New York City-based animal activists have long protested the use of horse-drawn carriages in the city, arguing that the horses are unnecessarily exploited, that they do not receive proper care amidst high temperatures, and so much more. And now, the city has yet another reason to ban the archaic practice.
On Thursday, Sept. 23, at around 5:15 p.m., a BMW and carriage horse got into an accident just south of Central Park, around the corner of 55th Street and 8th Avenue, as reported by The NY Post via the police department and witnesses. It’s unclear whether the car first drove into the horse or vice versa.
According to Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR), a NYC-based political animal advocacy organization, the car drove directly into the carriage horse, causing the horse to then fall onto the car.
NYCLASS, a local group whose central goal is to end horse carriages in the city, tweeted that according to eyewitnesses, the horse plowed into the car (presumably while following commands of the driver).
Witness footage of the accident’s aftermath that circulated on social media shows the horse on the ground near the rear of the BMW; as per NYCLASS, during those few minutes, the horse's body leaked blood.
Warning: The following video is hard to watch, as it depicts animal suffering.
As seen in the videos, the horse eventually tries to stand up, during which time a few passersby stand in the street, trying to prevent oncoming traffic from getting too close to the struggling horse.
Once the horse finally gets on their feet, the car backs up — and taps the horse once more. As onlookers scream, the car speeds away.
Photos of the collision’s aftermath are just as gut wrenching as the videos of the struggling horse. The pictures show a sidewalk and gutter littered with blood, carriage horse gear, and even pieces of the car, right in front of the empty carriage.
The NYPD reportedly told The NY Post that the horse was examined by a vet for a leg injury, but the horse’s current condition is unknown. The two nearest NYPD precincts — the Central Park Precinct and Midtown Precinct North — did not immediately respond to Green Matters’ request for comment.
According to VFAR, when carriage horses suffer an injury that renders them unable to continue working, they are regularly euthanized or sold for slaughter at an auction.
“How many more horses have to be killed, injured, and abused before the New York City Council finally takes actions to protect these innocent animals?” Allie Feldman Taylor, President of VFAR, told Green Matters in a statement. “Horses do not belong on the streets of New York City. Period.”
“Today's bloody scene is just another example of the City Council’s failure to do what the public demands: ban horse carriages,” added Matthew Dominguez, VFAR’s Political Advisor.
The organization is encouraging New Yorkers to contact their local leaders about this incident, and demand that they support proposed laws that would promptly ban the use of horse-drawn carriages in the city. VFAR has a form on its website to help you do just that — just fill out your name and address, and an email will be sent on your behalf to the mayor, the police commissioner, your local council member, and more.
NYCLASS is asking locals to call their council members directly, and for people who do not live in the city to call Speaker Corey Johnson's office at 212-788-7210, and urge them to ban carriage horses.
Many other cities across the U.S. and the world have ended their local horse-drawn carriage industries — hopefully New York City will be next.