Last year, three carriage horses collapsed in the streets of Manhattan within six weeks, two of them dying. The incidents sparked outrage from organizations NYCLASS and PETA, as well as their celeb supporters like Lea Michele, Kristin Chenoweth, Pamela Anderson, Chelsea Handler and Anjelica Huston who have called for a ban of the city’s horse-drawn carriages.
Yesterday brought news of another incident involving a NYC carriage horse. The frightened horse, named Oreo, ran away after colliding with a car at the corner of 7th Ave and Central Park South, according to the Huffington Post. The accident that happened yesterday at 4:20pm was witnessed by a woman who later said, “Apparently it struck a car here, and then it separated [from the carriage]. The horse continued up Broadway, just galloping.” Two people were in the carriage at the time, one taken in a stretcher, but the witness said they both appeared to be okay.
NYCLASS Lead Organizer Allie Feldman responded to the accident in a press release, saying “This amounts to the 13th accident within the last year in this area, putting not only horses at danger but other drivers and pedestrians as well, once again proving the time for change is now.”
The organization is advocating for a safer way for people to get around the city sans horses: eco-friendly vintage replica cars to replace the horse carriages. Feldman says, “The importance of replacing the horse carriages with the horseless carriage environmentally sound alternative is vital to our city, and would become law with the passage of Intro 86A currently in the New York City Council. With over 87,000 supporters, there is increasing awareness that the time of the horse and buggy has come and gone. We at NYCLASS urge the Council and the Speaker to immediately pass Intro 86A before another accident happens.”
NYCLASS has just given an update this morning, posting on their Facebook page: “The injured carriage horse, a 6-year-old gelding named Oreo, is back at his stable and is suspended from working until further exam by a vet. He suffered minor scratches to the mouth. Carriage driver & passenger sent to hospital.”
Despite growing opposition, Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Quinn continue to support the horse-drawn carriage industry. When a carriage driver verbally attacked a protester with homophobic and racist insults, Quinn condemned it, but added that she supports “allowing an industry that generates vital jobs and tourism for our city to continue.” Bloomberg hasn’t budged in his response to concern for the carriage horses, saying that if they didn’t have this “job,” they wouldn’t be alive. That response is despite the fact that organizations have said they will send these horses to sanctuaries, and the fact that these horses ARE dying…in the middle of the loud, crowded streets of Manhattan.