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City May Consider Building Stable For Carriage Horses In Central Park

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City may be close to a deal with the horse carriage industry.

The possible deal would allow for carriage horses to be housed in a new stable in Central Park, so they wouldn't have to navigate through city traffic. The new stable would be able to accommodate 75 horses -- a cut from the roughly 220 horses currently working.

Sources initially leaked information on the development to the New York Daily News. Christina Hansen, an advocate who represents carriage drivers, told WCBS 880's Sean Adams that no formal agreement has been reached yet.

"We continue to have productive discussions, and no agreement has been reached by anyone," Hansen said. 

At the urging of animal rights activists, Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed a carriage horse ban, in favor of electric old-time style cars that would still appeal to tourists. The plan received backlash, and never got the backing it needed from City Council.

Celebrities like hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and actress Edie Falco have both publicly expressed concerns over the treatment of carriage horses. Speaking at an event in July 2015, Simmons compared the treatment of the animals to that of slavery, and advocated for support of the ban.

In November 2015, Falco appeared in a video produced by animal rights group Last Chance for Animals, which revealed undercover footage of carriage drivers allegedly violating traffic laws and treating horses inhumanely.

Carriage drivers have opposed the bill, with fears that banning the the industry would leave many without a job.

According to the Daily News, teamsters are now fighting for buyouts for carriage drivers who might lose their jobs if the move goes through.

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