Sioux chief wants horse carriages to remain in NYC - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Sioux chief wants horse carriages to remain in NYC

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

For 155 years there's has been a horse cab stand at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. And the horse and carriage ride through Central Park has become an iconic tourist attraction of New York City.

But Bill de Blasio has said he would start the process as soon as he became mayor.

The spiritual leader of the Great Sioux Nation came to New York to say that he wants horse and buggy rides to remain a fixture in the city.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse toured the Clinton Park stables and visited the carriage horses. Incoming mayor Bill De Blasio supports ending the horse and carriage rides, but the chief says that would be a mistake.

They're healthy horses. These horses are pretty well kept," Chief Arvol Looking Horse says. "They're taking care of these horses and stalls."

Driver Christine Hansen is more worried about losing her job than ever. She and 219 other drivers and 68 carriage medallion owners worry their livelihood will be gone.

But animal rights activists, supported by the ASPCA, say that New York City streets are no place for horses, especially the journey through traffic to and from stables a mile and a mile and a half away from Central Park.

NYClass claims the stables where the horses are housed were and are in poor condition. NYClass pushed for new laws in 2010 governing the treatment of the horses. In the stables we saw horses were able to lie down, had plenty to eat and the owners say the horses get a required 5 weeks' vacation a year.

Stable owners believe the reason the carriage industry is being targeted is that real estate developers want the buildings to build condos.

The stables are located on the West Side on 52nd, 48th, 38th and 37th streets -- all prime areas especially with the Hudson Yards development and No. 7 train extension.

Key members of NYClass are in real estate, but there is no direct link to purchasing the stable buildings.

Hanging over much of this issue is the prospect of the slaughter of horses.

Murphy, once a trotter race horse, was destined to a slaughterhouse and now works the streets.

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