The anti-horse carriage lobby has left the stables—and trotted down to the City Hall subway station.
Animal rights advocates have spent $14,000 securing ad space in the R train's City Hall station beginning April 6, according to Chris DeRose, founder of the national pro-animal group Last Chance for Animals. The first advertisment will feature an image of a carriage horse lying on the pavement in New York City, one of three different images that will rotate in the space.
DeRose said advocates would extend the three-month ad buy until the New York City Council votes on a bill that would ban horse carriages. Displays near New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s old Park Slope neighborhood and Gracie Mansion are under consideration, according to DeRose. The Greenbaum Foundation, which describes itself as dedicated to ending human and non-human suffering, is financing the ad buy.
“It doesn’t matter if we have to run it for five years, we’re prepared to do it,” DeRose said. “We have dibs on that particular place. Again, all we’re trying to do is make the City Council people see that ad. We want them to be very much aware.”
DeRose said New Yorkers for Clean Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS), which helped finance an attack against de Blasio’s mayoral rival Christine Quinn, would join other pro-animal allies in ramping up lobbying efforts in the next four to six weeks.
A spokesperson for NYCLASS declined to specify how many City Council members support the ban, but said the group was confident the measure would pass.
Demos Demopoulos, executive officer of the Teamsters Local 553 union that represents about 120 horse carriage drivers, said his group is also lobbying the Council. Demopoulos claimed a majority is opposed to the bill and noted that polling has shown that public opinion is on the side of drivers.
“We’re very fortunate we have the public on our side,” Demopoulos said, declining to give specific numbers on City Council support because he said those pushing for a ban had previously “harassed” officials in their private homes. “NYCLASS and the people that work with them just spread a lot of propaganda. These are not people that actually work with or know anything about horses."