New York

Carriage Horse Collapses And Dies In Midtown

The ASPCA is conducting an investigation into the death of a carriage horse that collapsed and died Sunday morning on West 54th Street near Eighth Avenue in Midtown.

The white equine was heading towards Central Park when at around 9:30AM it collapsed. The body was taken to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

The ASPCA told Gothamist that results from the necropsy would be available by Tuesday morning.

The death has triggered animal rights activists to condemn the use of carriage horses in the city. The ASPCA said in a statement:

We at the ASPCA express our sadness and concern at this tragic incident. The life of a carriage horse on New York City streets is extremely difficult and life threatening, and the ASPCA has long believed that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in today’s urban setting.

A representative for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York expressed sadness, but was also quick on the defense, "It's a tragedy. It's not something that happens regularly...Our horses are taken care of."

The city's use of horse-drawn carriages has long been a source of controversy between animal rights activists and the tourism industry. Last year, New York's City Council passed a bill ensuring horses have mandatory vacation, larger stalls, and provided blankets in cold, wet weather.

However, animal advocates suggest that such measures are not enough. New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio suggested the city catch up to other major cities and ban the industry.

London, Paris, Las Vegas, Toronto and Beijing -- New York City's chief rivals for tourism -- have all banned horse-drawn carriages in recent years, and with good reason. Our city's carriage horses work strenuous hours throughout the week and unlike the horses that plied the park a hundred years ago, today's horses travel on hard asphalt roads that wear down and damage their feet.