New York City's mayor wants to ban horse carriages in the Big Apple, but Charleston Mayor Joe Riley doesn't ever see a day when that would happen here.
"There's no chance," he said Tuesday.
Charleston's carriage tours are part of the fabric of the city, he said, and ending their use would greatly alter what the city is about.
"I can't imagine any mayor or City Council would want to remove the horses and carriages from operating in Charleston," he said.
Riley's comments come as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to get rid of them, saying the horses face inhumane working conditions.
Riley quoted supporters of the carriages who point to the sound they bring while clomping along streets and the slow pace they represent. "It's like a natural part of Charleston," he said.
Riley defended the health regulations set up to ensure the horses' well-being here. The animals are removed from the street when the ambient temperature reaches 98 degrees.
Animal welfare groups have sometimes raised concerns about Charleston's horses but not significantly in recent times.
Charleston's use of carriages for tours is decades old. Today Charleston has about 80 carriages owned and operated by five different companies.