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Proposed legislation would ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City next year

New proposal aims to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in NYC
New proposal aims to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in NYC 02:03

NEW YORK -- There's a renewed effort to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in New York City.

A proposal from City Hall aims to modernize the industry, but not everyone is convinced it makes sense, CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported Thursday. 

The iconic horses along Central Park are often enjoyed by tourists and have long been associated with the city. But that could come to an end soon. 

Several New York City Council members are backing the proposal to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric ones. 

"This is nothing new, and the technology has arrived. Let's use it," said Council Member Robert Holden, who authored the bill.

Holden says getting horses off the streets is about safety. 

"It's long overdue. This should have been done 20 years ago," Holden said. 

Holden's colleagues who are backing the legislation also worry about the animals' wellbeing. 

"To both end, sort of, the cruelty and the treatment of the animals that we hear often about on a very hot day like today. And also to continue that industry in a way that is much more humane and modernized," City Council Member Keith Powers said. 

What's not clear is where the horses would go if they're no longer in the city. Many horse-drawn carriage drivers said they won't stay either if the horses are sent away. 

"I'm a horse person. I would never drive one of those electric carriages. I'd take my horses and I'd go someplace else that has carriages, because there's carriages everywhere," Christina Hansen said. 

Hansen, like many other carriage drivers, has been doing it for years. She said the horses are as much apart of the city as anyone else. 

"There have been horses in Manhattan since 1625. There have been horses in Central Park since the day the park opened. There is no New York City without horses," Hansen said. 

It's not clear who would pay for the electronic carriages, what agency would provide oversight of the transition and where the new carriages would be allowed to go. 

Some suggested electric carriages would be allowed in Central Park, but that's also problematic. 

"I know these are electric carriages. I understand, but you're still going to have an issue," Council Member Gale Brewer said. "This whole issue is fraught with complications." 

Horse-drawn carriages would be banned by June 2023 if the bill passes. 

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