Horse drawn carriage collides with vehicle in New York; incident prompts calls to end races | WDVM25 and DCW50

MANHATTAN (WPIX) – A recent injury to a carriage horse in New York City has reignited debate over their presence around Central Park.

On Thursday, the horse collided with a black sedan. Witnesses at the scene said the horse collapsed and lay unconscious for several minutes, according to a statement by the New Yorkers Rights Group Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS).

Footage shared by the advocacy group showed the horse kicking and struggling to take off after regaining consciousness. Another showed the destruction and bloody consequences of the incident.

Police said the horse suffered “lacerations to the midsection, head and front leg”. It was the first day of horse-drawn carriage in Manhattan.

Christina Hansen, a horse-drawn carriage driver and industry spokesperson, said the horse, named Chief, was surprised when a “diaper extension” he was wearing broke off and touched his hind legs, sending him running in a parked car. He was “quickly” seen by a veterinarian who treated the horse for scuffs and a cut that required stitches. She later said a vet checked the horse again on Friday evening.

“It’s newsworthy because it happens so rarely. The horse is doing well, ”said Hansen.

A group called the Committee for Compassionate and Responsible Tourism, meanwhile, have already highlighted such incidents during the campaign for the city to switch to electric cars.

Susan Wagner, with the committee, shared her observations on electric cars during a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. She said it’s also better for drivers, as they can work longer if they want, with less expense. Of course, this also avoids putting the horses in dangerous situations.

Horse-drawn carriage drivers wonder, however, why the city would want more vehicles in the park after removing the cars.

The city regulates all aspects of the horse-drawn carriage industry. Adding electric vehicles to the tourism industry would require new legislation.

During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure, he and New York City Council enacted additional regulations for horse-drawn carriages. Horses currently benefit from 15 minute breaks every two hours and cannot work more than 9 hours per day. Five weeks vacation is also required.

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