queens Senator Tony Avella.
Carriage industry officials have disputed that information and say the horses are supervised by the city Health Department and the ASPCA.
"It's unfounded and unsubstantiated that it's animal cruelty. We're checked here by the humane societies and the Department of Health regularly. We've never been issued a violation," said Stephen Malone of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have said the industry is properly regulated and is an important part of local tourism.