Another Horse Carriage Accident Sparks Protests

Another carriage horse accident on the afternoon of April 23rd added fuel to the fire between the carriage horse industry and animal activists.

A horse named Spartacus collapsed, apparently after being spooked by a bus, on Central Park South, just west of Fifth Avenue. The reports on what exactly happened to Sparacus are mixed. According to PETA, a tourist who witnessed the accident sent in this account:

“I was in town visiting from Oklahoma when I witnessed one of the worst animal cruelty incidents I have seen in a long time. A bus drove very close to a horse and spooked it (rightfully so, I was also scared of how close the busses were to us). The horse bucked and started to run when its carriage went of the curb and pinned the animal to the ground…

The men (if that’s what we want to call them) proceeded to hold the horse down and save their carriage (yes carriage, not horse) from further damage. One man suggested cutting the carriage and the other said no because it would come out of his pocket (he clearly had one concern, of which the horse was not). To top off the whole event, the men proceed to strap the horse back into harnesses and continue to work even though he was clearly limping and hurt!!!”

There is video of the aftermath on Youtube as well:

The Historic Horse-Drawn Carriages of Central Park, LLC issued their own statement saying that Spartacus, “unexpectedly pulled out, catching the back wheel of the carriage on the back wheel of the carriage in front of it. The tangle pushed the second carriage over, which caused 15 year old carriage horse Spartacus to lose his footing and fall to the sidewalk.” The group also stated that nearby carriage drivers immediately aided the fallen horse, working to unharness him and push the carriage upright so that Spartacus could safely stand up.

“He had been waiting quietly for a ride when the other carriage hit his. He did not spook. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe did not collapse. Contrary to rumors, he was not startled by a bus; there was no bus on 59th St. at the time,” carriage driver Christina Hansen, who witnessed the incident according to the union, said in a statement.

Regardless of the conflicting accounts, a protest was held in the same location of the accident a day later. “The one yesterday was not the first one — it was one in a long line of accidents,” said Mayor De Blasio in an unrelated press conference the next day. “And it’s for a very simple reason — horses don’t belong on the streets of New York City.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez shared the Mayor’s sentiments, “We need to ban the horses from the streets. Horses should not be walking on concrete.” he said addressing the crowd of protestors. “Being progressive also means protecting out horses and the animal’s rights.”

Another rally was organized by PETA yesterday at City Hall, this time featuring speaker and “Biggest Loser” star Jillian Michaels. “This is not just about animal welfare and animal rights, this is also keeping humans safe,” said Michaels as she addressed about 100 people in the crowd. Other speakers included City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal and Michelle Alvarez of the Catskills Animal Sanctuary. Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez also spoke at this rally as well.

Photo c/o Cari Romm/AMNY

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