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Looming end of NYC carriage rides could mean an uncertain future for aging workhorses

  • FILE- In this Dec. 31, 2013 file photo, passengers enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride near Central Park on New Year's Eve day in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to end horse-drawn-carriage rides in New York City, but carriage drivers say it will eliminate a rare outlet for surplus horses pouring out of the farming and racing industries and send horses to the slaughterhouse. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)The Associated Press

  • Carriage horses are housed in their stalls in New York's Clinton Stables, Jan. 28, 2014. Time may be running out for the iconic horse carriages that carry tourists around New York City’s Central Park. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has already declared his intention to shut down the industry, saying it is inhumane to keep horses in modern-day Manhattan. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)The Associated Press

  • FILE- In this March 1, 2006, file photo, a pedicab driver, left, and a horse-drawn carriage make their way down Broadway in New York's Times Square. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to shut down the city’s horse-drawn-carriage industry, believing that it was less than humane to put horses on busy New York City streets. Carriage-horse drivers counter that their industry provides homes for surplus horses from farms and the racing industry that would otherwise be shipped off to slaughterhouses. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)The Associated Press

  • In this Jan. 28, 2014 photo, carriage driver Christina Hansen returns Star to a stall in New York's Clinton Stables. Time may be running out for the iconic horse carriages that carry tourists around New York City’s Central Park. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already declared his intention to shut down the industry, saying it is inhumane to keep horses in modern-day Manhattan. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)The Associated Press

  • In this Jan. 28, 2014 photo, horses are housed in their stalls in New York's Clinton Stables. Time may be running out for the iconic horse carriages that carry tourists around New York City’s Central Park. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has already declared his intention to shut down the industry, saying it is inhumane to keep horses in modern-day Manhattan. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)The Associated Press

Activists working to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City say volunteers are clamoring to adopt any animals thrown out of work if and when the industry shuts down.

Groups including the Humane Society of the United States say they can guarantee homes for all 200 or so of the horses licensed to pull carriages in Central Park.

But even if their own horses aren't in danger, the carriage drivers warn that shutting the city's stables might have unintended results.

They say it will eliminate a rare outlet for surplus horses pouring out of the farming and racing industries.

Last year, 140,000 horses were shipped off to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico when they became unprofitable for their owners.

Carriage drivers say eliminating potential homes for those animals is irresponsible.